New Delhi, June 28
Either we build energy and water saving green buildings or we perish.
That is the latest warning from research and advocacy body Centre for Science and Environment on the disastrous fallout of the aggressive building construction that is underway.
The CSE says that both residential and commercial buildings were going to increase several fold in the coming decade, as nearly 70 per cent of the building stock that would be there in 2030 was yet to be built in the country.
This will have enormous impact on the quality of urban space, water and energy resources in cities and waste generation.
“It is shocking that Indian cities are extremely ill prepared to address the environmental fallouts of the aggressive building construction that is underway. Unless guided with right principles for location choices, architectural design, appropriate choices of building material and operational management, the building sector can make cities unliveable.”
According to CSE study, buildings were responsible for 40 per cent of the energy use, 30 per cent of the raw material use, 20 per cent of water use, and 20 per cent of land use in cities. At the same time, they cause 40 per cent of the carbon emissions, 30 per cent of solid waste generation, and 20 per cent of water effluents.
“Despite being a major resource predator, the building construction sector is poorly regulated. Buildings cannot be treated as a low-impact sector,” says Anumita Roychowdhury of CSE.
There is potential for resource savings in buildings if appropriate policies are in place. With more efficient lighting, ventilation, air conditioning, refrigeration and architectural design, it is possible to save 30-70 per cent of energy.
The 2010 McKinsey estimates confirm that the national power demand can be reduced by as much as 25 per cent in 2030 by improving energy efficiency of buildings and operations. The Bureau of Energy Efficiency has also stated that even existing buildings have the potential to save 30-50 per cent of energy.
Similarly, substantial water savings is possible. Only by improving the water efficiency of the water fixtures the water demand can be reduced by more than 30 per cent.
The problem is the sheer lack of information, say CSE researchers. There is barely any information and data on buildings in the public domain. Even in cases where green rating systems have been promoted with government back-up and incentives, there is no record of the actual performance of buildings and the nature of resource efficiency measures applied.