Real-estate developers, architects and planners of the city came together on a common platform with US experts and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) on Monday to push for a greener Calcutta.
The stage was a workshop on ‘Green Building’ jointly organised by the United States-Asia Environmental Partnership Program of the American Center and City Developers’ Forum on the American Center premises.
The key speakers at the lively interface were Kath Williams, vice-chair, US Green Building Council (USGBC), and architect Donna McIntire, who provides consultation and technical support to USGBC.
The duo is conducting workshops in major Indian cities to share the basic principles of the ‘green building’ concept like sustainable site selection criteria, water conservation, energy efficiency and renewable energy, recycling and indoor air quality.
McIntire, who designed the Chesapeake Bay Foundation Headquarters, a global model of greener building technologies and development strategies, stressed on the need for conservation and careful reuse of water, since only 2.5 per cent of the world’s total water reserves is fresh water.
“Calcutta is fortunate to be located by a river and should do everything to maximise the river’s resources. Priority number one should be to clean up the river and create enough excitement along its banks to encourage dialogue with residents,” she said.
In her presentation, McIntire explained the parameters of the Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design (LEED) programme, a leading-edge system for design, construction, operation and certification of the world’s greenest buildings, started by USGBC.
City developers and architects stressed the need to customise the LEED guidelines to suit conditions in different climate zones of India. CDF president A.N. Shroff promised to include environment-friendly norms in its code of conduct for member-developers, to carry forward the ‘green building’ drive.
CII, working in tandem with the Andhra Pradesh government and USAID Mission in India to establish a Green Business Center in Hyderabad, has drawn up a plan to address area-specific building issues. “Our Green Building Council is working on modified checklists tailored for different zones, based on the broad guidelines set by LEED,” explained M. Selvarasu, energy counsellor, CII. “We are working closely with CII so that we have a better understanding of the areas in which we can contribute,” observed Williams.