Monday, October 11, 2010

Eco Housing mhanaje kay re Bhau ?



Now days the terms Global Warming & Eco Housing /Eco Friendly are so popular that right from the school kids to senior citizens all seems to use them frequently. It’s good on one hand as it shows awareness of the society about the issues but on other hand the matter ends there only. Like The famous Parijat tree in Satybhama’s home which is in possession of her but the flowers uses to fall in the premise of Rukmini, every one wants it but for others cost. No one cares whether it’s applicable for their own residence & it’s a fact! Rarely do I come across a customer who has keenly interested in checking the norms of Eco housing while buying the home & has made that as a 1st agenda. Mostly location, rate amenities, name of the developer, internal specifications such as tiles, otta etc & general amenities is what the buyer is interested in.

Mostly the Environment is last on agenda though there are a few who do ask some questions but that’s just to show that they are aware about it & never as sole intrest.But then the major reason is are we really aware about the Eco Housing? The general questions are Rainwater Harvesting is there or not? Solar are we providing? That’s it! Though nobody protests if we are not doing it, may it be mandatory! More important is while getting possession hardly a few really goes & check that whether the developer has provided such things & how they functions! With such enthusiasm of the customer it’s but natural that the service provider i.e. the developer too isn’t much interested at this front. As like in any business in our country here too the R & D here is market driven. I ain't commenting on right or wrong but that’s how situation is in real estate. There are exceptions who keeps on trying on there own but the percentage isn’t enough is a fact.

Now what’s actually an Eco Housing is? Frankly Eco Housing isn’t just something tailor-made which you can wear & start moving around, eco housing is a life style which one has to cultivate by oneself & do the things pertaining to the same. Frankly speaking any building which is erected on n open plot is bound to cause some damage to environment as the open plot absorbs rain water ,gives place for some trees or shrubs, becomes habitat for species even like rats or worms while a building demands electricity, needs excavation of the earth disturbing habitats. Then there comes people who needs water, generates garbage, and brings vehicles in causing fuel burning & air pollution, so many things which an open land would have never demanded. But we can’t stop building houses as they are also need of the society. So now what’s our job is to balance the building construction & the damage its construction as well utilization cause. This balancing act is the approach towards the Environment around & more strong & result oriented it is, we call it as Eco friendly!

Agreed we can’t do all the things totally in tune with nature or else we would have been back in cave age or living on trees but lets know what’s in our capacity is, so we can zero down on the target. On larger perspective Eco Housing is categorically can be divided in two parts, first is infrastructure & second is utilizing the infrastructure. For e.g. however the person staying in wants to save energy but there is no provision for solar water heating then I will be helpless & on other hand if the developer has provided solar water heater but I am not chaining by bathing habitats, like taking baths at evening & using all solar water then again in morning I will be using electric heaters for others bathing. When we say utilizing natural resources then we have to use them in accordance with nature only.

While speaking about infrastructure, this comes under the developer if we are considering buying a home from a developer. Here we can categorize the home in 6 very basic things & they are Energy Conservation, Water Conservation, Solid waste or Garbage disposal, Eco Friendly material use, Green Cover & Social aspect. Here one needs to check up the home as well the developer on these criteria. May be all aspects can’t be accumulated in one projects but at least has the developer thought of them is what I will look for. The subject is too much of depth & each category can be discussed at length which we will be doing in subsequent meetings through this forum. Will give you just one example to elaborate when we say social aspect what we are looking for? See as I mentioned Eco Housing isn’t the term which you can restrict to your own project, it has to cross the boundaries of the terms like me & mine! Have your developer does something which goes beyond these terms? Has he contributed something for the society on the Environment front? It may not be necessary that he himself has sponsored some cultural events or has a brand ambassador in form of a celebrity or gives full page advertises in paper boosting his envo approach but it surely will count that if he has been a cause behind surviving even 10 trees! This he can do by supporting an NGO in the locality around your project. By having a home with such developer you are indirectly joining hands with him on environment front. Ask his staff about such activities the group have participated in past, visit his past project, talk to the residents there & see that whether he has really been keeping an eye for eco housing. Understand what he is giving for the project & then only make your decision & then only you can call yourself also eco friendly!

The part 2 comes in as the role of customer after possession of such project. Many a times I have observed that the eco friendly facilities like solar or effluent treatment plant or even the bore well are out of use as the residents. See that the trees which have been planted grow properly as well you should think of planting new trees also! For am a system for proper use of the amenities like central solar water heaters & also to control the use of electric energy for common lightings is putting half lights of in common areas during late night hours. You can take lead in greening the areas around the complex also. See that the common areas like open spaces are used for festive purposes but not becomes the cause of pollution as in many societies celebration means late night loud speakers. Make the rules which will benefit the environment like banning or minimizing use of fire crackers within society premise! See that the plumbing lines are periodically checked to avoid the wastage of water. And instruments like level controllers for water tanks must be in condition & maintenance contract should be made with professional agencies for the same.

When we say we live in Eco Homes our attitude as well behavior also should be in tune with the same or the famous Marathi fraze it will happen “ Bolachich Kadhi an bolachach bhat”!

Sanjay Deshpande

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Sanjay