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This New Year move towards more sustainable living

If you have visited any part of the world in 2016 and not heard of changes in local weather patterns due to climate change- you’d be quite the exception. Climate change is here; it is real and has been attributed to modern consumption-driven human lifestyle.

On a positive note, people have become more conscious than ever before about the environment and are ready to take action. Many modern housing societies have started adopting methods that reduce consumption through conservation and recycling to achieve the status of green buildings.

It is important to understand and consider that green buildings may initially demand higher investments, but in the long run they reap higher returns through financial savings.

4 main aspects need to be considered while assessing the total carbon footprint of any structure viz. construction, energy, water and waste.

Let us understand some common measures adopted by architects to reduce the environmental impact of each.

Construction

By choosing materials that are sustainable and environment-friendly the overall impact of the structure can be greatly reduced. Wood from sustainably managed sources is an ideal material to use in construction. Wood takes out carbon from the atmosphere and stores it in for its entire life. It has the lowest carbon footprint when compared to steel and concrete. Being a natural insulator and air purifier, it reduces the consumption of energy. Being a natural, organic material wood is usable throughout its life cycle and is bio-degradable.

Canadian Wood comes from sustainably managed forests of British Columbia (B.C.), Canada and is certified by leading independent agencies such as PEFC and FSC.

Construction

Energy

Solar panels, energy star rated appliances and insulation impact energy efficiency. Ideas like domestic wind turbines have thrown up opportunities for conscious consumers to reduce their dependence on traditional sources of energy and use clean sources of energy. Insulating materials like wood and energy star windows help regulate ambient temperature reducing the need for high cooling or heating. So use of wood in construction adds to the green quotient of the building. Tapping into geo-energy is fast gaining popularity in the west as an intelligent method of regulating indoor temperature.

Energy

Water

Rain-water harvesting and waste water recycling help manage usage of water better. That apart, installation of water saving faucets, toilets and efficient plumbing systems are also important. Recycled waste-water can be used for non-potable purposes like watering the lawns, flushing systems etc. leading to huge savings and less consumption.

Water

Waste Generation and Disposal

The total waste going into landfills from the structure has a bearing on its sustainable status. Bio-gas plants and composting pits convert organic waste into usable manure. Bio-gas plants can convert organic waste into usable cooking gas, producing manure as a by-product. These steps have a positive impact on the environment.

Waste Generation and Disposal

Human and animal health

The chemicals used for the maintenance and upkeep of the building determine the nature of pollutants being generated by the building and impact the health of its inhabitants & the surroundings. By using eco-friendly cleaning agents, pesticides and fertilizers, the environment impact of the building can be greatly improved.

Human and Animal Health

If your current residential or corporate complex does not undertake any measures to address these factors, it is worth considering their installation. Most systems pay back the value of their initial investment by way of savings within the first few years itself and allow you to enjoy their benefits for decades ahead.

Canada has always protected its natural resources and set an example of how man can satisfy his needs without negatively impacting the environment. Forest products from Canada are certified for sustainability and conform to stringent international standards of forest management.

FII India, funded by the government of British Columbia (B.C.), Canada represents Canadian wood in India for all its five species viz. Western Hemlock, Douglas-fir, Yellow-Cedar, Western Red Cedar and Spruce-Pine-Fir (SPF). FII works closely with architects, manufacturers, importers and real estate developers to provide technical and procurement assistance for their requirements free of any cost.