WHAT IS SO GREEN ABOUT GREEN BUILDINGS!!!!!!!

Posted on December 9, 2005

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Thesis is a one time hectic schedule in the life of an architecture student. This involves a great deal of surfing books, internet and other reports to get the right topic that interests you and which is in your perspective “something different”. This was the same mindset with which I began my hunt for thesis topics. I ran several hundreds of searches online to find that one topic which I like. My basic idea was to take up an office complex design as my thesis, because the earlier semester I had done one and had fallen love with the designing process and found it a little easier to handle office complex (well the ease was due to the fact that I was still in my college and the pressure is far lesser than what a real practice brings in and also that I faired well in the previous attempt).I had some luck but again was not up to the mark.

Finally the schedule was put for me to submit my synopsis. This was the real hectic, hurry burry time when I ran amok and then through one of my friends learnt about the project proposal in my hometown for a habitat center. This topic struck me. Earlier that semester we were touring North India and had happened to visit the Indian Habitat Center, was really impressed by the design principles and the energy efficiency principles and the way the whole project was sculpted out as one whole entity. This led me to take up the project. The next phase after project selection was crucial because it was the part where I had to choose my special topic without which my synopsis was not going to be approved. The chief who did the approvals was not particularly impressed by idea to take up energy efficiency as he felt that it weighted less and he suggested me “GREEN BUILDINGS”. Wow!!!!!!!!! That was the first time I heard about such a topic and was really thrilled at first thought, because my peers were running into various special topics that were catchy and sounded good (Most of the students feel that their thesis topics should be catchy and sound good, at least to what I have seen and realized from my peers).
The lines were straightened out and I prepared myself to get down to the road to thesis. The first step which gave me more reason to love my thesis topic was the case study selection part, during which I found out that the highest rated green building as per the LEED was in India and the second best too was in India and the fact that a lot more green buildings were proposed in India. This was a great feeling, which is inexplicable, as you have to feel those emotions you undergo when you realize that your country stands first in this field, which you have elected as your thesis topic. I was really excited about the topic.

The first question was what is a green building? Who has coined this term and for what apparent reasoning? And why has this become an upcoming fashion in the construction industry especially commercial office spaces? Some of these above questions of were automatically answered when I understood what LEED is. So what is LEED???

LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. The next subsequent question was what its relation to Green Buildings was. So it goes like this, LEED was created to Define the meaning of “Green Building” by chalking out a standard of measurement which was to be followed by the aspirants of Green Buildings. Their main idea was to stimulate a competition within player’s world wide, by awarding credits based on the standards of measurement, which was common to the entire world. Hence raise the consumer awareness of green building’s benefits to the earth. Hence the players began to compete as a Platinum award from LEED (The highest being platinum, the next gold and then the silver) means the whole world is going to recognize that building and not jus that building but the company which has run the show in the evolution of that building. This concept has interested me due to the fact that it has levied an entire set of rules, which governs the entire design process and puts a check on the entire construction of the building.

The major points which ear marks this are the following-
Water Conservation.
Waste management.
Renewable energy resources.
Re-use or use of recycled material thereby reducing the impact on the nature.
Energy efficiency – which encourages the use of solar cells and other renewable resources.
Hence after I received a gist on what Green Building business was, I proceeded to collect data on several book studies which were readily available online. The book studies helped me understand how the theories based on green buildings were composed into a song in the form of rated buildings. However the term Green Building has intrigued me on its rising demand, the way it entered into the present day practice. Well just a thought to it made me realize that this was no sudden discovery but it was always a part of Architecture, it’s the right approach to actual practice and bringing out the best of the architects. If we just set apart some time and put ourselves in a thinking process what were the skeleton of this new concept one would realize that this is the correct mode of operandi for a design i.e., climatic approach to design, energy efficiency and the water efficiency.

Instead of having a motive to achieve the LEED’s award why don’t all of us (I mean responsible architects) take an oath that we should follow those principles and not commercialize our attempts and try and make understand our clients what are the essentials for the space we choreograph for them. But present days the awareness is there, but because of the name the company/person earns if his/her building is an accredited Green Building. This not be the reason but the fact that Green Buildings should be the popular but it should be an untold song which run in our sub conscious mind day in and day out.

Let us try and bring in a green building in every attempt of ours and at least follow the basic principles to not earn fame but to supply a wholesome product rather space to the clients who are to made aware that their banking on us has been proved worthy when they realize what we have tried to sculpt of their piece of land by the sheer experience they get when they live/use it. When we do such exercise we would automatically become pioneers in saving the earth of its depletion in resources and hence bring about the balance in nature and all of us would become not just Architects but ECO-ARCHITECTS!!!!!!!!!!!!

Well these were some of my experience which I gained through my study on green building which I did as an exercise for my thesis study topic. Rather than students taking it up as their thesis topics it would be more desirable if the think tank take in steps to introduce this as a core subject in our architecture stream so it benefits all of the young aspirants and future eco-architects.

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Posted in: Opinion