‘Resource-efficient construction means using less material resources to build or renovate or retrofit buildings and infrastructures without compromising on functionality. Whether for a make-over of a building or a new construction, if the constructed area is lesser than the site allotted then the land resources left can be put into innovative use like making a kitchen-garden or a lawn. In this way, there will be lesser consumption of energy and lesser addition to the sprawl and we can help our planet face two of its gravest problems – environmental degradation and ever greater human needs’, says Kamal Meattle, CEO, Paharpur Business Centre & Software Technology Incubator Park, India
A Resourceful building is not just an edifice.
It is a process that is environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout its life cycle.
The responsibility and efficiency of a building are determined from sites to design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation and demolition. The buildings with high efficiency rate are termed as ‘Resource-Efficient buildings’. This kind of construction tenders a systematic approach towards a sustainable construction. This is not the end. It goes beyond zero energy, zero emissions, and zero carbon footprints to look at the bigger picture – how can the stock of existing building be used in a better way and how can new buildings be built in a more resource-efficient way; ie: with less resource-intensive materials, new techniques, new technologies, and more. It takes intensive turns and a system-wide approach that takes a closer look at the materials and energy flows over the life-cycle of a building. Eventually, resource-efficient construction means using less material resources to build or renovate or retrofit buildings and infrastructures without compromising on functionality.
The process begins with a site investigation and a comprehensive client interview. With the cooperation and a close operation of the design team, the architects, engineers, and the client at all stages of development the objective has to be met: planning and designing the buildings in a way that it makes the best use of resources available and justify their efficiency while reducing the overall impact on the health and environment. Whether for a make-over of a building or a new construction, if the constructed area is lesser than the site allotted then the land resources left can be put into innovative use like making a kitchen-garden or a lawn. In this way, there will be lesser consumption of energy and lesser addition to the sprawl.
A resourceful or resource-efficient building ensures high longevity. For this, it has to be ensured that the building is efficient in site and structure; is energy and materials efficient and has water efficiency. Site and design efficiency affects the cost in a major proportion. An approach to every building varies and accordingly the design and their impacts. Resource-efficient building leads to lower material costs. A huge portion is expected to come from retrofitting the buildings. Products like doors, cabinets, glass and metal can be salvaged and reused. One can cut the cost significantly by using salvaged materials and their quality is high. Using local materials controls the transportation and environmental costs. Resource-efficient building projects a contribution to a major shift in the construction industry – towards a higher echelon of retrofit and modernization.
Resource-light construction is a system that refers directly to the perfect use of construction materials and building techniques, providing the most efficient response to specific needs in a built object.
Eco-materials are less polluting than the alternative ones which marks gains made in the production process and the substitution of resource-intensive raw materials. As the push for green innovation continues, several minds have begun to boggle themselves for bringing recycled materials in to use. Manufacturers can find recycled materials in three ways: by availing of post-consumer materials; by collecting the waste material from industrial process and by recycling the scraps internally. Many construction materials are available in recycled form as well.
The construction sector is the largest consumer of raw materials. The activities like construction and demolition accounts for about 35percent of waste generated annually. Pre-fabricated, modular components produced in a factory has a higher level of precision and the opportunity to better minimize and re-use wastes.
A tendency to use water that is collected, used, purified and re-used should be encouraged. In such a scenario, harvesting rain-water is highly preferable. At the same time, it should be taken care that the water collected or used is treated well on a regular basis as this assures good quality of water; hence good health. By using products like sensor taps, LED lights, half-flush, one can reduce the consumption. One of the best ideas would be on-site generation and or use of renewable energy through solar power, wind power, hydro power which further reduces energy costs.
Building a resource-efficient structure is like building a self-sufficient structure that boosts green economy. Every aspect of building a resource-efficient structure is integrated into the operations and the maintenance phase of a building’s life. However, it depends on the building choices made. A resourceful building addresses the sustainability of a building.