Dubaisation’ of Indian cities

An interesting article in the Hindustan Times. For some reason the article is no more available online on the HT website. Here is the cached link on google.

A growing number of buildings with glass-panelled outdoors in India’s metros consume 50 percent more energy for its maintenance and are not environmentally sustainable, according to British and Indian experts.

“‘Dubaisation’ of Indian cities will soon have its impact on the country. The number of glass structures, especially in metro cities, is a matter of great concern as they consume more energy and increase carbon in the environment,” Susan Roaf, a leading ‘sustainable architect’ of Britain, said here on Wednesday.

Roaf, who is also the director of Low Carbon Cities Initiative of Britain, said India must take note of the recent climate change report by the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

“The Indian cities having a population of more than 8 million are going to face the impact of climate change in a major way,” Roaf told the UK-India Symposium on Greening Events and Energy Efficient Cities for a Lasting Legacy.

“India should rely on its conventional architecture and move towards using solar energy in a major way. The number of glossy glass buildings need to be discouraged,” she said.

While warning against the increasingly popular glass and granite structures in Indian cities, David Vincent, technology director of Carbon Trust, London said, India needs to rely more on solar energies.

“There is a 30 percent growth in the use of solar energy in China and India must learn from it. The country must use low carbon and renewable energy technologies while building structures.

“Nearly 75 to 80 percent of the global energy is used in cities and India is no different. We need a code for sustainable houses and make punishment mandatory for violators,” Vincent said.

“Unless we start now to make the transition to a low carbon economy, dangers of climate change would be inevitable,” he added.

Dinesh Mehta, advisor of the Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology, Ahemedabad, said: “Since we get enough sunlight, there is no point turning to glass houses. They consume 50 percent more energy.”

“There is no point spending money on expensive glass boxes and offsetting the heat generated by them using air-conditioners and then running up huge energy bills. The energy we consume to cool these buildings is a matter of concern,” he told IANS.

K T Ravindran, dean of the School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi, said India can afford to have an open-to-sky kind of architecture instead of aping the west and building glass houses blindly.

“Do we need glasshouses? Our emphasis should be on cost-effective, environment-friendly structures. We need structures those will do more human-good and yield long term benefit,” he said.