Green buildings key to healthier living, sustainable planet: Dhirendra Madan

Amisha Yadav

Efficient building construction and design play a significant role in reducing energy consumption and promoting sustainability. As the world tries to bring in sustainable practices to mitigate the challenges of climate crisis, the focus is on building green gathering momentum. In an interview to EarthConnect, Dhirendra Madan, co-chairman, IGBC-Jaipur chapter, president of Credai-Rajasthan, CMD of Mahima real estate pvt ltd, said green design, sustainable practices and smart technologies will be the key to conserving natural resources and environment. Excerpts…

What is green building and how does it differ from conventional ones?

A green building is eco-friendly and it uses mostly natural materials for construction. It uses less water, is energy-efficient, caters to healthier spaces for the dwellers, and produces less waste during construction and living. The main difference between a green building and a conventional one is that green buildings aim to minimize their impact on the environment, whereas conventional buildings do not prioritize environmental sustainability.

What are the benefits of green buildings?

The benefits of constructing green buildings include the reduction of natural resource consumption, reduction of operating costs, comfort and safety for all residents, and energy optimization and reduction. Green buildings also contribute to a healthier and more sustainable environment.

How does the use of renewable energy contribute to the sustainability?

The use of renewable energy in green buildings provides environmental and economic benefits. It helps improve energy efficiency and promotes ecological sustainability. Additionally, using renewable energy helps in diversifying energy supply and reducing dependence on imported fuels.

What are the common sustainable materials used in green buildings?

Some common sustainable materials used in green building for construction include earthen materials, reclaimed wood, bamboo, insulated concrete, earth bags, stone roofing, steel, thatch, natural fiber, fiberglass, precast concrete, fly ash bricks, non-VOC paints, fiber cement, and natural stone.

Can you discuss the role of efficient building design in reducing energy consumption?

Efficient building design plays a significant role in reducing energy consumption and promoting sustainability. It includes constructing the buildings as per regional standards, orienting and designing the building form as per the sun’s position and wind movement, installing high-quality glazing that utilizes low coatings and reduces energy consumption, and installing high-performance systems and appliances.

How does indoor air quality play a role in green building design?

Indoor air quality is a crucial component of eco-friendly construction because it affects every green aspect of the building. It helps keep the green technology, building materials, and people inside to obtain optimal health.

Can you talk about the importance of water conservation in green buildings?

Water conservation is an essential component in green buildings as it optimizes water usage, reduces operating costs, and prevents pollution. It includes reusing recycled grey water in gardening and washing, ensuring that potable water is only used for drinking purposes, and implementing demand management strategies to reduce overall water usage.

How does green building impact the local community and environment?

Green buildings impact the local community and the environment by reducing landfill waste, enabling alternative transportation use, encouraging the creation of vegetated land areas and roofs, reducing the climate impacts.

What are some of the challenges associated with designing?

There are several challenges associated with designing and constructing green buildings. Inadequate training and education, unfamiliarity with green technologies, and higher initial costs of green construction practices and materials are some of the major challenges.

Can you explain the role of technology in this?

Green technology plays a significant role in promoting sustainability and energy efficiency in green buildings. It contributes to sustainable development by conserving natural resources and the environment, so that it meets the demands of the present and future generations.

What steps can building owners and managers need to take?

Building owners and managers can take several steps to maintain and improve the sustainability of green buildings. These include optimizing site potential, energy use, protecting and conserving water, optimizing building space and material use, enhancing indoor environmental quality, and optimizing operational and maintenance practices.

What is the role of building codes and regulations in promoting green building practices?

Building codes and regulations play a crucial role in promoting green building practices. These codes and regulations set minimum standards for healthy space planning, fast track environment clearances, provide financial incentives to compliant projects, notified FAR incentive for green buildings, reduction in property tax for green-certified buildings, and processing fee waivers for home loans.

How has the demand for green buildings changed in recent years, and what is the future outlook?

The demand for green buildings has increased significantly in recent years. Real estate plays a determining role in battling climate change, and ever-increasing operational energy requirements of buildings can be optimized. There has been a decrease in carbon emissions, increased life cycle of the built environment, and a healthy impact on surroundings. The future outlook for green building is very positive as more and more people become aware of the importance of sustainability.

Innovative tech and materials are being used in green building today. Can you talk about some of these?

Some of the most innovative and cutting-edge technologies and materials being used in green building today include solar power, biodegradable materials, green walls/vertical landscapes, smart appliances, filler roofs, zero waste and zero energy design, smart glazing systems, and water-saving technologies.

Can you talk about the impact of green buildings on building occupants?

Green buildings have a positive impact on building occupants and the surrounding environment. They reduce environmental carbon footprint by encouraging green terraces and gardens, reduce energy consumption without sacrificing comfort levels, maintain internal and external air quality, use non-toxic materials to promote better health, and make people more sensitive towards the environment.

Can you discuss comparing the costs associated with green buildings?

Green buildings typically have higher initial costs but lower operational costs compared to conventional buildings.

Can you explain the role of government in promoting and supporting green buildings?

The government plays a crucial role in promoting and supporting green building initiatives by introducing and implementing water quality policy frameworks and standards, regulating the discharge of pollutants into the environment, managing wastewater, and promoting recycling and reuse.

What are the potential barriers to widespread adoption of green building practices?

There are several potential barriers to widespread adoption of green building practices, including high initial costs, higher design charges, lack of empirically proven cost benefit evidence, high technology and materials costs, and lack of reliable cost data.

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