In recent years, many people have started making changes that are geared towards making the world a better place. However, while we choose greener alternatives indoors, it is also important to choose a greener route to traditional masonry.
Buildings construction contributes 40% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Given its large impact, it is important to understand that the scope for creating a more sustainable construction sector is quite immense and the use of environment-friendly building materials is a major part of the change. Choosing the right materials can truly take us a long way, in attaining green building initiatives. Furthermore, this sector has experienced a significant worldwide effect in the evolution of local development. With big brands enforcing green building certification, becoming green is no longer a choice but a necessity.
Green building implementation
It is important to understand that green buildings cannot be implemented in parts. For the best result, the journey must be incorporated from the start, in every aspect of the construction. This is true for all types of construction projects, whether residential, commercial, or industrial.
The Green Building Council, which has been active in India for over two decades, has also supported the movement towards making the country’s architecture more sustainable. India’s growing interest in this transformation is evident by the fact that the country had 24.81 million gross sq metres of LEED-certified space at the end of 2018.
See also: All about green buildings in India
While we look at the holistic picture, the products used in the process also play a massive role in green building. Taking forward new building technology and materials, as opposed to traditional brick and mortar, can take us a long way in this endeavour.
Gypsum and its use in sustainable construction
For example, gypsum, which is used to make gypsum wallboards and ceiling boards, generally known as drywalls, are commonly used to improve the interiors of both, residential and commercial structures. The material’s several advantages – it is fire-resistant, cost-effective and can be employed in a variety of shapes – make it effective for utilisation. In addition, drywall materials are lightweight, which make it easier for handling and installation. These can be removed and installed easily and can be cut into the desired shapes and sizes, making it a versatile product for use.
Having said that, drywalls are also known as one of the most sustainable alternatives with properties like minimum water usage (offering 99% saving of water), lesser turnaround time, etc. The product is made up of recycled materials and contributes to LEED, IGBC and GRIHA rating points.
Gypsum material also allows builders and architects to fulfil green construction targets related to transportation, manufacture and recycling, because of its low carbon footprint and high availability. With gypsum products, the effort is taken further by also looking after occupant comfort through the wide range of products such as plasterboard and tiles. These products also offer better acoustics for the ultimate comfort of the consumers.
Green architecture and auditing
Furthermore, the practice of sharing Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) with customers should be imbibed by brands, as well. The declaration is made in compliance with international standards and is third-party verified, ensuring accuracy and reliability of the data.
Green architecture is also designed to persist without the need for continual maintenance or refurbishment and to work in harmony with the environment. Thus, by focusing on green buildings we intentionally take the first step towards a greener and more efficient lifestyle.
Keeping these factors into account, today, sustainable construction is an attainable reality rather than a dream. Going green is completely possible, with the right choices to take us a long way in the endeavour. While we enjoy the personal benefits of the effort, we cannot ignore the massive benefit it has for the world at large. Thus, green buildings are an essential reality we have to adapt to, going forward.
(The writer is vice-president, sales and marketing, at Saint-Gobain India Pvt Ltd – Gyproc)