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Sustainability is an attitude and goes beyond design provisions

Sustainability is an attitude and goes beyond design provisions

Green buildings and sustainability mean different things; Green Buildings is a checklist a project fulfils to get a rating and most likely a marketing leverage says Akhil Ganatra, Managing Director, Clancy Global.

Green buildings and sustainability are two words we hear intermittently in the building and construction industry, is it same or different?
Green buildings and sustainability mean different things, Green Buildings is a checklist a project fulfils to get a rating and most likely a marketing leverage. Sustainability is an attitude and goes beyond design provisions; it’s about incrementally upgrading assets and making occupant conscious of reducing impact on the environment.

Horizontal expansion vs vertical sky rises, what role does alignment play when it comes to aiding the tenets of sustainable buildings?
Horizontal vs vertical is a conversation for part-operability and speed to occupy assets. With regards to sustainability it’s a case of relevant offset i.e. if lifts are on renewable energy and if the embodied energy of building vertically is offset; horizontal expansion=vertical sky rises. Bringing visibility of usage data for energy, water, waste etc. to asset occupants plays a large role i.e. up to 60 per cent reduction in carbon footprint is achievable by increasing occupant consciousness and setting reduction benchmarks.

How can green buildings aid health and well-being unlike the regular buildings?
Green buildings are set to be designed for better quality of air, views and light. Other than this there are no specific measures taken for health and well-being of occupants. With above said Smart buildings evokes the principle of Health-is-Wealth i.e. setting a network to improve occupant health and fitness e.g. preventive care, collaterals, purpose-built spaces and initiatives etc.

Does it mean going green always has to be expensive or is it a farce, can you validate the argument?
Sustainability and Smart is about future-proofing assets and doesn’t have to be more expensive. The validation of this can be found by:

  • Pre-planning measures and keeping plug-&-play provisions for things to be incrementally implemented through asset life
  • Weighing base budget with offset savings, plug-&-play costs, add-on revenue, brand value and incremental asset yield
  • A classic example for this is making any asset incrementally net-zero; as long as provisions for space and connecting renewable energy to the main LT panel are made at a negligible cost.

Can you cite an example of a building which epitomizes the codes of green building and sustainability?
Up until an asset is handed over for operations there are quite a few assets that have targeted a net-zero status; from the ones we have direct connection to, there is a project we consulted for ACC at Thane and a project our friend Serie (Kapil Gupta) did for NUS in Singapore. The highlights of the ACC project include achieving 1,000 sq.ft. per TR of air-conditioning, geo-thermal systems, sun cubes (composite solar), window configurations to encourage natural ventilation, natural materials etc.

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