Added At: 2012-04-20 10:16 PM
Last Updated At: 2012-04-20 10:16 PM
HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: With vertical expansion on the rise in the valley, concerns about the capital turning into a concrete jungle have also escalated. Keeping this in mind, few developers have begun adopting green technology, where energy efficient techniques and eco-friendly materials are used. The first step for this was taken by Crystal City Developers, which has applied for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certificate from United States Green Building Council.
Senior Architect Bibhuti Man Singh says, “Although developers are gradually growing conscious about eco-friendly construction, they are still not adequately concerned, as a majority of them are profit-driven and lack the determination to adopt green technologies.” Clarifying the reason, he adds, “As the LEED certification process is cumbersome and can take up to five years to acquire, most developers are hesitant to invest their time, energy and expense.”
However, other developers also claim to be putting in efforts for eco-friendly measures. Prakash Bajracharya, managing director of Shangrila Housing Pvt Ltd (SHPL), says, “We are aware of the need for sustainable development, and have tried to follow it in our projects.” Sun City, under SHPL, has allocated 70 per cent of its area for landscapes, besides using energy efficient materials and methods. It has incorporated Sewage Treatment Plant (STP), Water Treatment Plant (WTP), rainwater harvesting, wastewater disposal and solar energy system as well.
Bajracharya explains, “As we have 1,000 apartments within Sun City, the area will be highly populated, with a high amount of water consumption and garbage disposal. To avoid potential hazards, we will install advanced garbage disposal system.” According to Bajracharya, they have also fitted bathrooms and kitchens with water-conserving equipment, which will halve water consumption. Stating that eco-friendly structures are mandatory in present context, Bajracharya says, “Government, stakeholders and the public should cooperate to develop green cities. The biggest responsibility lies with the government, which should reduce custom tax in eco-friendly materials to encourage their use. It can also introduce customised bio-gas systems for housings.”
Constructions that adopt green technology consume up to 30 per cent less energy than
average residences. In a bid to provide customers healthy and energy-efficient homes, housings use initiatives like proper orientation of solar power, effluents treatment system, rainwater harvesting and a viable garbage disposal system. As water is a major cause of despair for Kathmandu dwellers, most efforts are made for its conser-vation. Explaining about possible measures to be adopted for saving water, Prakash Amatya, executive director at Centre for Integrated Urban Development (CIUD), says, “Water woes can
be minimised by adopting wastewater treatment plant and rainwater harvesting. Water can be reused up to three times after adequate treatment, and 80 per cent water demand can be fulfiled through STP and WTP.” Amatya further opines that green building technology is sustainable and one-time investment, which provides long-term comfort. He adds, “Although the government has policies and regulations about it, implement-ation and enforcement are not quite effective. So, it should take initiatives for systematic development by spreading awareness about green technologies and legally binding developers to adopt eco-friendly measures.”
While green building tech-nologies are the best tool to fight global warming, not all of them are being adopted in the country. Explaining the reason, Rajesh Krishna Shrestha, principal architect for The Comfort Housing Pvt Ltd (TCH), says, “We cannot afford all the tech-nologies, as they cost relatively higher than conventional methods.” TCH has been using rain-water harvesting and wastewater disposal along with Photovoltaic Cells Street light, climatic designs and cross ventilation. “We have also started using aerated concrete bricks, which have greater acoustical and insulation value,” informs Shrestha. Mentioning that buildings that have adopted green technologies cost 15 to 20 per cent higher, he maintains, “But the initial cost is worth the returns over the years.” Singh seconds this by saying, “Green technology should be assessed as an investment, and is much more cost-effective if incorporated in the initial planning phase.”
Despite green technology gaining worldwide praise, the challenge in this side of the world are the funds for initial investment, lack of awareness among buyers, tedious and lengthy government procedures and loopholes in implementing rules and regulations. “The government needs to play a proactive role to promo-te this technology by giving subsidies and soft loans to developers and conducting awareness campaigns,” Shrestha suggests.