The sharp curve on Greams Road often makes several commuters stop and stare at a large building with foliage shooting out of concrete limbs. The structure, MRF’s iconic `breathing building’, was designed by celebrated architect Charles Correa and stands as a prototype for a `green building’ whose engineering is sustainable and ecofriendly. A whole industry today, fuelled by global trends and national projects like smart cities, wants to create such designs. And this is good news for students of architecture and civil engineering.
Sustainable engineering today is not limited to rainwater harvesting units and roof-top solar cells, it includes studying the mechanics of light and GO wind movement, underGR standing how water and solid waste can be treated and reused, and devising solutions to help buildings cut down on heating and cooling to conserve energy.
Industry experts say it is necessary to integrate numerous architecture and civil engineering graduates into sustainable building practices. Reading the signs, institutions offering undergraduate courses have already included futuristic and experimental research ranging from construction of toilets out of waste (IIT-Madras) to laying smart roads (Anna University).
At Loyola Institute of Technology (DMI), this year, 15% of all civil engineering projects have been on sustainable construction.Sujatha Jamuna Anand, the institute’s principal, said they plan to consolidate several engineering electives and give students the option to learn more about sustain able buildings. “Our students have come up with solutions like using plastic bottles as construction material, using them to design slabs and footpaths. There are ideas to use non-biodegradable items as well,” she says.
IITs too are playing an instrumental role in setting the trend.The recently established IIT Ropar which will be moving to a new campus has already been certified by accreditation agency Griha as a five-star green building. This is a rare distinction conferred on structures that have key aspects demanded by a green building -starting from smart design, to reusable materials, energywater efficiency, optimising size and surroundings, light and wind circulation.
Deepak Kashyap, head of civil engineering at IIT Ropar, says the institute is com ing out with new green engineering trends every year. “There’s focus on re using construction material from demolished buildings. This will cut a lot of cost and help use resources judiciously. This is very much in vogue among researchers at the moment,” he says.
Sustainable or `green’ development is in demand because of fast depleting natural resources, says C N Raghavendran, president of the Indian Green Buildings Council (IGBC), Chennai Chapter. Raghavendran, who is actively pushing the case of green construction, says the phenomenon is rapidly picking up across the country .
“From 20,000sqft a few decades ago, presently India has 4.5 billion sqft of registered…