The green buildings movement should become a people’s movement: Vice President Naidu
Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Tuesday called on finance commissions and local agencies to promote green buildings through various measures, including tax incentives.
He also wanted all states to create online portals to provide free single-window space for green buildings.
In virtually opening the 12th GRIHA (Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment Summit) in Hyderabad, the Vice President said that India has the potential to lead the global green building movement and emphasized the need to promote the concept of green building by both the private sector and government.
Recognizing that there is a lack of awareness among people about the concept of green building, he also called for the launch of a media campaign on the benefits of building green homes.
“The green buildings movement should become a people’s movement,” the vice president said, according to an official statement.
Citing data from the World Green Building Council, Naidu said that buildings and construction account for 39 percent of the world’s energy-related CO2 emissions and called for accelerating the process of total decarbonization of the built environment.
Noting that the ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan’ envisages India to be self-sufficient in all spheres, the vice president emphasized the need for sustainable development and wanted awareness to be raised among the people.
In rating buildings as one of the top contributors to greenhouse gas emissions, Naidu said there is a need for concerted and coordinated efforts by all stakeholders to ensure buildings are environmentally friendly and efficient in in terms of energy and resources.
“The building material we use today must be sustainable, it must not in any way jeopardize the ability of future generations to meet their needs,” he added.
He expressed his happiness for the commitment of various government and private bodies to build their future buildings in a more environmentally friendly way.
The vice president wanted all future buildings to be green on a mandatory basis and said this should apply to all types of buildings. Not just new buildings, existing buildings also need to be modernized to be environmentally friendly, he considered.
Observing that the values of ancient civilizations teach us to live in harmony with nature, he asked to revisit the traditional and nature-friendly house designs refined over thousands of years by ancestors. “Unfortunately, our modern structures are such that no sparrow can come and make a nest in our house. This is not our culture, ”he said.
Warning that climate change is real and affects people, Naidu called for a balance between economic development and protecting the environment. Economy and ecology can coexist if nature is respected, he said.
He said that the current year has been tumultuous due to the Covid-19 pandemic and a series of natural calamities in the form of floods, droughts and other extreme weather events. Therefore, there is an absolute need to “reorient our approach to development, as the decisions we make today will have repercussions far beyond our own lives,” he warned.
Noting that at least half of the country’s population will live in towns and cities by 2050, the vice president said this will create a lot of pressure on the housing sector and that green solutions will need to be developed to meet emerging needs.
Naidu noted that cooling roofs should be a priority area for everyone in India, more than 60 percent of roofs are made of metal, asbestos and concrete, which traps heat inside buildings and contributes to the effect of heat island in urban areas.
Noting that cool roofs offer a simple and cost-effective solution that can lower the indoor temperature by 2 to 4 degrees Celsius compared to traditional roofs, the vice president said that these can be very effective for low-income households and slums in areas urban. Stating that the need for air conditioners is expected to increase substantially with improvements in living standards and rising temperatures due to global warming, he said cool ceilings can reduce heat stress in homes and offices and reduce dependence on air conditioners. Simple techniques like lime-based paint, reflective coatings or membranes can reflect sunlight and reduce heat absorption, he suggested.
Emphasizing the need to use naturally available light and air, Naidu said the Covid-19 pandemic has taught the importance of good air circulation in buildings to reduce the rate of infection.