How to get Eco-Ideas
The Green Sense column, now being published for over three-and-a-a half years, elicits many follow-up mail responses, directly suggesting its usefulness to the readers.
To that end the role of a newspaper essay is well served and acknowledged. The challenge often goes beyond the first round of publication when the readers post enquiry mails seeking further information.
Incidentally, these essays are structured more as subject introductions and basic information, without the jargons of details and expertise.
As such, while every essay specific to an idea can be shown to the project team of the reader including architects, engineers and builders, the idea cannot be directly executed unless the team does further studies.
A related question has been where have these ideas come from or from which book or website the points have been taken? Except for a few essays on bamboo, wind turbine, arch foundation and few more, all the rest are written by the personal experience of the author, having designed buildings for the last 18 years using those ideas and seen their execution through skilled teams of contractors.
To that end, one should be thankful to a wide range of clients who sought thinking out-of-the- box and accepted alternative ideas; equally well to other Bangalore architects like Kanade’s, Jaisim, Chitra, Mistry’s and research institutions like ASTRA, Mrinmayee and Gramvidya.
Since books or web sites were generally not referred to, no in-depth data was collated or supplied through the essays. Passing on the personal knowledge to the public realm was the basic objective, rather than turning the readers into subject experts. Naturally, the essays evolved as a kind of first read, such that interested readers can do further exploration as required individually.
Every region in India has a local tradition, which is the richest source book for ecological designs. While modern buildings are increasingly replacing the older types, a revivalist interest has also picked up, hence finding subject experts on local, vernacular ideas is not very difficult. Anyway, a large number of traditional structures are amidst us even today, like an open air museum of ideas for anyone to pick up ideas from. A comparable source of skill lies in the senior generation of masons, carpenters and such others. Every region has at least some people and organisations with alternative ideas. Many institutions have research and documentation facilities, findings of which are regularly published or posted on their web sites.
Readers can search for The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), Indian Green Building Council (IGBC), Central Building Research Institute (CBRI), Hunnarshala Foundation, Govt. departments for renewable energies, ECBC, varied initiatives at Auroville, HUDCO, regional building centres often called as Nirmithi Kendra, Laurie Baker Building Center, and COSTFORD and many of such centres offer data, designs and knowledge on green buildings and sustainable practices. Besides public bodies of the above kind, many private design consultants, now in increasing number, are offering eco-friendly ideas for those who seek them.
We only need seekers for these ideas in larger numbers, towards a better future.