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We cannot evaluate sustainability by evaluating the construction alone

We cannot evaluate sustainability by evaluating the construction alone

It’s a lifestyle that matters. We have all witnessed a dramatic change in our lifestyle and thus the sustainability has been affected says Pankaj Gandhi, Principal Architect, VH designs studio.

Do you believe that green building and construction has been a part of the Indian culture all along? Can those construction and design ideas be translated effectively for the contemporary urban eco-system?

India is known for its way of life which relies on nature and co-exists with it in a way such that all the stakeholders stand to benefit. It biological terms the apt term to use would be symbiosis. The Indian way of life and its connection with nature is truly symbiotic.

The direction of development, however has been altered by many western influences. These influences have brought in an immense amount of greed for luxury, which has no real value in our traditional lifestyle. This has impacted our way of life and it has deviated from its culture and lifestyle which is closely connected to mother nature.
We cannot evaluate sustainability by evaluating the construction alone, it’s a lifestyle that matters. We have all witnessed a dramatic change in our lifestyle and thus the sustainability has been affected.

The sustainable technologies can be revived in most of the construction projects. The sustainable and vernacular way of construction is relevant in present era too. However, we need a mass movement to ensure significant changes in present condition to have a more sustainable and equitable world. The sekey issues has been addressed but by very few people and mass enlightenment is necessary.

As far as the construction sector is concerned it has many stake holders and each can significantly influence the other. Developers, architects, contractors, house owners and government/corporations’ bodies are the major stakeholders and they should be on the forefront of the green revolution in building and construction.

In modern day construction and building practices what kind of innovations have been attained to ensure the eco-system is both green and sustainable?

Technological benefits should be available with reasonable cost to the smallest part of the country for smallest projects. Energy consumption and saving has big impact on eco-system which ultimately makes the project green. Availability of good sustainable technology like zero water plaster, chemical curing, replacement of steel and cement with alternative materials can make building green in modern era.

When it comes to housing are these developments limited only to luxurious apartments and skyrises or is it all pervading?

Sustainable technologies/techniques, I believe have stake in every kind, type and scale of projects. It is time to realize the same, involve all the stakeholders and adopt a strong implementation plan. This will enable companies to produce the products on a massive scale to meet the demand. And we all know that mass production of a product can automatically reduce the price of the product and thus improve its availability across different social strata’s of the society.

A lot of large-scale infrastructure projects in India are driven by the state and central government, what kind of progress have you witnessed in such projects towards green and sustainable construction?
Unfortunately, I have not witnessed any significant policy towards making a project green. Few projects have few compulsory standards and ratings to follow but the end product usually fails to achieve the result facilitated by the ratings in the first place. Moreover, in large scale projects timeframe and budget too act as limitations to incorporate such measures.
Every year in India as also abroad attempts have been made to encourage and aid sustainability by certifying certain products as green and eco-friendly by credible institutions and bodies who undertake a thorough check, what is you take on this development and how will it help us in achieving sustainability?
Few Green certified products are big catch. Green products carbon credit needs to be checked before use. The green products are helping architects gain a few credits and make the building green but the variety and availability of such products is scarce.
I see eventually the buildings are now becoming showrooms for various companies whether its sustainable product or a regular product…sustainability in its core should not depend on bunch of products alone. The virtue of design should be such that it achieves the sustainability on its own as far as possible. The habit of creating something better and sustainable is very important. Rest can be addressed.


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