#in line with the previous post, this is the introduction to the working paper. Please leave your comments and help us improve on it.
Architecture, Construction and Sustainability
Since time immemorial, human have inhabited the earth and they have coexisted with nature and natural elements. Moreover, the human settlements had an enhanced ecosystem wherein flora and fauna flourished alike. From rock-cut caves to straw huts, architecture has continuously evolved to take into the needs of humans and enrich the environment around. Construction was an activity which involved eco-friendly materials and construction techniques, and even encouraged interaction being a social activity.
Survival and Wellbeing of Mankind since centuries
Sustainability had been an imbibed system with which human have evolved. Settlement growth pattern could be mapped with growth in relationship with plants and animals. Homes has spaces where cows, horses, oxen lived as a part of families and were an inherent partner of life. Cow dung was used as a plaster for facades and tree barks were added in flooring paste for colours and crack resistance. The settlements evolved around water bodies and trees acted as nodes in them. There was no external force but inhabitants of respective settlements took care of their needs in all manner.
Climate Change and Green House Gases Emissions
The times, however, changed and post-renaissance and during industrialisation, the interpretation of survival needs has changed. Sustainability was no more the living force but a long lost system. Factory production and Manufacturing took over the natural regeneration systems and so-called growth was limited to a few hands. These were the people who owned the black boxes, i.e. the factories where production happened and gases released. These gases were the Greenhouse gases which had a detrimental impact over environment growth.
This system took over the construction industry also where buildings became an eminent source of pollution. Natural building materials like clay and lime were replaced with fired bricks and cement which gave a perceived form of strength while weakening the foundations of sustainable survival. Moreover, the newer systems like Air-conditioning and allied Services contributed to an enhanced scientific pollution where the terms and terminologies became alien to common man and their pollution became necessary fee to be paid for development.
Architects and Environmentalists have realised that this growth pattern is not consistent with the natural harmony around which humanity is evolved and, therefore, are now exploring systems where once again human can live symbiotically with nature.
Role that Sustainable Architecture and Technology play
Today, Green Buildings and Sustainable Architecture is being rediscovered wherein technology is playing a crucial role to harness natural energy and help us satisfy human needs and demands. 100% self-sustainable and reliant Buildings and clusters can now be developed by using a mix of traditional wisdom and modern sciences.
Architects have commenced practicing eco-friendly architecture using natural materials and ecological construction systems. These practices lay stress on zero pollution and carbon release. Materials like Bamboo, Clay, Earth, and Pebbles etc. with construction styles such as Cob, Rammed Earth, Wattle, Dhajji etc. are being explored with modern materials and construction technologies. These buildings have innovative and interesting forms, but the construction systems are yet not known completely by public.
Now-a-days, Education is playing a critical role in spreading awareness. Hence, this is the platform to be explored by Architects, designers, planners and engineers to spread awareness regarding sustainable architecture and technology with the help of budding students who will be tomorrow’s leaders, besides green campuses inherently ensure well-being of students and residing population.
Subdued practice of Sustainable Architecture
Notwithstanding anything cited above, it is critical to note that the sustainable architecture is being practiced by a handful of architects. The eco-friendly system of construction is not widely known and practiced which makes regular construction very easy while demanding very less planning from consultants and designers. The current class of public and large scale authorities have very less know-how of sustainable systems which adds to the complexity of getting a sustainable campus developed.
The regular styles using cement and bricks can be easily constructed, but they are not the energy efficient system. Moreover, to add onto it Green architecture is also superfluously perceived as add-on since not many people comprehend what Green is. Existing rating systems do judge buildings energy factually but don’t consider if the building design can itself be more energy efficient and eco-friendly. Material applications such as usage of more E-glass and more Rubberwood into buildings can give the best in class Platinum or 5 star ratings wherein building can actually be using twice the energy than a sustainable and energy efficient system will demand.
Therefore, it is of critical importance that Architects and designers having a working knowledge of energy-efficient and sustainable architecture spread their knowledge base and accessibility. Public buildings and institutes should involve them as advisors to get truly sustainable buildings wherein their involvement could be on an advisory role, ultimately fetching the citizens a low carbon and energy efficient, sustainable built environment.