Constructing a green neighbourhood

Vidhya

VidhyaVidhya Tapadia is an architect of our neighbourhood for whom sustainable low impact design and execution is the dominant driving force. After graduating in Architecture from Pune, she has been a practising architect for over a decade and her firm – Axiom Design offers services in architecture and interior design.
“Minimalism and sustainability forms the core of our design ethics”, she avers. In a tete a tete with the VW Team Vidhya elaborated on what it means to be green and sustainable in design and construction.
As a member of the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC), a Certification and Green Rating body, Vidhya stresses that being green needs a holistic approach. Merely reducing FAR or planting trees on the site is not necessarily being green if the structure itself has inordinately high material and energy inputs.
She went on to elaborate that the process starts right from the site selection. Any construction changes the ecosystem of the area – both the visible as well as the oft forgotten subterranean environment. It is, therefore, the architect’s responsibility to reduce the impact.
Besides the aspects like design, use of alternate energy options, rainwater harvesting, etc., which are the more obvious and visible options, one needs to delve deeper into areas like debris/rubble reduction and disposal, tile wastage reduction, use of local material to bolster local economy and reduce transportation energy use and such other non-visible factors.
Vidhya explains that the even the now popular actions like implementing rain-water harvesting needs to be studied holistically. Is the run off actually carrying more pollutants created by human lifestyle into catchment areas and harming its aquatic ecosystem? Is recharge of ground water more suitable or is capture of rainwater for reuse more appropriate for that particular site?
Vidhya further elaborates that the while the idea of being green and sustainable starts with site selection, but thereafter, it should also incorporate aspects like energy and atmosphere which includes use of natural light and cross ventilation, reduction of light pollution and providing good indoor air quality, eco-friendly fittings made using green technology and low energy consumption, use of CFC- free air conditioners, exterior and interior finishes without toxic solvents, use of local material and the host of other small details that go towards adding to being meaningfully green.
Vidhya also cautions that the endeavour to be green cannot compromise on safety of design and appropriate material use. The pros and cons of each aspect has to be studied to arrive at the most viable options for comfort, health aspects, weather proofing and durability.
For Vidhya Tapadia, being green and minimalistic can be both beautiful and sustainable.
She can be contacted on Tel: 0832-2558246 or email her at vidhya.tapadia@gmail.com