Today, 'Green' has become a fashion statement of sorts. People talk about green buildings without having any real idea what true sustainability is. To a large extent, the LEED green rating system for buildings is very misleading. True it has got its benefits, but the loopholes are many. What is the point of a system where almost all conventional building materials are eligible for green points, thereby ending up as a fancy tag instead of acheiving real change?
The word 'Green' is being routinely abused to such an extent that it is almost a justification. If we are to let this Green movement carry on like this, the issues related to true sustainability will be lost behind all the din.
‘Green is a fashion trend that has been carefully created – a brand image that is deliberately created to exploit & make profits. It is an eyewash – a screen which has been packaged in such a way as to deceive. Products & materials created by large MNCs & corporations have been repackaged & dressed as green, even though their net effect on the environment is negative. It is a kind of soul-balm to deceive our consciousness that what we are doing, though harmful to nature, is being professed as less harmful, which is even certified by organisations & governments.
‘You can use a heat reflective glass with a high ‘U’ value, which will earn you more points’ – we are totally missing the point that the glass will necessitate the usage of air-conditioners, leading to increase in consumption of electricity. Also, we conveniently forget about the amount of energy required to manufacture & transport these so called energy-efficient glasses.
Thus, ‘Green’ has become a marketing gimmick, with the sole aim of increasing the profits of vested interests. Every year Green Building conferences are held in 5star hotels & international convention centres, inviting participants & experts who jet down from different cities to give their ‘expert’ views. They fly, travel in air-conditioned cars, stay in 5 star hotels, drink distilled water and then profess how the environment needs saving. Yet, nobody seems to mind this hypocritical state of affairs. Everyone is happy because money is flowing into their pockets.
‘Green’ has been raped so much that almost all products, irrespective of their energy efficiency and impact on environment, are all labelled ‘Green’. What is more, ignorant clients and people are buying into this madness, trying to justify their guilt consciousness with a ‘Green’ label.
All the while, the market lobbies controlling these products are getting richer and richer, without giving scant regard to the impact of their actions.
The MNCs, due to their aggressive marketing campaigns have created a smoke screen – one which misleads the non-technical people. There are people who due to their lack of technical knowledge, believe that they are investing money so as to be really sustainable, while in effect, they are merely taken for a ride and made to spend more for technologies which are non-sustainable and those which do not contribute in a positive manner to the planet, environment, cultures or people.
Buildings are given the ‘Green’ label, even when they use enormous amounts of reinforcement to structurally hold up the fancy forms and designs, even when during the construction cycle, there is unimaginable wastage of reinforcement, even upto 30%, leading to an enormous impact on the sustainability of the project.
It is high time that we focus back from Green and realign ourselves to real sustainability. Or else, in the greed of the present, we will leave behind a heavy legacy on our future generations.