Thursday, November 18, 2010

Gurgaon gone berserk

When it comes to new buildings Gurgaon, the pride of India Inc., has gone berserk. Berserk, in itself is not a bad thing, but berserk using proven to be unsound, financially, ecologically and carbon creating technologies, that even the developed world is eyeing askance is just plain "herd mentality". In my 8th floor high-rise flat, uninterrupted power is guaranteed. Actually its not uninterrupted- it comes back within a few seconds every time it goes off- ten times a day. How? At exorbitant cost from diesel fuelled generators. Gurgaon where basics like water, sewage, roads get scarcer every year, is sprouting malls and high-rises at a blistering pace. So when I walked into the spanking new T3 terminal at New Delhi airport, my heart did a tailspin. On the one hand it is nice to land in world class looking airport. On the other I wondered how they did it? Is it following my Gurgaon flat model?
The Director of Center for Science and Environment, Ms. Sunita Narain writing on the new T3 Terminal at New Delhi, in Times of India [19.11.2010] writes that the airport symbolises what we are doing wrong. I hope every architect, builder and bank in India reads this article. India must "think sustainable" for its own benefit. Eco-friendly is not just about using CFL lights or more efficient air-conditioners. First, it is about design to consume less to begin with. Second it is about using renewable energy. Technology exists for both and even if at this time the technology is expensive its pay-back for India, where energy costs are highest in the world, is attractive.
Besides the exorbitant cost of running the building (it has its own power station), the building is poorly designed for eco-promoting features like parking for public buses. "It is time we found new temples of modern India, which we can be proud of. Not another shopping mall which we want to pass off as an airport" she closes. I agree. Lets do the math. Lets think for ourselves.

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