Delhi, India (PressExposure) August 18, 2009 -- Energy-efficient green townships now promise cost and ecological benefits, says Vandana Ramnani
In the United Arab Emirates, they are building a township [http://www.zameen-zaidad.com/] that will be cooled by wind towers or windmills, water supply will be routed through desalination l plants, and solar energy will be used extensively. As global warming assumes alarming proportions and threatens s the very existence of man, c developers the world over t are exploring the options of dwelling units with eco friendly systems in place that keep pollution at bay and conserve energy.
In India, after green homes [http://www.zameen-zaidad.com/], it's the turn of green ILLUSTRATION: ABHIMANYU SINHA townships to catch the fancy of builders and developers. s Besides the upcoming i Commonwealth Games t Village in Delhi, there are a s slew of green townships in the country. These include Pioneer Urban's township in s Gurgaon; Mahindra Splendour and Palais Royale in Mumbai; Aliens space station I in Hyderabad by the i Aliens Group, the first realty s company to be pre-certified s with a platinum rating by the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) in the c residential townships category [http://www.zameen-zaidad.com/]; Merlin Tropical Greens in Kolkata; and the Uttarayon township in Siliguri, being built on what was earlier a tea estate.
So, what is a green township? It is an integrated planned habitat that lays emphasis on protection, use and recycling of natural resources, besides promoting public health, safety and general welfare.
Several parameters govern a green township, right from the time of site selection to the post-occupancy stage. These include the site topography, water conservation, eco-friendly measures such as installation of wind turbines and solar panels, creating bio gas from sewage, rainwater harvesting and greywater recycling etc, using glass of high ultraviolet value and ACs with chillers, leading to high output and lower costs, selection of landscaping species and usage of local and salvaged materials such as fly ash and stone slabs instead of concrete blocks. The focus of the architectural design is on passive heating and cooling methods to utilise maximum natural energy and minimal artificial resources.
The interiors have energy efficient measures, too. These could be in the form of wood for door frames sourced from an old ship, insulated rooftops and terrace gardens to reduce solar heat. The walls can have cavities to capture the heat so that the building stays cool.
A green township is one that is ecologically and socially sustainable. The design of settlements must be accountable for the amount of resources used, the ever-changing social and economic patterns of the inhabitants, and the amount of waste and its reuse/disposal.
Resources like land, water, electricity and other fuels, and construction materials must be judiciously utilised and recycled. The garbage, too, should be planned, explains Sonali Rastogi, Director, Morphogenesis, a design firm that is developing a green township in Siliguri.
Close to nature
The Uttarayon township in Siliguri, spread across 600 acres, used to be a tea estate, which was on the verge of collapse due to topographical reasons. Given the setting, the aim was to develop something that would give back to the community with minimal impact on its environs. The entire development is a largely low-rise, low-density township with minimum demands on its surroundings. The site has been developed around the concept of clusters -different house types arranged around a central green focal point. The clusters are further linked to form a zone where vehicular and pedestrian movements have been segregated.
Based on detailed GIS studies of the land, a drainage system has been developed to provide for virtual elimination of all stormwater drains using natural slopes. This results in disposal of rainwater without flooding. Natural methods like planting of reed beds and sewage treatment plants will be utilised for the waste water to be reused within the site for horticultural purposes. The cost of the development is about $9 per square metre, an amount significantly lower than the average cost of such developments in India, points out Rastogi.
Pioneer Park in Gurgaon is yet another example. It is a 75-acre mixed use community located on Golf Course Extension Road. It will offer residential living, corporate work environment and will be an entertainment destination. Its environmentally sensitive and sustainable design has been awarded a `Gold Grading' by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests.
All buildings here incorporate green design strategies that maximise energy savings and reduce environmental impact. The landscape uses several additional aspects of sustainability such as indigenous woodlands, green roofs, photovoltaic panels, xeriscaping (a landscaping and gardening technique used to conserve water) and the use of local materials, says Manish Periwal, Chairman and Managing Director, Pioneer Urban.
Is green here for good?
A green building [http://www.zameen-zaidad.com/] typically calls for practices such as energy efficiency and recovery, water recycling and use of environmentfriendly materials in design, operation, construction and maintenance to sustain the environment.
According to the US green building council, savings of up to 30 per cent in energy, 50 per cent in water use, 50 to 90 per cent in waste cost and 35 per cent in carbon savings can be made by shifting to green norms before starting construction.
Low on costs
According to Vidur Bharadwaj, Director, the 3C Company, green townships address national issues like handling of consumer waste, water efficiency and reduction in fossil fuels. Most importantly, a green township can enhance the occupants' well-being and take a step forward in eliminating the threat of global warming.
"What is at present considered a `trend' or termed `green' will become the norm and standard in the near future, and anything that's not ecofriendly and sustainable will probably be prohibited through local bylaws.
"High energy efficiency, health and environmental benefits are standard for all green developments," adds Saacketh Chawla, National Director, Project Management Consulting (PMC), Colliers International India.
It's time the whole world started turning green.
Courtesy:- HT dt:- 08-08-09