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  • Reji Benoy

Green Design and Green Living

Green Living, It was made clear in today’s discussion, that to achieve green living individual initiatives need to be taken. We should find ways that suit our locality to follow an eco-friendly lifestyle and not follow the western model. One should start to make their own homes greener. But in the present scenario, we can see that one blames his/her neighbour for whatever is happening around one’s home.

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Each individual values their social status more than anything and about 20% of the world’s population uses about 80% of the world’s resources. They think, having an apartment in the heart of the city is considered a symbol of higher status. The lives in such flats are miserable. I got to experience a similar life during my college days. All I used to see when I opened the main door were the blank walls and the narrow corridors connecting other flats. I could see the doors to the individual apartments and duct doors on the corridor walls. There was nothing unique about the design, and it wasn’t satisfying either.

In rooms and toilets, all I could smell were cigarettes butts whereas, in my village, I could smell the flowers during autumn and the wet soil during rainy seasons. I hardly used to go out of my apartment during those days. Well my case, I think I was better compared to families living in such flats because I was a student and I could hang out with my friends. I had seen kids from the flats going to schools; they were taken in vans and auto-rickshaws. It was a painful sight because it looked like cattle were being taken to slaughterhouses. I reminisced my school days when I walked back home 4 km every day with friends. We used to stop at small shops for buying candies and other stuff.

We may be able to go back or reverse the time. All the good moments of the past only remain as memories. The eco-friendly lifestyle we used to have in villages and towns in the past is non-existent now. What remains for us or what our older generation has left for us, is ‘knowledge’ that has been passed down through the years and that could still be given to our future generations. To lead a greener life we could use this knowledge or techniques. Example: The traditional/vernacular architecture, agriculture, cooking, etc.

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It was apparent in the discussion that the lifestyle of the present generation has to be changed drastically. The attitude of each individual has to be changed or by the time our next generation comes, there will be a huge energy depletion and each individual will have to fight for their survival and the fittest will only survive. We should learn from the past. In the case of green design, we could study the traditional design aspects, building materials, architectural elements (why they are used?) etc., and try to apply them in our everyday lives.

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In our research, we got to look into all these aspects and compare them with the other techniques to decide which one is more energy-efficient, economical and sustainable. In certain cases, the modern materials/construction techniques might be better than the traditional methods. So, I think one should study all the aspects of both the materials/building techniques. The study has to be done in such a way that it justifies one’s statement. The research has to be done in all aspects of life, from the lifestyle of an individual to other diverse factors affecting green living on a wider scale, from individual dwellings to urban conglomerations.

What I will do?

I choose to do a case study on a housing project in Stockholm called “Hammarby Sjostad”. I will study and understand why it is different or unique from other similar projects. It will be helpful if I make a strategy of the key green design aspects used in this project. Knowing the challenges faced by the architects during this project will also make this topic more interesting to pursue. I have also planned to do a case study on various other projects, that speak about green living and the measures required to achieve it.

-Reji Benoy

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