We are the solution…
While this column has attempted to explore alternative building methods, we need to realise that it is not the building that consumes energy but people.
A century down the line, historians my write how the decades around the turn of the millennium have been epochal — realising the impact of our lifestyles; introspecting our patterns of consuming; researching about climate change; talking about carbon footprints and writing the ongoing history of societal shift into sustainable futures. The fact that we all are part of this moment of time is a matter of both pride and concern. Pride because it is our generation that is mapping the critical future and concern because our much thought out solutions are increasingly failing to stop the tide.
While this Green Sense weekly column has attempted to explore alternative building methods, we need to realise that at the end, it is not the building that consumes energy but people. A mere technical count of eco-friendly ideas used in a green building may not be a good enough solution, despite being a welcome step.
Care about wastage
A building, however eco-friendly it is, will fall flat if its users consume more energy than what the design has saved. This could be simply illustrated by the possible contradiction between the house and people. Imagine a home with mud blocks, stone pillar and filler roof, hence eco-friendly. However, if the family that lives there leads a lavish life buying, using and throwing, the whole idea gets defeated.
If people do not care about reducing wastage, the society and market at large will not care about reducing production or consumption. The energy discussion needs to start from the end consumers — people.
Much has already been said about how the local wisdom is always more eco-friendly and how place-based solutions are better than global practices from abroad. Yet, the global is prevailing over the local, thanks to increased comforts, attractive aesthetics, innovative production, ease of operation, proven durability and such others.
The flip side of this argument could be seen in one example — the corporate game of production at cheap prices at one place followed by marketing at high prices elsewhere has led to enormous quantities of energy in every item we are buying.
While discussing the emerging new ideas, supposedly more efficient, we may not realise the cost at which the new ideas are made to reach every corner of the world and how it would exclude many people in the process.
However, being a part of our times, none of us can negate the trends around us. Instead, what we can do is to observe the trends, realise their negative impacts and attempt corrective measures.
Accordingly, Green Sense has been looking at a few architectural design ideas, material options and construction techniques that could reduce the harm we are causing to nature due to construction activities.
Though some of the design ideas may appear useful and appropriate, this column also intends to state that the real solution to energy crisis lies within us, the people.