Technology of sustainability or is it sustainability of technology? That was the debate in an evening of animated discussion organised by the bath solutions group Grohe this week

The event organised to launch the GroheGrandera collection in Bangalore recently saw eminent architects Karan Grover, Aaron Schwarz, Jaisim, Prem Chandavarkar, Jaffer Khan, and Angela Lm Alessi sharing the dais.

Contending that innovation has led to large-scale conservation of water over the years with companies using technology to offer products that conserve water use significantly, the discussion veered around the role of technology in sustainability, the need for right attitude towards sustainability, where sustainability is not viewed as a luxury element based on innovation but one that brings in the much needed conservation.

Stating that “water is the most used resource in the world next only to concrete, which also uses water,” Karan Grover added that technology is a tool that is capable of creating a sustainable result if used properly. “But it is not technology alone but a blend of design too that brings in sustainability where the design element forms a significant part.”

According to him the question of creating sustainable technology is not one of science but of human inclination, with technology to be used after ensuring all the sustainable elements are in place.

To Aaron Schwarz, sustainability is not an all or nothing proposition. “You can bring in a change by even doing a small bit towards becoming sustainable.”

Insisting that sustainability is not a western concept with “U.S. being one of the worst energy consumers”, Schwarz added, “India has been practising sustainable options for ages with Vaastu being a classic example where the orientation is tuned to bring in maximum natural light and ventilation while cutting down on heat ingress.”

Sheer efficiency

Speaking on rainwater harvesting, he drew attention to the efficient water conservation process involved in the Roman Baths, and the Indian techniques of using and conserving water as evident in the palaces and ancient buildings. “The courtyards and verandahs in the traditional Indian houses were structured to ensure natural light and ventilation. The Jaalis used were again not mere decorative elements but shields to bring in ventilation while reducing the harsh sunlight filtering into the interiors.”

Schwarz insisted on the need for creating benchmarks for the right way to make cities sustainable with infrastructure designed on a macro scale where “you don’t build more glass houses and commercial complexes that increase heat.”

Prem Chandavarkar called for change in the mindset where “you think differently about design and use it strategically to change life.”

Speaking on use of technology and innovation by industry to reduce the use of water directly through its innovative products, Renu Misra, Managing Director, Grohe India, said, “Our legacy is one of simplicity combined with stunning elegance. Our range of products is based on sustainability that emerges from design, technology and quality. Our products also transition the spaces from one of rationality to that dominated by emotions where functionality continues to be the main plank.”

Grohe India, with a huge share of the organised market in shower solutions in the country, apart from bringing in craftsmanship and harmonious design into its products, is focused on offering sustainable options, said Mishra.