How is the Indian Green Building Council moulding young minds into becoming eco-sensitive? Syed Mohamed Beary of IGBC spells it out to Ranjani Govind

The Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) is working towards increasing awareness about green buildings. Apart from educating builders and architects, the council is engaging young people in activities related to green building concepts, energy efficiency, and water conservation, for which they conduct programmes and competitions in partnership with schools. Their annual awareness drive during the World Green Building Week has come in for a lot of attention as the IGBC conducts essay writing competitions for children below 15 years in Bangalore.

Syed Mohamed Beary, Chairman, Bangalore Chapter, Indian Green Building Council, spoke to The Hindu-HABITAT about the educational initiatives that IGBC is taking and the importance of educating youngsters that he says “is the best investment that one could make, as these future citizens will create the best assets for our society.”

Excerpts…

Do you think you are addressing the little ones at the right time?

Environmental issues and concerns are posing a huge challenge in managing our resources more efficiently. Natural resources are not infinite. They are dwindling, be it fossil fuels, minerals, soil or forest cover. For example, our crude oil import is Rs. 20,000 crore per month. If we go on like this we would wake up horror-struck in 2030 and we definitely want our children to tackle the scenario then. We need to get our act together, right now, right here.

To me it sounds like a ‘now or never scenario’ for addressing ecological issues and concerns and work closely with one of the important stakeholders of society — the student community. Hence IGBC is consciously addressing this key segment.

How is IGBC incorporating the green building concepts in school extra-curricular activities?

Our initiatives have brought in the ‘IGBC Student Chapters.’ They have been launched in different architectural and engineering colleges across the country. The initiative has the Council developing training modules on green building rating systems, and organising missions to certify green buildings in their cities. Apart from this, IGBC has various awareness programmes, quiz programmes in schools, celebrates events like World Environment Day, World Green Building Week, World Earth Day etc. As on date, IGBC has launched over 25 IGBC-Student Chapters.

Two contests

IGBC has institutionalised two contests - ‘IGBC Green Design Competition’ and ‘Paint our Earth Green,’ a drawing competition for school children.

In partnership with Young Indians (Yi) of CII, we also organise a yearly ‘Green-I’ contest for schoolchildren on conservation and the winning school gets a grant of Rs. 7.5 lakh towards implementation of its green ideas on the school campus. We support the implementation of green ideas generated by the team.

The pilot version of the Green-I contest was initiated in 2007 in Chennai and in 2008 the contest went pan-India. As part of the contest IGBC has provided a platform — ‘Young minds going green’ — where the students get an opportunity to present their ideas during the Green Building Congress, India’s flagship event on green buildings.

Under ‘Paint our Earth Green’ initiative, students belonging to 4-8 Standards will be asked to draw on themes weaved around energy conservation, water conservation, usage of renewable energy, how to protect environment and biodiversity conservation. With an objective of seeding green ideas in the minds of young budding professionals and also to encourage new thoughts and innovation in green design, IGBC organises the ‘IGBC Green Design Competition’ every year. An eminent jury assesses the entries to arrive at the top three entries, and awards are presented during the Green Building Congress.

IGBC has also developed informative materials (time tables, stickers) with powerful messages on eco-ideas and eco-sensitivity for these student-ambassadors to spread awareness.

So, one can expect green architects in future?

In 2003, there were very few products and employment opportunities in this sector. However, with the spread of the green building movement, the sector has witnessed tremendous growth opportunities. IGBC anticipates that by the end of 2017 we will cross 4 to 5 billion sq. ft of green building footprint. This significant growth will result in demand for green building professionals who can facilitate the construction of green buildings. For instance by 2015, India needs over 10,000 green building professionals.

To address this growing need, IGBC regularly organises outreach programmes through Green Building Congress, Green building missions, training / awareness programmes and exhibitions. IGBC has also launched the IGBC-AP online exam to meet the demand for qualified professionals. We are also working closely with international academic and research institutions in developing green building professionals, architects and designers.

How many schools have been covered as of now in Bangalore, and how is the response to the initiative?

The IGBC-sponsored essay competition ‘My dream of a Clean City, Green City: Bangalore 2020’ for the World Green Building Week 2013 generated a fantastic response, covering around 500 schools in Bangalore.