Orientation Workshop on Agenda for Sustainable Buildings in Chandigarh

11 December 2012, Chandigarh

  • The Orientation Workshop on Agenda for Sustainable Buildings in Punjab was organized by Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) with PEDA (Punjab Energy Development Agency) in hotel Shivalikview in Chandigarh on 11 December 2012. 

  • The half day workshop was attended by over 60 stakeholders from various concerned government departments, academic institutions, green building experts, architects, civil society representatives and media. It was extremely well received and appreciated by the participants.

  • Giving the welcome address Mr. T.P.S. Sidhu, IAS, chief executive officer-PEDA, spoke about sustainable buildings and application of renewable forms of energy as the need of the hour. According to him even though PEDA has undertaken a number of projects in this regard a lot of work still needs to be done.

  • He was followed by a presentation by Ms. Anumita Roychowdhury, executive director- research & advocacy in CSE. CSE’s presentation provided an overview of issues concerning urbanization, building construction and energy use with a special focus on developmental challenges in these sectors in Punjab. She highlighted the fact that the India has still to build 70 per cent of its building stock which will be there in 2030 as compared to UK which has already built 80 per cent of their building stock forecasted present in 2050. Pointing out that we have great opportunity to develop differently and be more sustainable. CSE also stressed upon the need for selecting and using the right kind of building materials and techniques suited for Indian conditions and to be careful about following the market trends.

Mr. Karan A. Singh, IAS, principal secretary to government of Punjab, department of science & technology, environment and non-conventional energy, the chief guest of the event, took the discussion further in his inaugural address. In his talk Mr. Singh mentioned that considerable work is required from the concerned professionals before starting work on a building. It is not an easy task as there is considerable lack of awareness amongst the stakeholders. Hopefully this workshop will start the process of ironing out road blocks to sustainable buildings.

In the workshop’s technical session Ar. Archana Chaudhary, joint secretary, Indian Institute of Architect (IIA), Chandigarh/Punjab chapter shared the final draft of Punjab Energy Conservation Building Code (PECBC). Her presentation highlighted the key modifications made in the ECBC’s version for PECBC. The Punjab code has included big housing project under its ambit since they are major energy consumers and omitting will not help achieve aim of energy conservation. Punjab is over 38 per cent power deficit therefore making energy conservation an urgent reform. The draft PECBC has been written by IIA and PEDA along with other concerned departments in Punjab and is now in the public domain for comments.

Mr. Deependra Prashad, Principal Architect Deependra Prashad, Architects & Planners (DPAP), Delhi talked about the need for promoting greener and sustainable buildings. He highlighted innovations and concepts used in several green projects across the country to achieve high performance. Mr. Prashad stressed on the need to change the perspective on energy efficiency, wherein per capita energy consumption also needs to be measured along with per unit area energy consumption of building. According to him, if the present lifestyles are not sustainable, green building will not be sustainable.

Mr. Anurag Bajpai, director Green Tree Building Energy Consultant, Delhi followed up with a detailed presentation on the Energy Conservation Building Code (ECBC). He shared the key features, requirements of the code and demonstrated its application through the online tools Eco-Nirman to stimulate energy performance of a building design.

Following this a panel of esteemed green building experts and practioners presented various perspectives on the issue. Mr. Balour Singh, director PEDA stressed on standalone roof top solar systems and need for agencies and professionals to take the lead in adopting the renewable energy and energy efficient measure to achieve the goal of net zero building. Mr. Ramandeep Singh, assistant architect with Punjab’s chief architect’s office stressed on the use of local materials and vernacular techniques in the new constructions. Mr. Siddarth Wig, principal architect, The Elements based in Panchkula shared his experiences on the growing demand for greener buildings amongst his clients. ‘10 yrs ago it took us 6 months to convince our client to incorporate green features. But now people are coming to us asking for green buildings, this is a remarkable change in awareness and attitude’, said Wig. Dr. Sangeeta Bagga, assistant professor at the Chandigarh College of Architecture added capacity building should be a priority and the subject of sustainability should be introduced at the high school level. Mr. Surinder Bagha, chairman IIA Chandigarh-Punjab chapter, mentioned that both architects and engineers are crucial for urban development and sustainable buildings in Punjab. Role of architects cannot be undermined and in the past architects involvement has resulted in long term benefits since provide holistic perspective not limited to simple mechanics.

Mr. Karan Singh concluded the workshop acknowledging that the road ahead is not easy. He stated that his own perspective on the issue of green building has changed during the course of the workshop. The presentations and discussions thereafter cleared the air on several concepts and aspects regarding green buildings, materials etc. He acknowledged that Punjab is at ground zero of the learning curve and similar stakeholders meetings should be held to understand individual issues in greater detail. 

After presenting the summary of the workshop proceedings Mr. Singh enlisted few crucial steps for rolling out a roadmap for future engagements and action. 

  • Active participation of architects both from the government and private sector on issues related to sustainable buildings.

  • Selection and study of ECBC compliant and green buildings in Punjab to understand the features, building materials, construction techniques etc. A study of these buildings vis a vis conventional buildings would be useful in understanding the financial differential. Further these buildings could serve as better examples for further construction of sustainable buildings in Punjab. Work has already been initiated in this regard after the workshop.

  • PEDA has been requested to collaborate with the Chandigarh College of Architecture on studies of local materials and technologies and enlisting the solutions suited to the region.

  • Need for devising a system of incentives to promote local people, architects, builders/developers to build greener buildings. 

  • Representatives from the Haryana Renewable Energy Development Agency (HAREDA) approached the CSE team to do a similar workshop in Haryana. HAREDA is the state designated agency for the state of Haryana.