Training on ‘Planning and Designing for climate resilient built environment'

The habitat team conducted a training by the name of ‘Planning and Designing for climate resilient built environment’ from 6th to 9th of December 2022 at AAETI. Mr. Rajneesh Sareen kicked off the training by explaining the participants about the big threat of climate change and the adverse effects it is bound to have on cities including the vulnerabilities facing urban areas. Ms. Mitashi followed this up by introducing several initiatives taken by India involving cities to combat climate change. She presented the key features of India's Long-Term Low-Carbon Development Strategy and concluded the session with several opportunities to bend the growth trajectory towards climate-sensitive development. Mr. Sugeet in his session ‘Thermal comfort: Key to resilience’ spoke about CSE’s extensive research on the topic of thermal comfort. He emphasized how thermal comfort as a measure for judging the thermal performance of a building entails more equity specially for naturally ventilated affordable housing. The day ended with a session by Dr. Kshama Gupta, Scientist/Engineer at Indian Institute of Remote Sensing-Dehradun where she talked about how Geospatial driven modelling as a tool is used for characterization of urban built form and microclimate.

Mr. Rajneesh began day two with a series of topics associated with resource efficiency followed by a session on how green infrastructure and landscaping will play a crucial role in mitigating effects of extreme weather events. In order to physically demonstrate these features, the participants were taken for a walking tour of AAETI in order to demonstrate its green features with special emphasis on the mechanical low-energy-consuming cooling systems present in the campus. The next half began with Dr. Nimish Gupta introducing GIS based modelling to identify urban heat spots for the city of Mumbai and how the changes in terms of urban geometry, form and blue and green infrastructure have contributed towards it. In the next session, Mitashi explained the various indicators and parameters that contribute to urban heat through an ongoing pilot in Pune. She shared evidence on the relationship of urban geometry and other parameters with heat with the participants. The last session of the day was taken by Shivani from the water team on Building resilience in Urban Areas with Water Sensitive Urban Design and Planning which was supported by case examples of turning policy into practice in Indian scenario.

Day three began with Ms. Mitashi discussing how access to physical and social infrastructure is also a determinant of sustainability and liveability of people in cities. This was followed by a session by Ms. Moushumi Mohanty from the Clean Air & Sustainable Mobility on electric vehicles, their advantages and challenges that lie ahead in their mainstreaming. Mr. Sugeet followed this by introducing participants to various district cooling and non-refrigerant based cooling technologies being applied in the country. Both these technologies are mentioned in the India cooling action with respect to their benefits of less energy and resource consumption. CSE is currently conducting case studies of such systems across India which were presented to participants. The next few sessions were dedicated towards optimising the third skin (building envelope and micro-climate) by understanding thermal comfort and building physics in detail. In the evening participants were introduced to an exercise in which they had to come up with strategies to mitigate urban heat island effect while also respecting the site topography that was provided to them.

On the last day, participants were introduced to Eco-Niwas Samhita code which is India’s energy efficiency-thermal comfort code for residential sector. The participants were introduced to the calculations that are involved in making a housing project adhere to Eco Niwas Samhita. This was followed by Mr. Harikrishna’s lecture where participants were presented with CSE’s latest research on self-built housing, where CSE documented natural material construction technologies in rural West Bengal and Odisha and the reasons for the transition from these technologies to ‘concretization’. In the end, the various groups presented their exercises to the rest of the audiences which resulted in a healthy debate about how the elements can be used towards creation of resilient built environment.