PUNE: Green buildings, sustainable design and green architecture can ensure that the impact of constructions and infrastructure development on the environment is contained, former President APJ Abdul Kalam said at the GreenCo Summit 2013, which was inaugurated in the city on July 15. Kalam advocated continuous research by recyclers, electronic systems manufacturers and user groups to make green energy cost-effective.
“Although new technologies are constantly being developed to complement current practices in creating greener structures, the common objective is to reduce the overall impact of the built environment on human health and the natural environment,” Kalam said at the two-day summit organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry at the Suzlon campus in Hadapsar.
He added that steps such as ensuring efficiency in usage of water and other resources, protecting occupant health and improving employee productivity, reducing waste, pollution and environmental degradation also contribute tremendously towards building greener structures.
Kalam also spoke about the lack of electricity in rural India. He said that of the 200 million houses, as many as 60 million households do not have access to electricity. “There is a necessity to provide grid-independent distributed generation solar panels to these dwellings, which can be extended to other 140 million houses gradually. Street lights can be provided on community-based solar panels in villages, towns and cities. This will bring to India a vibrant solar panel industry, right from innovative development, efficiency enhancement, production, distribution, marketing and maintenance of trouble free solar energy system as a business.”
Kalam stressed on the scope of ‘fifth fuel’ that uses energy efficiently. “Various reports suggest that building energy efficiency is perhaps the most economically feasible and convenient way to generate energy by actually saving it. In India, there is a great scope for this fifth source of energy.”
Citing an example, Kalam stated that, in distribution of power alone, the losses are over 40% in many states. “There is also an immense scope for energy efficiency at household levels ranging from cooking fuels to smart buildings which can save up to 50% of the energy consumption,” he said.
Kalam also spoke on e-waste and said that its generation, handling, transportation and disposal waste were an important concern for the country to address. “Building adequate capacity of modern cost effective disposal systems will need continuous research by recyclers, electronic systems manufacturers and user groups as a whole.”
He said that research must be done in areas such as design for environment, for longer life, modularity to enable replacement of specific parts, recycling processes and systems, eco-labelling, dis-assembly, greening supply chains, life cycle assessment and bio-inspired material, among others.
Meanwhile, the GreenCo Summit 2013, in its mission to promote sustainable operations, awarded GreenCo ratings to nine companies in the country. Special awards in recognition of contribution to the green building mission were also given out by Kalam.
Jamshyd N Godrej, chairman, CII-Godrej GBC, cited the recent Uttarakhand crisis as an example of the devastating effects of climate change on mankind. “We are meeting in the backdrop of the crisis that has shown us how important it is to be green. Recent statistics show that the concentration of carbon dioxide has crossed 400 parts per million, which most scientists consider to be a dangerous level. India is extremely vulnerable to climate change given its vast coastline and mountains,” he said, adding that the country’s progress would be hindered if its not conscious about the environment.