Green Building Week celebrations draw to a close

There is nothing called green extremism considering that nobody can afford not to go green when the world is facing the twin perils of global warming and climate change, said former Minister for Forests Benoy Viswom on Sunday.

He was speaking in Kochi at the valedictory function of World Green Building Week celebrations, organised in the city by the Kochi chapter of Indian Green Building Council.

Mr. Viswom called for redefining the word development and reminded the audience that as a forest minister he made a lot of enemies because he stood against any compromise on Kerala’s forest land.

He said nobody was specially deputed to take up the cause of the environment, which is now called a ‘Green’ initiative.

The remark came in the context of the former minister being introduced to the audience as a ‘Green Minister’. Hibi Eden, MLA, who spoke after Mr. Viswom was introduced to the audience as a ‘Green MLA’.

“Neither me nor Mr. Eden are deputed to take up the green cause,” Mr. Viswom said. Everybody needs to take up the cause since the world faces serious threats from climate change, he said. Mr. Eden called for creation of awareness about the concept of green buildings. He pointed out that even great institutions in the country were not aware of the concepts.

He gave the example of the High Court of Kerala building, which has come up very close to Mangalavanam — known as the lungs of the city. District Collector P. I. Sheikh Pareed offered felicitations. Chairman of the Kochi chapter of IGBC B. R. Ajit presided over the valedictory function.

The Green Building Week celebrations ended with a session that turned out to be an exposition of affordable green technologies and ways to conserve old buildings without demolishing them.

Chartered accountant turned green activist Chandrashekhar Hariharan, who is also the Co-Chairman of India Green Building Council, Bangalore, spoke on the technologies developed by Bio-Diversity Conservation India for a greener future.

He spoke about energy-saving devices like air-conditioners being marketed through the retail chain ‘Forest Free’.

“The very concept is that we cannot afford to touch our forests, he said. If forests are destroyed our rivers are destroyed and if rivers are destroyed the very civilizations that nourish us are destroyed,” he said.

Refrigerators, sewage water treatment plants for individual homes and air-to-water machines that draw much lesser power than their conventional counterparts are at the core of the drive being undertaken by Mr. Hariharan.

Mr. Viswom, who was among the audience, asked why such technologies were not being adopted in Kerala.

Energy conservation

He said that the residential units built under the brand Zed Homes have been examples of water and energy conservation.

He claimed that several theses had been written on the Zed Homes at Whitefield, in Bangalore as well as the Zed Collective, at Yelehanka.

Architect Harimohan Pillai, who spoke on conservation of old buildings and renovations, said that demolition was a crime.

He said that any building could be renovated and given a new lease of life at about 40 per cent of the cost that would be involved in building an entirely new structure.

The week-long Green Building celebrations ended with young boys and girls, who won at the various competitions organised as part of the celebrations, being given prizes.

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