Friday, June 28, 2013

Are Green Homes in India only for the Elitist?

Someone asked this question during a wonderful Q & A session with Dr. Chandrashekar-Hariharan, Executive chairman, BCIL Zed Homes, on the future of green homes in India.  The written transcript of the interview on "IBN Live" is here but I'd like to reproduce part of his answer to the question whether going green is a fashion statement.

He doesn't deny that is the general perception in India and then lets us know how and why that perception should change. It is obviously in his interest - he builds and sells green homes - to say so but I believe what he has to say about it being in our own interest to go green.

Human activities put gases like carbon monoxide, carbon-,sulpur-, nitrogen-dioxide into our atmosphere. Besides breathing them in we ingest them through our food chain because they have seeped into our soil and waters. Green Homes not only help us save on our bills, they also help us reduce the production of these gases.

[For articles on why these gases are deadly dangerous and what exactly they do to our health and medical bills please visit my page,  "Fumes We Breathe In Besides Oxygen". The same articles are on the "Green Dream Foundation, India" blog.]

And now, over to Dr. C-H

"... we are going green in OUR OWN interest. We must go green because it enhances our security on energy and water; because it saves us money on energy and water bills. We pay today nearly Rs 130 to Rs 180 per thousand liters when we import water by tankers! And this cost will only rise. We have to get smart on the demand for fresh water and energy. We have to reduce -- if not altogether eliminate -- our dependence on the city civic infrastructure for energy, water and waste. We must go on-grid with local solar/wind solutions for powering our homes and offices. The cost is very attractive today, and the savings are immense. We must stop exporting all waste from our apartment and office blocks, even from our individual homes. We must stop relying on the Govt water supply boards for fresh water. We must avoid making deep borewells, and work on shallow aquifers with water and watershed management systems that ensure water availability in open wells, like in our grandfather's home. Yes, there will be challenges at the extreme specific levels of a building in your personal context. That can be easily overcome with inputs from professionals who have domain expertise."

Here's the link to the rest of the interview again and it is absolutely worth a read. Questions are from ordinary Indians.

Finally, to end on a positive note, here's good news for our air, our soil and our waters. It is an innovation known as "Bloombox". It is just a tiny little box which has (to date) a small carbon footprint and has been sold to huge companies like Google, Ebay and others. This little box produces electricity and is the brainchild of K.R.Shridhar. His customers seem to be very satisfied with the bloombox claiming their regular electricity grids are at least four times more expensive. Go, KR.


  1. If you ask me for my honest opinion, green is just a misconception in India. We talk green, but don't do any thing towards that (at least 90% or people are unaware or ignorant). And the green villages or houses - with less than Rs 100/- per day income of the family (at least 30% people) how do we expect green?

    Nice article and eye opening one.

    1. These are legitimate questions and I have no answers re the poor. Would they be able to help themselves and each other if they got together? I don't know.

      Even ordinary people have this misconception that going green is only for the rich and that flats in green buildings are more expensive - that is why this interview on IBNLive from an expert is so informative and worth promoting.

  2. The point is that people should be made aware of the fact that going green is good for their children and generations to come and KayEm, you are doing a nice job. Thanks

    1. Thanks a lot for that vote of confidence, Vijay. I guess when I write about the environment it is as much to convince and remind myself to change my lifestyle as others. Humans, including myself, hate that kind of change and will use any excuse to maintain the status quo. But take growing our own veges or walking more and driving less for short distances - they've both turned out to be very rewarding experiences.