Published: Monday 15 October 2007

Errata and clarifications

Apropos of the cover story 'How green is your building' (August 31, 2007), we have received a letter from S Srinivas, principal counsellor of the Confederation of Indian Industry, Hyderabad, whom our correspondent had interviewed for the article.

The article said (p36) that green building centres (gbc) with a built-up area of 20,000 sq ft--was constructed at a cost of Rs 10 crore in 2003. It quoted Srinivas saying that this was 18 times the cost of a conventional building of similar dimensions. Srinivas has pointed out that he had said it was "18 per cent higher than the cost of a conventional building of similar dimensions". We regret the error.

On p40, the article quoted Srinivas saying: "Solar power is not economical. We sell about 100 units per day of green electricity to state grid at a rate of Rs 1.50 per unit. But in turn, we buy power from them at Rs 5.50 per unit. Also the pay back period for solar power is more than the life of solar panels themselves."

Srinivas, in his letter, says he had actually said that "...the state utility pays Rs 1.50 per unit for solar power exported to the grid. At this rate, it is not economical for us to install equipment to export solar power."

Our correspondent stands by what we published.

On p41, the article quotes Srinivas saying: "Most of these modern green buildings are centrally air-conditioned (ac) because they have to maintain indoor air quality and also meet stringent international standards. ...This is exactly why usgbc's leed rating with its emphasis on air-conditioning is not getting accepted in the Indian context." Srinivas, however, has clarified that "there is no requirement for all leed rated green buildings to be air-conditioned. The classic example is the office building of the Inspector General of Police in Gulbarga, Karnataka, which has achieved leed gold rating".

Our correspondent says that at present there aren't many non-acleed buildings in the country. She had asked Srinivas for examples of more such non- ac leed rated buildings in the country, preferably platinum. But Srinivas could not send the data.

This is in reference to 'Forced irrigation' (September 30, 2007). It is mentioned in the article that "Madhavrao Chitale also acknowledged that 30 per cent of the project area is saline". Chitale meant to say that 30 per cent area of the Purna river sub-basin of which Pedhi dam area is a part has groundwater which is saline.

Green architecture

This is in response to the cover story 'How green is your building' (August 31, 2007). The effort to evaluate the state of our buildings on a 'green scale' is to be appreciated. India should work towards putting a builder-friendly, cost-effective green evaluation system in place to save people from consumption of of high energy and maintenance costs. Given the rate at which urbanisation is growing, the construction sector should also look at alternatives.

K J Sekar

Green buildings should be made compulsory in India. Regulation will receive a positive response because of its advantages--cutting electricity consumption and the use of sustainable construction materials. The government and industries should volunteer to use green buildings in future projects.

Your article should have focused on rainwater harvesting and green ratings for industries so that one can have a holistic view of a sustainable lifestyle. You could also have carried a profile of Laurie Baker who has pioneered in the field of constructing low-resource, low-input green buildings. Baker's architectural designs can beat any global standard for green buildings.

r balachan

Alternative solution

This is in response to the article 'Bulb of contention' (August 31, 2007). Though it discusses the hazards of compact fluorescent light (cfl) bulbs, it does not explain how to contain the mercury pollution caused by them.

The article also ignores the fact that at present the Indian market is flooded by cfl bulbs imported from China. These do not last long, provide poor lighting and may have more mercury than in the usual ones. They are available at the cheaper rate of Rs 15. If the average Indian consumer opts for these low-grade cfls, it could further worsen the scenario. The authorities should keep an eye on this.

The article also does not talk of the most recent development--light-emitting diodes (leds. White leds have been developed over the past decade. The led industry has achieved the efficiency of 100 lumens per watt for 5 mm leds. This exceeds even the lighting efficiency of a cfl bulb. A good cfl bulb emits about 85 lumens per watt. Europe is leading in the area of using leds for general lighting. Scandinavian countries have started using them for lighting streets.

This does not mean that leds have no downsides. Two major technical flaws of leds are: one, it uses rare elements to generate light; and two, there is widespread use of epoxy in making leds, which is non-biodegradable. But I am sure that scientists here can work towards eliminating these shortcomings. If that happens leds can certainly be used as substitutes for incandescent bulbs.

Michael Mazgaonkar
Juna Mozda, Gujarat

The article is an informative piece on how to reduce carbon dioxide by replacing our traditional incandescent bulbs with cfl bulbs. The effort will not only reduce pollution, it can also help us earn carbon benefits.

Can you focus on other non-conventional energy sources, other than wind and bio-gas energy field, which can help gain carbon benefits? India should promote small- and medium-scale industries to earn the benefit.

A S Vivek

Captions please

Why your magazine does not carry photo captions along with pictures? A picture without a caption is an affront to readers. I think your readers deserve better treatment.

T V Achutha Warrier
Thrissur, Kerala

Eco-unfriendly tourism

This is in response to the article 'EIA: A nice formality' (August 31, 2007). I appreciate the views expressed in it. I wonder if anyone can carry out an environmental impact assessment for the mindless tourism promotion done by private or Indian Airlines in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.


Toxic pod

This is in response to the article 'A podful of encephalopathy' (September 15, 2007). Everyone in the area knows that these pods are poisonous to cattle. I wonder how children came to consume these toxic pods.

Satyendra K Tiwari

Whose responsibility?

In our semi-rural area there is an automobile service station that is located near a lower-primary school. It releases effluents through a discharge pipe, which is then stored in an open tank. The wastewater, in the absence of any treatment, seeps into the soil and contaminates groundwater. All tube wells within the school premises now release soapy water. Chemical spray paints used in the service station is also causing bronchial irritations and cough. Panchayat authorities have turned a blind eye towards the problem. Please suggest ways of dealing with this.

Ravi nayar

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