You know the way we are destroying our environs today, there won’t be any trees left for Koala bears to cling on, no forests for elephants to graze, no ice caps for polar bears to stretch, and the penguins and seals would go homeless. Yes, such is the damage we are causing the earth!
Studies have clearly established that buildings today are an important area of energy consumption in India. Buildings consume energy differently, based on their purpose. However, across different kinds of buildings the main elements of energy consumption — air-conditioning and artificial lighting — remain the same.
All it takes is a simple effort to make things change.
There is a window of opportunity out there and it lies in our windows and facades. The solution lies in choosing the right glass. Normal clear glass in windows or facades allows sunlight with heat. It heats up spaces, making you pull down curtains, which in turn makes the environs dark even during the day. You light your space up with electricity and pay for it.
With technology, glasses today are being manufactured to cut the heat out and allow only light in.
What’s more, the range of these energy-efficient glasses manufactured by Saint-Gobain in India is specifically designed to suit India’s hot and humid climate. These glasses come with various permutations of light transmission and heat insulation. One can choose from a wide range and even add a dash of colour to one’s windows or facades. Glasses today can let in 60% of light but only 20% of heat as against a conventional glass that lets in an equal amount of light and heat.
The Indian market is yet to keep up to the pace of use of high energyefficient glass, largely due to the absence of mandate to use such products. BEE, IGBC, Griha and now USGBC are catalyzing efforts to dot the Indian skyscape with energy-efficient glazing products that significantly contribute to green architecture.Several countries like Dubai, Singapore and the US have made strong commitments to building greener infrastructure through tangible goals of reduction in carbon footprint. The Government of India under the aegis of Bureau of Energy Efficiency (Ministry of Power) has taken the initiative to bring in the Energy Conservation Building Code (ECBC).
ECBC is at present just a guideline though not a mandatory code, and provides for minimum requirements for the energyefficient design and construction of buildings.
Glass manufacturers have invested heavily in terms of creating capacity for making High Performance Glass which is compliant with the ECBC requirements. Glass processors, too, have invested heavily in manufacturing lines for making Insulated Glazing Units, catering to the demand for High Performance Glazing. It is only strong domestic demand that will aid in scaling up of these facilities. One should also not forget the residential buildings and the smaller commercial buildings which don’t fall within the ambit of ECBC. These need to be covered through the Windows rating programme. A lot of work has already been done in this area, the different stakeholders are widely in agreement and it is now time to initiate Codes on this front. Codes are important. Equally important is Awareness Building and Capability Creation in the form of a wide spectrum of trained experts who can implement these Codes. This is an area where good work has been done by BEE. India needs to make giant strides in policy guidelines and their strict adherence by builders for making Green Buildings a much larger reality sooner than later. The Glass is still half full and the clock is ticking! We need to act fast lest it should become empty soon.