The Need for Eco-Friendly Buildings in Pakistan
Pakistan is amidst one of the worst energy crises in its history which causes public unrest and slows down its economic activity. Exponential growth of population along with climatic change, natural disasters and the global energy crisis lead to alarming concerns about the future of the energy supply in Pakistan. Currently, the power shortage exceeds 6000MW and it is exacerbated by the excessive reliance on furnace oil.
After decades of reckless usage of non-renewable energy resources and creating havoc in form of global warming, acid rain and pollution, we have embarked on the mission to curtail the voracious appetite of the limited energy resources to reduce the negative impacts.
“Green Building” and Its Benefits
“Sustainability” and “green” have become symbolic terms for environmentally responsible behavior. The contribution of the construction industry to this trend is called “Green Building”. Green building is both the concept and the practice of using environmentally-responsible and resource-efficient processes, starting from sustainable architecture to operation, maintenance, renovation and deconstruction. Green building reduces wastage and demolition debris, improves indoor air quality and provides a healthier environment.
In Pakistan, homes account for roughly 50% of the electricity consumed for domestic purposes such as heating, cooling and lighting, which is still derived from non-renewable resources. Hence homebuilders have a significant role in helping our society to address energy-related concerns. Green buildings employ solar strategies in bulbs and lights, wind energy, roof ponds, rainwater harvesting and cool roofs which will go a long way in reducing energy used for lighting and comforting purposes. An energy-efficient home is also an attractive option for the home-owners as it saves money by reducing utility bills, provides better insulation and double pane windows make for a quieter and cooler home.
Potential of Green Building in Pakistan
The journey towards this sustainable construction started in 2005. After an earthquake of 7,8-magnitude on Richter scale hit Northern Pakistan, the government has been involved in the speedy construction of these communities without depleting the critical resources of the country. These deploy mud walls and strong bamboo roofs. According to data mined by Lamudi, an online real estate portal in Pakistan, this trend has also recently caught up in the newly developed Phase 5 & 6 of D.H.A. and Bahria Town.
Pakistan has tremendous potential for developing its renewable energy resources as it has more than 300 days of sunlight in a year, a huge capacity of producing wind energy along the Makran Coastline. As an agricultural country it can efficiently use cow-dung to produce energy. If these renewable energy resources are used along with other green building methods, it would substantially reduce energy use. The costs of the green building construction is about the same as the current construction practices, however, the government needs to educate people and encourage energy reduction in the form of incentives and rebates to those who use these practices. Some people are proactive regarding this and have launched a Pakistan Green Building Council and now it high time the rest of the population jolts up and take over the energy shortages, which are hobbling our economy!