The condition of the environment today is a major concern for humanity. Pollution has caused great harm to the our natural environment, so much so that it is now imperative for us to get away from our wasteful and carefree existence to a more sustainable way of life. It is our liberal use of energy that we are faced with a situation today, where ozone depletion, global warming, acid rain and other such damaging phenomena are causing grave concern around the globe.
Energy consumption is a major contributor to the cause of environmental pollution. The burning of conventional fuels, generally fossil fuels, in vehicles and for power generation is the single most environmentally harmful activity. A switch to environmentally friendly fuels is the only long-term solution to this problem. The building industry is very power-hungry, and consequently contributes a lot to pollution. A more climatic approach towards architecture and building coupled with the use of alternate systems of energy will certainly reduce energy consumption in buildings and resultant damage to the environment.
The level of environmental awareness in India is abysmally low, even in the larger Metropolitan cities. Government efforts in this field have, to date, concentrated on and are limited to marketing of alternate energy systems and popularising their use by providing subsidies for the installation of these systems. Research into the production of cost-effective and flexible alternate energy systems which can be easily integrated into the structure are negligible, in fact, absent in the country. The introduction of such flexible and easy-to-maintain systems will go a long way in spreading their use among the masses as well as professionals in the field. At the same time awareness about the use of climatic principles of architecture and their utility in reducing energy consumption and consequently cost, has to be increased. Today, such research is carried out in different institutes across the country without any co-ordination between them, in either research efforts or their efforts towards spreading mass awareness.
A centre where such research efforts are co-ordinated and all required information about energy saving methods and available alternate systems of energy can be gathered at one place is the need of the hour. The Research centre is proposed as a centre dedicated to the development of an integrated energy conscious approach to architecture at the same time carrying out valuable research in the field of alternate energy systems for use especially in the building industry. The Centre would also provide assistance to architects and engineers with detailed and complete information in energy saving design. For this purpose the Research centre is proposed to contain a Building Design centre which would provide consultancy services to professionals. The need for progress in the field of efficient Solar Photovoltaics is enormous in India as we are still stuck with polycrystalline silicon cells while better and more efficient technologies like gallium arsenide, cadmium sulphide, etc. have been developed abroad. The non-flexible nature of photovoltaic cells is the main hurdle in their use in the building industry. The development of thin-film cells will give a boost to the integration of photovoltaics in the design of the building. this would be a major area of thrust in the Research centre. Along with this, the centre would also work for the dissemination of energy related information, practical applications for available technology and also endeavour to co-ordinate between research organisations, corporate sector, N.G.O.ís working in the field and the Government. It would, thus, be a centre where concerned professionals can get all the required information regarding greener architecture.