Green Home Building and Sustainable Architecture

Sustainable architecture is an exciting and important field, with many people reviving traditional methods of building and others creating innovations to established practices. Kelly Hart, webmaster of the popular website www.greenhomebuilding.com, posts text and photos featuring what he discovers from around the world.

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Location: Crestone, Colorado, United States

Kelly Hart has been involved with green building concepts for much of his life. He has also worked in various fields of communication media, including still photography, cinematography, animation, video production and now website development. Kelly has lived in an earthbag/papercrete home that he built and consults about sustainable building design.

August 12, 2005

Sustainable Housing Relief

In recent months I have had the opportunity to engage in many conversations with Dr. Owen Geiger of the Geiger Research Institute of Sustainable Building (www.grisb.org), and mostly we have talked about ways to create inexpensive, durable homes for people around the globe who are in need of shelter. This has been sparked by the obvious need of victims of the Tsunami in SE Asia to rebuild their lives with adequate homes.

Many of the solutions that have either been proposed or implemented for this purpose have been too expensive, too technological in nature, too impermanent, or culturally inappropriate. Especially in flood-prone areas, we have focused on the use of earthbags filled with locally available materials as the primary building block. These can withstand the onslaught of wind, water, and earthquakes without deteriorating, are inexpensive and simple to construct, and can be used to fashion many different styles of buildings.

Owen has pulled together a team of specialists (architects, engineers, educatiors, etc.) who are willing to help put these ideas into practicle designs that can be built wherever needed. I am proud to be one of these team members. We are currently working on a simple manual that is primarily visual to help convey the steps required for building with earthbags.

I have been in contact with the coordinator of Peace Corpse volunteers in El Salvador, and may be going there to conduct a workshop on this method of building. Owen plans to take his expertise to SE Asia soon, and is looking forward to engaging in hands-on projects in that region. Our motive is to introduce these ideas in places where they can be implemented and then carried on by the locals after we leave. I am sure that I will be posting more about all of this as time goes on.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

www.vernarch.com
Center for vernacular Architecture>Bangalore>India>www.vernarch.com

The Centre for Vernacular Architecture is a Co-operative of building craft persons established in 1989. A non-profit organization, the Centre has been designing and executing turnkey, various vernacular architectural projects in South India. Vernacular Architecture is a little known and little explored field that is concerned with Architectural building traditions/practices that are cost effective, ecologically sensible and culturally relevant. Building on the work of practioners like Laurie Baker and Hassan Fathy, our architectural practice promotes the use of locally available materials, traditional building techniques, culturally and climatically relevant building design.

7:42 PM  
Blogger Shaguf said...

India's Renewable Energy Sector and Green Energy Index Unaffected by Global Economic Slowdown

November 21, Bangalore: The global slowdown can be a tempting excuse for most to put ecological concerns on the furlough. But India is moving purposefully towards sustainable development, understanding the fierce urgency for economically sound, socially equitable and environmentally responsible progress.

At a time when renewables comprise just 11.5% of energy source in the United States, India stands tall with renewables accounting for 32% of total electricity generation capacity. Even China and Japan trail behind India at 21 and 20 per cent respectively. Recent reports suggest the share of renewables in the Indian electricity basket is expected to rise to 15 per cent by 2030 from less than five per cent currently.

For developing countries like India, the global slowdown is an avenue for replacing archaic infrastructures and upgrading and building transportation, communication, energy and water systems in a sustainable manner. "The flip side of the coin is the enormous economic, social and environmental benefits likely to arise from combating climate change and re-investing in natural infrastructure - benefits ranging from new green jobs in clean tech and clean energy businesses up to ones in sustainable agriculture and conservation-based enterprises," says UNEP Executive Director, Achim Steiner, in a bid to offer up a sustainable solution for the current global crisis.

Former U.S. Vice President and Nobel Peace Laureate Al Gore agrees. In a recent article in the New York Times, Al Gore is quoted as saying, "The bold steps that are needed to solve the climate crisis are exactly the same steps that ought to be taken in order to solve the economic crisis and the energy security crisis". And India is listening.

The massive opportunity India offers to deploy finance and technologies to create clean energy products and services, which can leapfrog those employed in Western countries, has not gone unnoticed by the investor and business community and the government, says Dilip Thomas, Steering Committee Member/Program Chair & CEO of Saltmarch Media, the organizers of Green Energy Summit ( http://www.greenenergysummit.com/ ), India’s first and biggest forum for Green Energy, Clean Technology and Renewable Energy stakeholders.

The Indian state of Karnataka, for instance, has set itself a target of generating 5,450 Mw of renewable energy resources in the state by 2012 and 11700 Mw by 2018. K Jairaj, Principal Secretary of the State's Energy Department, and a member of the Green Energy Summit organizing team, has said plans are on to unveil a new renewable energy policy in early 2009, to boost energy production and consumption in the state. Jairaj says the policy aims at creating appropriate channels to collaborate with industry, supporting innovative technology, production and services, providing decentralised energy supply to agriculture, industry and households, strengthening the grid system and creating SEZs to promote renewable energy.

The oft-repeated statement that subsidy-dependent Renewable Energy Technologies (RETs) are not sustainable for the long term have lessened. Tulsi R Tanti, chairman and managing director, Suzlon Energy, recently noted that innovation and technology are rapidly reducing development costs. Two years ago Suzlon was producing power [wind] at Rs. 5 per Kwh. In 2008 the cost has come down to Rs 3.5 per Kwh and it is set to come down by another rupee if the rate of progress continues.

Barack Obama's election as the president of the United States is also expected to give a fillip to India's renewable energy plans. The 44th US President believes the US should be involved in partnerships with developing countries, such as India and China, to provide funding and access to intellectual property that they need and desire. The President-elect understands that tackling the global challenge of climate change requires US leadership, and has reconfirmed his campaign promise to invest $15 billion a year in low-carbon energy, including solar, wind, nuclear and next-generation biofuels.

India has many RE laurels to its credit, says Dr. Arcot Ramachandran, chairperson of Green Energy Summit 2009 and Former UN Under Secretary General. It has the world’s largest decentralized solar energy program, ranks second in the global renewable energy “Attractiveness Index” poll, operates the world’s 2nd largest biogas program, ranks 4th as a global 'Wind Super Power' and fifth in the world in terms of exploitable hydro electricity generation.

With the Indian market heating up while others worlwide freeze over, be seen, be heard and be noticed in India's first summit completely focused on what going green can do for you and your organisation. Green Energy Summit 2009 is a world-class forum for varied stakeholders from solar, wind, biomass, IT, transport, biofuels, construction, aviation, nanotechnology and biotechnology to make their presence felt and attract attention that matters. The summit will be held March 3-7 2009 in Bangalore, India.

GES 2009 is supported by Govt. of India (DST), MNRE, WCRE, IREDA, BEE, Govt. of Karnataka and several other governmental and bi-lateral agencies. Confirmed speakers include Jairam Ramesh (Minister of State for Commerce and Industry and Minister of State for Power, Government of India), Dr. R K Pachauri, Dr. Hermann Scheer (President, World Council for Renewable Energy (WCRE) and EUROSOLAR), Dr. Jamshed J. Irani (Director, TATA Sons Limited), Pramod Deo (Chairperson, Central Electricity Regulatory Commission), Dr. Dan Arvizu (Director, NREL), Michael T. Eckhart (President, ACORE), H.E. Clini Corrado (Director General, Ministry for the Environment Land and Sea, Italy and Chair, Global Bioenergy Partnership), Christopher Flavin (President, World Watch Institute), Marianne Osterkorn (REEEP - Director General), Mohamed El Ashry (Chairman REN21), Dr. Yogi Goswami (Former President, ISES) and Thomas B. Johansson (Director, IIIEE & Co-recipient, Nobel Peace Prize, 2007).

For further information on GES 2009, please visit the summit on the web http://www.greenenergysummit.com/

A Saltmarch Media Press Release
E: info@greenenergysummit.com
Ph: +91 80 4005 1000

11:24 PM  

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