World Habitat Day is an occasion to reflect on the state of our towns
and cities and recall our collective responsibility towards sustainable
Population density in cities all over the world has grown in leaps and bounds. Nearly 60% of world's population will live in urban areas within the next two decades. This growth in urban population is accompanied by immense stress on urban resources, making it necessary to use them judiciously. Feeling the trend of this growth, the United Nations highlighted the need to plan our cities in a sustainable manner.
India will also face major stress on infrastructure due to increasing urban sprawl. The number of million-plus cities in the country is expected to increase significantly in the next decade. Unless properly planned and managed, this growth will see a widening rich-poor divide, deteriorating quality of urban services, increased energy use, and environmental pollution. All these call for the inclusion of sustainability at different levels of planning.
To propagate such habitats, both national and state governments are trying to integrate the concept in their policies and planning processes. Cities planned in this manner take care of social, environmental and economic concerns as well as problems arising from their interactions along with the interlinkages between them. In fact the mandate of the National Mission on Sustainable Habitat is to make habitat sustainable through improvements in energy efficiency in buildings, management of solid waste and modal shift to public transport.
TERI has been working in the area of sustainable buildings for a long time and it's initiatives amply demonstrate its experience and expertise in designing sustainable habitats. It has contributed to development of all key codes and standards that regulate and are referred to, in design and development of green buildings and habitats. TERI was member of expert committee constituted to develop the Energy Conservation Building Code of India and was also represented in the expert committee for formulation of the National Building Code of India 2005.
TERI has developed the manual for environmental impact assessment of large construction projects as required by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, GoI. In addition, it has contributed to and reviewed the National Mission on Sustainable Habitats and is also part of the core committee to work on specific components that are being developed under the Mission.
Furthermore, in association with the Bureau of Energy Efficiency TERI is drafting the model building byelaws, that integrates energy efficiency, this being proposed to be integrated with all municipal bye laws in the country.
Another major achievement by TERI has been the drafting of an indigenous green building rating system for India that has been suitably adapted and adopted by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, GoI as national green building rating system.
Over the years, TERI has pioneered several innovations in the field, some of the key ones being the pioneer in implementing building integrated photovoltaic system in its own building the eco-friendly RETREAT (Resource Efficient TERI Retreat for Environmental Awareness and Training) in Gurgaon and incorporating passive energy systems such as earth air tunnel systems, thermal storage systems and solar chimneys in its own buildings. All these technologies are now being successfully replicated.
Slowly, but surely, the concept of Green development for environment friendly sustainable habitats is gaining momentum and it is projected that India can emerge as the global leader in green developments by the year 2015.