Back to sustainable architecture

Paying close attention to architecture can significantly decrease pollution levels and improve sustainability, share experts
Back to sustainable architecture

HYDERABAD : Hyderabad is known to be one of the safest and cleanest cities in India. With its modern advancements as well as the IT boom, it has become a major contributor toward the country’s economic activity and the bedrock of Telangana. Although with these advancements, came rapid infrastructural development, at the cost of the city’s environmental sustainability. According to IQAir, a Swiss quality technology company that specialises in protection against airborne pollutants, PM2.5 particle concentration in Hyderabad is currently 5 times the WHO annual air quality guideline value. Although the government has been taking several pollution control measures with respect to vehicular pollution, industrial effluents etc, a lesser spoken issue is that of sustainable architecture and how paying close attention to architecture can significantly decrease pollution levels and improve sustainability.

Principal Architect Sathya Srinivas, founder of ‘The Designers Guild’, spoke to CE regarding this very issue. He says, “Modern sustainable architecture is a western concept and absolutely cannot be applied to the tropical Indian setting.” He goes on further to say, “Indian architecture evolved to match the climatic conditions and the geography of the land where heat dissipation is needed, not the modern heat-trapping glass panels suited in cold western countries. Sustainable architecture was always a part of the Indian ethos. The ‘verandah’ system in place in older Indian households is a simple testament to this. There is an open space central courtyard that is responsible for air circulation throughout the house keeping the house at optimum temperatures.” In the modern day blazing summers, many choose air conditioning as a cooling agent for their homes, but Architect Sathya Srinivas explains how the homes of old indian architecture would possess thicker walls, which would insulate the rooms on the inside, absorbing excessive sunlight keeping the house cool during summers; as well as withstanding severe cold hence keeping the house warm in winters. It seems most electrical appliances pertaining to temperature control would find waste in the old indian houses!

Along with Architect Sathya Srinivas, Architect Suma Awasthi also commented on the sustainable architecture issue. She reinstated the point that “Architecture was meant to serve the geography, not the advent of globalisation.”

They claimed that around 33% of all greenhouse gases in the context are emitted by the building and real estate industry with respect to energy consumption. With just being more careful with our architecture styles, we can ensure greater responsibility in terms of energy consumers and a better and a faster path toward a carbon neutral environment. Hyderabad city is well known for its spacious and culturally significant and unique ‘Deccani’ style of architecture.

The revival of such styles of Indian architecture do not only bring a tang of uniqueness to modern-day properties, but also keep them sustainable and well ventilated avoiding the need and necessity of external gadgets to heat or cool homes during harsh seasonal weather change.

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