Sustainable Construction to save our Earth
The word ‘sustainable’ denotes judicious usage of the earth’s resources to make the earth a better place to live for ourselves and our coming generations. However, unfortunately, the construction industry and its ancillary industries are instrumental in creating a giant carbon footprint in India through the rampant usage of resources.
Sun rays heat the earth during the daytime, and the earth emits the heat back to space during the night time to cool down. Some harmful gases that freely float in the atmosphere prevent the earth from cooling down during dark hours.
Earth’s accumulated heat, in turn, triggers climate change. The changed climate behaves erratically, causing tragic effects on all living creatures, plants, and other elements.
Global warming is increasingly becoming a grave concern during the last couple of decades. All manufacturing and transport industries routinely generate and add greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. Nevertheless, we can hardly do anything to remove those gases due to their long life.
Among all gases, the most challenging proposition is to tackle Carbon dioxide. Its quantity already available is among the highest, and it will continue to remain active for 300 to 1000 years in the air.
Construction Industry itself consumes a massive amount of power. Thermal Power plants generate 85% of electricity.
To produce this much power, the plants use 70% of the total coal used in India. Coal, while getting burnt, releases gases. As a result, the power sector in India alone emits 47% of all CO2 emissions in India.
The Construction Industry primarily uses power-intensive building materials such as cement, steel, bricks, timber, glass, paint and lime. These ancillary industries routinely release massive CO2 gas while manufacturing respective products.
Thus construction Industry, directly and indirectly, is responsible for the release of a mammoth amount of CO2 gas into the atmosphere. Eleven tonnes of CO2 gas get released to construct a single 1BHK unit!
Mitigation. With the population galloping relentlessly, Construction Industry is here to stay and will grow in future. However, we cannot wish away the carbon dioxide already available in the air.
We can only mitigate the generation of CO2 gas by using more ingenious technology. The following steps may effectively help fight the presence of more CO2 gas in the atmosphere:
- Begin intensive afforestation and protect forestland.
- Encourage 306 million-plus households (ref. Census 2011) to use green energy generated by windmills and solar power panels. Mini power generators using the flow of a local river may generate power to light up a cluster of village houses. Make use of LED bulbs compulsory. Use coolers to replace power guzzling air conditioners.
- Use traditional Indian building plans and locally available materials. Those can be best suited to varying regional conditions of India. Make more use of natural light and insulated walls to minimise electricity consumption.
- Make more use of the software to replace the use of paper.
- Minimise wastage of building materials.
- Make use of fly ash.
- Use heat deflecting window panes.
- Innovate and use unconventional materials like bamboo in place of steel or traditional materials to replace cement concrete.
- Minimise the usage of diesel-powered material-handling machinery like Generators, Cranes, Forklifts, cargo trucks and hoists by better planning.
- Enforce green norms on all building materials manufacturers.
- Create mass awareness of the banes of greenhouse effect at the grass-root level.
Conclusion. The environmental situation of our planet is already grim. Acting seriously against the greenhouse effect is the need of the hour.
The construction industry needs to adjust to the new-normal situation and do everything possible to mitigate CO2 generation.