Monthly Archives: May 2013

Eco-photo contest

Eco-photo contest

An interesting photography contest. Last day for registration is 29th May.. so hurry up!

India chilling out?

India chilling out?

Figures based on McKinsey report

The precious pitter-patter

rainboyWe are sensitive about sharing a river. We gregariously welcome home water-tankers. We are the lifestyle-conscious Bangaloreans, who understand the water problem of this ever-expanding city like never before. But are we being tunnel-visioned in meeting our immediate water requirements and not looking at the dire dry future?

Here’s a fact. The average water consumption of a Bangalorean per day is 140 litres. The overall supply of water from the Cauvery as well as ground water sources to the city is at 1023 million litres/day (MLD). The total demand for water in Bangalore is 1342 MLD. That means 319 MLD less than the requirement or over 22 lakh people without their average quota of water.

The sudden realization is that you are one among the two million and that’s not a small number to get out of. So, how do we tackle this?

Here’s another fact. Despite a regulation from the governing authorities to set-up rainwater harvesting systems, many Bangaloreans are still ignorant about it.

We may not have abundant ground-water, but we have good god-sent monsoons. Let’s collect the rain. It’s a simple solution to a serious problem. Just like the lesson we taught the kids to put a bucket under a leaking tap; a lesson to save water and to replenish it. The rainwater harvesting system is a one-time set-up that may cost around Rs.40K for a 60X40 site/house. On a rainy day, this would accumulate 54K litres! You can save a part of this and let the rest to percolate and replenish the ground-water. This, against the cost of water-tankers at Rs.3000 for a month, is very economical. Plus, it consumes no electricity. What’s more? A water-sustained future for you and the city.

Rain rain, come again. People here are in vain.

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New Fund, Old problems by Dr. Chandrashekar Hariharan

18PP_GREEN_1460100fA new German fund for green buildings won’t achieve much unless there is strong support from builders and banks, says Chandrashekar Hariharan

About two years ago, Germany and India met to see how the former could help our country with energy-efficient construction. Industry leaders and experts were invited to share ideas.

They came up with a simple plan. Germany would refinance up to about Rs. 350 crore under a pilot project. India’s National Housing Bank (NHB) would offer the fund to a few home finance companies that were willing to transfer the benefit of concessional interest to homebuyers who chose to buy energy-efficient homes from green certified projects.

In the first week of May, the Country Head of KFW (Germany’s second largest development bank) and the CEO of NHB met again to enrol stakeholders from among Indian builders and bankers who could take this ahead. KFW is clear that it wants speedy reactions from NHB in distributing the funds. It is now nearly 18 months since over 60 per cent of the KFW fund was transferred to NHB and there has been no refinance sanctioned yet.

First, the good news. India is already the fastest growing green building market in the world. By 2020, it will also be the largest. The CII’s Indian Green Building Council has created an ecosystem of green homes with its IGBC rating system. The number of such buildings has reached 700 million sq. ft, representing about 720 projects and half a million homes. The government’s GRIHA rating system has been significant as well. At less than 50 million sq. ft, it has gained enough critical mass to be able to touch billion sq. ft in the next three-five years.

The bad news is that builders are still diffident at having to spend an additional 5-7 per cent of project cost to achieve energy efficiency. The additional cost is thanks largely to the industry’s own ignorance of new trends in technology in managing energy, water and waste. Both demand-side management and supply-side solutions are needed right from design down to servicing these needs.

In fact, residential buildings are going green much faster than commercial buildings, despite the latter’s head start, and despite a commercial building’s water requirement being at least 10 times lower than that of a residential complex. For commercial buildings, the biggest energy guzzler is air-conditioning at 60 per cent of energy bills, and they need to show much more initiative to control this.

The Rs. 350 crore KFW-NHB fund cannot reach more than roughly 700 homes, if we assume Rs. 50 lakh as the average price per home. This year can be the turning point for such concessional home finance but the initiative must be backed by other government efforts such as rebates on municipal taxes and stamp duty concessions for green buildings.

It will also require a large ecosystem of architects, service consultants, and green building auditors to monitor systems and processes. This requires countrywide training courses. The scenario over the next four years will, therefore, be one of conscious effort to culture a business environment that pushes all builders into becoming green. Once it becomes a default benchmark, incentives and other supports will get naturally dismantled.

Rainwater harvesting? What’s that?

getimageEven After Many Deadlines To Make It Mandatory, Residents Of Some Areas Think RWH Is A New Concept Many Prefer To Buy Tanker Water Rather Than Install The System.

Bangalore: Deadlines would have come and gone. Still many Bangaloreans are clueless about rainwater harvesting (RWH), though it is compulsory to have it in most residential plots, with conservation of water being the buzzword.

With supply of Cauvery river water to the city from KRS dam threatening to be reduced to a trickle soon, and no alternatives visible in the long-term, there is a sense of urgency to adopt rainwater harvesting. But residents of Bangalore are sparing little thought to it, and are instead paying through their nose to buy private tanker water and cribbing about it later.

Asked why she has not installed RWH, Mukhteshwari J, homemaker from Rajarajeshwarinagar, said: “I have not heard about it. It seems to be a fairly new concept. How do we do it and is there any rule which compels us to make arrangements?”  When TOI reporter explained the concept, she replied: “We have to get hold of plumbers, undertake works for days to set up a sump and fit additional pipes to collect rainwater from the rooftop. Who has the time to monitor all this?”

Usha Srinath candidly admitted that it is easy to dial an agency to get a watertanker and spend Rs 3,000 a month than build a sump and store rainwater. “I require water tankers every three days. I don’t have the infrastructure to store rainwater like a sump or a tank on my roof or in the garden. All I have to do is dial up the tanker agent and he will get me water anytime of the day,” she told TOI.

Dasarahalli, Peenya, HRBR Layout, KR Puram and W h i t e f i e l d are becoming deserts of sorts with  most people not getting piped water supply and borewells, the only source of water, drying up. Here too there is an apathetic attitude towards installing RWH among the residents who are either very poor or belong to upper middle class.

“I haven’t yet thought of installing RWH in my house because the consumption is very little. I live with my ailing father and a servant but who will help me find the right person and ensure that I am not charged more than the market rate?” said Reshma Kaur, senior citizen from Borewell Road in Whitefield. (Inputs from Kinnari, Sanjana Vasudevan and Deepika Burli)

Pilgrim flow to Kudala Sangama takes a big hit

The other side of the water crisis in Bagalkot district is that tourist inflow has been hit. This is because pilgrims visiting Kudala Sangama seem to be having second thought, thanks to the severe drought and both Krishna and Malaprabha rivers drying up. Pilgrims who come to pray at the Aikya Mantapa or the holy Samadhi of Basavanna, the 12th century revolutionary saint, take a holy dip in the rivers. But in the past 15 days, the number of tourists has decreased from 1,000 to 700. However, the Kudala Sangama Development Authority has made arrangements to supply water through tankers.

Fountains at Brindavan too become a casualty

Planning to visit Brindavan Gardens? Here is a dampener. The beautiful fountains have gone dry because of low water level in the Krishnaraja Sagar (KRS). Officials of Cauvery Niravari Nigam Limited say that about 20 fountains on the south bank have stopped functioning. But those on the north bank, including the famous musical fountain, are still working. They too will cease to function once the water level plummets to below the 50 ft mark, says an official. This is because most fountains work depending on the water pressure in the dam. The next on the hit list could be the boating facility.

VEG or NON Veg…….

18jun08g

65 billion land animals are reared for food every year to feed 6.5 billion of us. We breed them for meats. They take up food, land, water, energy, and pollute the environment.

They feed on 80 per cent of all corn and 40 per cent of the world’s food grains—only to be slaughtered. As human numbers rise, we need to reduce livestock to avoid large-scale hunger. That’ll be a reality 50 years from now.

Meat is energy-intensive. With the energy needed to produce a single hamburger, you could drive a small car 20 miles. Adopting a plant-based diet actually does more to reduce emissions than driving a hybrid car!

Meat requires more land, water, fertilizer, pesticides, refrigeration, transport and energy than would be used if we simply ate plant foods directly! It needs 20 times more land to feed a non-vegetarian compared to a vegetarian.

Think about it. It ain’t so difficult to go without meats.

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