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“It’s a myth that green buildings are expensive”

Saving the planet will be an obvious outcome. However, the point is to go ‘green’ and not lose our comfort and convenience – Chandrashekar Hariharan vice-chairman, IGBC. A regular builder will calculate roughly 150 litres water per capita per day.

September 07, 2014 11:31 pm | Updated July 13, 2016 04:27 pm IST - HYDERABAD:

Chandrashekar Hariharan, Chairman and Co-founder of BCIL ZED homes. Photo: S. Siva Saravanan

Chandrashekar Hariharan, Chairman and Co-founder of BCIL ZED homes. Photo: S. Siva Saravanan

Though the concept of ‘green buildings’ has been around for some years, most constructions in the city are conventional. This is largely due to the ‘myth’ that the former is costlier affair, says Chandrashekar Hariharan, vice-chairman of the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC).

Mr. Hariharan, who was in the city last week to attend the 12th Green Building Congress, spoke to YUNUS Y. LASANIA about the positives of going ‘green’ while constructing buildings, and how it saves energy.

Is it true that ‘green’ buildings are a costly affair, or is it just a perception?

It is a myth that constructing a ‘green’ building will cost more. The truth is that conventional builders do not want to professionalise the designing process of architecture, water management, energy management etc. We, at the BCIL group (Mr. Hariharan’s company), do not have water and sewerage connections from the civic board, and take only 30 per cent electricity from the power grid.

As an example, how much water on an average is used by residents of an apartment?

A regular builder will calculate roughly 150 litres water per capita per day. Let us assume that a family has four members on an average. In a huge construction, there will 100 homes. Therefore, the water consumption per year, will be around 20 million litres. In a green building, we bring it down to 90 litres per day per person using water saving faucets and taps.

So if a ‘green’ building saves more energy and water, why aren’t more people opting for it?

One thing is that making ‘green’ buildings is not obligatory. Also, it will catch on if consumers begin asking for it, meaning there has to be a market for it. The government also has to take it up. We have not been governed well.

Can we make existing households energy-efficient and prevent wastage of resources?

Definitely. There are many ways. One can start with changing the faucets and taps in the houses to prevent wastage of water, apart from installing a Sewerage Treatment Plant (STP). Similarly, a one-and-a-half kilo watt solar power system will save energy. And the amount you spend on it will be recovered in 18 months, given the amount of power you save on bills.

So what must be done in the near future to ensure that our buildings are more energy-efficient?

About 60 per cent of the infrastructure that India needs has still not been constructed. As per estimates, by 2030, there will be about 10 billion square meters of constructed homes, hospitals and other buildings. Apart from going for ‘green’ buildings, making existing homes eco-friendly is one of the best ways to save energy. The latter is called retro-fitting. Saving the planet will be an obvious outcome. However, the point is to go ‘green’ and not lose our comfort and convenience.

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Though the concept of ‘green buildings’ has been around for some years, most constructions in the city are conventional. This is largely due to the ‘myth’ that the former is costlier affair, says Chandrashekar Hariharan, vice-chairman of the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC).

Mr. Hariharan, who was in the city last week to attend the 12 Green Building Congress, spoke to YUNUS Y. LASANIA about the positives of going ‘green’ while constructing buildings, and how it saves energy.

Is it true that ‘green’ buildings are a costly affair, or is it just a perception?

It is a myth that constructing a ‘green’ building will cost more. The truth is that conventional builders do not want to professionalise the designing process of architecture, water management, energy management etc. We, at the BCIL group (Mr. Hariharan’s company), do not have water and sewerage connections from the civic board, and take only 30 per cent electricity from the power grid.

As an example, how much water on an average is used by residents of an apartment?

A regular builder will calculate roughly 150 litres water per capita per day. Let us assume that a family has four members on an average. In a huge construction, there will 100 homes. Therefore, the water consumption per year, will be around 20 million litres. In a green building, we bring it down to 90 litres per day per person using water saving faucets and taps.

So if a ‘green’ building saves more energy and water, why aren’t more people opting for it?

One thing is that making ‘green’ buildings is not obligatory. Also, it will catch on if consumers begin asking for it, meaning there has to be a market for it. The government also has to take it up. We have not been governed well.

Can we make existing households energy-efficient and prevent wastage of resources?

Definitely. There are many ways. One can start with changing the faucets and taps in the houses to prevent wastage of water, apart from installing a Sewerage Treatment Plant (STP). Similarly, a one-and-a-half kilo watt solar power system will save energy. And the amount you spend on it will be recovered in 18 months, given the amount of power you save on bills.

So what must be done in the near future to ensure that our buildings are more energy-efficient?

About 60 per cent of the infrastructure that India needs has still not been constructed. As per estimates, by 2030, there will be about 10 billion square meters of constructed homes, hospitals and other buildings. Apart from going for ‘green’ buildings, making existing homes eco-friendly is one of the best ways to save energy. The latter is called retro-fitting. Saving the planet will be an obvious outcome. However, the point is to go ‘green’ and not lose our comfort and convenience.

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