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Green Construction

Greener Construction:
Everyone has a role to play

Hari Srinivas
Policy Analysis Series E-034. June 2015.

Making buildings and the construction process sustainable and environmentally friendly is a complex process that needs different inputs and skills/expertise from different stakeholders. These stakeholders can include mayors and urban managers, government officials (as developers and as regulators), architects, planners, builders, and developers). Taking different actions at different stages of the life cycle of a building, architects, planners, civil engineers, developers, surveyors, suppliers everyone has a role to play.

Some examples of these roles include:

  • Providing opportunities for incorporating sustainability.
  • Controlling those conditions and situations that may lead to unsustainability.
  • Educating the people and groups they interact with on sustainability principles.
  • Programming their projects and work plans to clearly include sustainability.
  • Legislating for sustainability, particularly at the local level, with codes, rules and regulations, procedural requirements etc.
  • Maintaining a strong commitment to sustainability through development and management systems.
  • Financing projects and companies that have a good record in incorporating sustainability.
For the local government: Much of the local government’s influence in the push towards sustainable building is in governance: rules and regulations, issuance of building permits, and as a major builder itself, demonstrating its greeness by building sustainably, having a green purchasing strategy, working with companies that have ISO14001 rating etc.
For architects and planners: Architects, designers and engineers have a fundamental role to play in achieving sustainability in the building and construction sector, and a large number of other stakeholders as an extension – building material suppliers, engineering and technology companies etc. Their decisions and choices affect not only the immediate fabric of the building, but also long-term issues with the use of the building.
For building users: Ultimately, it is the decisions and choices made, and the ethics/values espoused by the user of the building on a daily basis – how to save electricity, reduce waste, use less water, procure recycled goods – that cumulatively helps in a sustainable building achieving its goals.
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