Our ancestors knew the art of sustainable building which was never at cross-purposes with nature. Our ancient and traditional buildings stand testimony to this.
We have lived through ages without electricity but have never felt the acute need for air-conditioning or central heating because astute building practices took care of such needs. A premium was laid on natural ventilation and lighting which constituted to sustainable buildings which fulfilled the requirements.
Urbanisation and industrialisation coupled with an ever growing population robbed the discretion of city planners who let apartment and skyscrapers rub shoulders across the skyline of cities.
There was an indiscriminate use of space leading to poor plumbing and sanitary facilities leaving little or no room for natural lighting and ventilation.
This problem was overcome by using electric lights, fans, coolers et al which in turn has made electricity pricey (pun intended)!
Now it is time to curtail the use of electricity wherever possible and ensure that we do not exploit our natural resources at the cost of causing irreversible damage to our planet.
The crème de la crème of the Indian building society has decided to join hands with UMC-I and work on a feasible level playing ground to enable a reliable system which will take care of a self-sufficient future once it is implemented effectively.
UMC-I is a set of recommendations to all those who are involved in the design, engineering, construction, installation, operation, maintenance and manufacturing of heating ventilation, air-conditioning, systems, incinerators and other miscellaneous heat-producing appliances.
They have come out with a comprehensive publication pertaining to Mechanical & HVAC-R domain. This manual runs into 400 pages and offers step-by-step guidance on sustainable residential and commercial buildings published by IAPMO (International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials-India) India.
The UMC-I (Uniform Mechanical Code-India) could not have been introduced in India at a better time. It hopes to influence both old and new buildings and also the ones in the pipeline to adopt this user-friendly code which will encourage heating and cooling to become more customised and also eco-friendly.
The IAPMO is exploring possibilities of tying up with Indian universities and individual colleges to update budding architects and civil engineers on the latest development.
They have also planned one day workshops to familiarise electricians and technicians who actually carry out installations and repairs so that the agenda of UMC reaches the user of these devices.
It is high time builders, architects, designers, community planners, and real estate developers strive to construct green buildings which will conserve water and electricity besides recycling waste wherever possible.
This measure will not only provide healthy living spaces but will not burn a hole in the pocket. Most of all it would ease our conscience from being guilty about being responsible for global warming.