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Friday, July 19, 2013

Towards Green Homes

By Jahnvi Sreedhar
Photography: Courtesy the architects

Eco friendly habitats by BCIL
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At Bio-diversity Conservation India Limited (BCIL), the home chooses its owner and not the other way around. IAnD visits their first housing experiment – TransIndus, now flourishing in its 13th year, to comprehend the philosophy of this benchmark genre of eco-friendly homes across the globe.

World Bank recently published an analysis report pointing out the total cost of environmental degradation in India being 3.7 trillion rupees annually because most of the building materials, which are used, are among the major culprits of increase in carbon footprint. How often have we, while buying a house considered the eco-friendliness of it? Maybe it’s the last on your checklist and for a majority, it’s not even on the list!

Eco friendly habitats by BCIL
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Eco friendly habitats by BCIL
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In the past two decades, BCIL has created a huge body of work for builders, designers, ecologists to learn and add more to the aspect of sustainability and environment friendly buildings. In its first such initiative - TranIndus, in Bangalore, a unique community township amidst a man-made forest consisting of strategically planted trees, is an estate that provides dwellers with basic facilities of grid-free water, 70 percent self-generated power and a complete waste-management system.

Eco friendly habitats by BCIL
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Eco friendly habitats by BCIL
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The design model employed is called the ‘six-strand sustainability strategy’. Its uniqueness lies in the eco-consciousness combined architectural design and thought. The concept is community-driven with active people-participation and genuine contribution towards protecting the environment. What distinguishes the Zed habitats, as they are called, is that they offer lower running costs for occupants in terms of energy or water.

Eco friendly habitats by BCIL
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Eco friendly habitats by BCIL
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This is certainly not to say that BCIL is the only way to greener homes. But their ongoing efforts with a series of small and large-scale habitats open up absolutely-workable possibilities that can constructively contribute towards positive environmental change. Out of the multitude of plus points, the one that stands out is that these developers choose the owners rather than the buyers choosing their homes. Like art house cinema, Zed owners are a niche audience.

3 comments :

  1. Charles Traylor, NCARBJuly 21, 2013 at 4:26 PM

    ANY new construction is a compromise to the environment. Green architecture is a contradiction in terms. The greenest architecture is virtual. There is a very simple formula at work here:

    More construction. More destinations. More traffic. More congestion. More stress. More disease. More death.

    The population of the world is growing in a geometric proportion. It is doubling in half the time of the previous doubling, and this has been going on for centuries. Next to population growth paranoid construction growth is our biggest global threat. If we keep it up we will welt up like an overgrown bacteria colony and sink back into ourselves in war, death and destruction. In response to our discussion thread, "In a gradual, dedicated, step-up of eco-conscious architecture, can we identify some simple green tips to contribute to the larger picture?"

    ReplyDelete
  2. Charles. The problem with virtual architecture is that the rain and the cold and the heat are real. A virtual house doesn't keep out the real rain. However, a good genocide and famine will reduce the population. Which population shall we target?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Charles Traylor, NCARBJuly 21, 2013 at 4:44 PM

    Peter. Genocide and famine are already with us. We did not select it, except by totally and irresponsibly begetting more and more babies and putting up more and more destinations for them to grow up and run their tails off, commuting in deeper and deeper traffic between the lot of those destinations. Go out on the freeway of any great city in the world. Count the cars. About a hundred of them will pass, carrying one driver, before even a single car, carrying two or more passengers will pass. Try it. You'll see what I mean, and mass transit is like spitting upwind in a hurricane, too much money and nowhere nearly enough volume to keep up.

    We already have PLENTY of building product, and too much of it is not being utilized or it is not being well enough utilized. We have churches, schools, auditoriums, sports stadiums, air ports and even housing, which sit vacant either part of the time or permanently, while we architects and other building industry professionals wax eloquently about green eco-conscious design and construction. ENOUGH ALREADY! We need to stop doing two things immediately, well, at least slow it down significantly: new babies and new construction. We can keep the rain and cold out of what we already have.

    ReplyDelete

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