Roundtable on ‘Alternative walling assemblies in mass housing’ with a focus on energy and environment

Venue: Telangana, Hyderabad
Date: February 28, 2019

The Sustainable Buildings and Habitat team organized a roundtable workshop on ‘Alternative walling assemblies in mass housing’ in Telangana, Hyderabad. 43 experts comprising of alternative material and technology providers, representatives from Telangana State Housing Corporation, ECBC Telangana chapter, IIT Hyderabad, Jawaharlal Nehru Architecture and Fine Arts University, GITAM School of Architecture, Indian Institute of Architects were convened.

More housing stock is being planned and developed by states as they move towards achieving the target set under the PMAY. At the same time, the government of India has notified Energy Conservation Building Code for Residential buildings (ECBC R) which requires strong compliance from the states. The workshop engaged key stakeholders in the affordable housing sector anddeliberated discussions on alternative walling assemblies that are available in the country and their potential for use in mass housing to provide energy efficient housing stock.

The other critical area of discussion explored the potential to combine alternative materials and better building designs to provide energy efficient and thermally comfortable buildings in different climatic zones of India.Telangana, the youngest state in India, has primarily been using new alternative materials and technologies to speed up construction under its affordable housing scheme.

Multiple alternative material and technology providers from across India provided key insights into their products: energy performance, speed of construction, current market presence, costing, barriers faced in recognition in building standards and challenges in mainstreaming their products. Another key thrust of the workshop explored the adequacy of the presentState housing policies and methodologies of implementation to keep housing affordable for all.

The panel - Ms. Anumita Roychowdhury, Executive Director and Mr. Rajneesh Sareen, Programme Director, Sustainable Buildings and Habitat Programme  (CSE), Dr. M. Madhavan, (Professor, IIT Hyderabad), Dr. V. Prabhu, (Advisor Mass Housing to Telangana Govt.), Dr. S. Eshwaraiah (Chief Engineer at EPTRI) - and ECBC experts reviewed and discussed these technologies and materials' ability to provide thermal comfort and reduce energy use in the upcoming residential housing stock. 

The Sustainable Buildings and Habitat team also presented a scoping paper on Telangana's affordable housing scheme and performance of the housing stock on the thermal comfort and energy efficiency standards suggested in ECBC-R and National Building Code.

The roundtable was concluded by Prof. Madhavan from IIT Hyderabad, by pointing out some important research areas for the future like shifting from wet based construction to dry based construction (prefabricated elements etc.),improvement in recyclability of the walling assembliesand their individual components. He also expressed that health and safety requirements of construction workers must become a priority for construction guidelines and must be adhered to.

In future, theteam will work with the Telangana Housing Corporation to scale up production and absorption of alternative walling assemblies and combine interventions in building design and layout to reduce energy use.