Monthly Archives: April 2014

Dan Phillips: Creative houses from reclaimed stuff

This Video Makes You Realize How Short Life Really Is — It Will Inspire You to Make the Most of It

INDIA: The only country with Legislated (CSR) Corporate Social Responsibility

lion-symbole-national-Inde

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is seen as a smart way to conduct business, making corporate entities into socially responsible citizens, visibly contributing to the social good. Socially responsible companies do not limit themselves to using their resources to engage in activities that increase only profits. They use CSR to integrate economic, environmental and social objectives into the company’s operations and growth. The concept of CSR has evolved over the years, especially in India—now the only country with legislated CSR!

With this new Companies Bill in India, it will hopefully motivate organisations to undertake CSR proactively. Organisations realise that the government here cannot alone uplift society and needs help from businesses. Under this Act, most firms with sizeable business are required to shell out at least two per cent of their three year annual average net profit towards CSR works. According to industry estimates, around 8,000 companies will fall into the remit of the CSR provisions; this would translate into an estimated CSR spend of $1.95 billion to $2.44 billion. Plus, with higher economic growth and increase in company’s profits, this mandatory spending will go up. While many big companies have been actively engaged in CSR activities, the number is low, and this new law will lead to a significant increase in the numbers.

Moreover, the Indian government has made it clear whether promoting healthcare can be considered as a social welfare spending activity by companies. And CSR activities would have to be within India. Livelihood enhancement and rural development projects, working towards protection of national heritage, art and culture, including restoration of buildings and sites of historical importance and works of art, setting up public libraries, promotion and development of traditional arts and handicrafts—all come under CSR.

Various activities aimed at reducing inequalities faced by socially and economically backward groups have been included. Measures for the benefit of armed forces veterans, war widows and their dependents, setting up homes and hostels for women and orphans, setting up of old age homes, day care centres and such other facilities for senior citizens would be considered as CSR work. Other CSR activities include ensuring ecological balance, protection of flora and fauna, animal welfare, agro-forestry, conservation of natural resources and maintaining quality of soil, air and water.

By providing more clarity on standardising the meaning of CSR in the Indian context and providing a favourable policy environment, the initiatives can be strengthened. These definitive steps undertaken by the Indian government imply that if companies employ CSR strategically, it can lead to achieving more sustainable businesses. By creating a pool of resources, whether financial or technical, a win-win situation is within reach of all the stakeholders involved. The mandatory reporting standards introduced in this Companies Bill will strengthen and create uniformity, accountability of actions and will measure the impact of these activities.

GREEN BUILDING: Learning & Locator

Green-Building-Logo

 

What is a Green Building ?

A green building can be defined as any building that is sited, designed, constructed, operated and maintained for the health and well-being of the occupants, while minimizing impact on the environment.

A green building is a structure whose environmental responsibility and resource-efficiency spans its entire
life-cycle. It enables the efficient use of resources, protection of occupant health & improvement of productivity and reduction of waste, pollution & environment degradation.

The aim of a green building design is to

  • Minimize the demand on non-renewable resources
  • Maximize utilization efficiency of these resources when in use
  • Maximize the reuse, recycling and utilization of renewable resources

Why Green Building ?

An extensive amount of energy is consumed to heat and power our buildings. This energy is mainly generated from burning fossil fuels like oil, coal and natural gas that let out huge amounts of Carbon Dioxide (CO2), the most widespread greenhouse gas. There are also other ways in which buildings emit Greenhouse Gases (GHG), like construction debris in landfills generating methane and manufacturing of building materials causing GHG emissions.

In India, the construction sector is growing at a rate of 9%, causing a rapid rise in energy demand in urban areas where buildings alone contribute about 40% of the total GHG emissions. Hence it becomes imperative to reduce the energy use and GHG emissions produced by buildings so that the pace of global climate change has a slowdown.

Energy efficient buildings or green buildings, address the above concerns and save energy by about 40%.

Environmental benefits

  • Enhance and protect biodiversity and ecosystems
  • Improve air and water quality
  • Reduce waste streams
  • Conserve and restore natural resources

Economic benefits

  • Reduce operating costs
  • Create, expand, and shape markets for green product and services
  • Improve occupant productivity
  • Optimize life-cycle economic performance

Social benefits

  • Enhance occupant comfort and health
  • Heighten aesthetic qualities
  • Minimize strain on local infrastructure
  • Improve overall quality of life

LOCATE GREEN BUILDINGS IN INDIA HERE:

Green Building Locator

choose Green Products for green buildings

Green buildings too are constructed using a variety of materials. The only difference being that – The materials come packed with a great deal of energy-efficiency. Therefore, green buildings not only minimize the use of non-renewable resources, but also maximize the reuse, recycling and utilization of renewable resources.

The opportunities to reduce the environmental and health impacts of our homes span from big decisions, like location, to seemingly small decisions, like paint and light bulbs. The products we use to clean, light, furnish, renovate, and build our homes must be a part of the greening process. Reducing our environmental impacts requires thinking and learning about not just how we use products, but where they came from and where they’re going. Consider factors like:

  • Energy used to make, ship, and use a product;
  • The product’s contents and the sources of its raw materials;
  • Emissions during manufacturing the product and the level and type of toxins in the final product; and
  • The product’s durability (lifespan) and recyclability.

These are just some of the impacts a product has on the environment from “cradle to grave” during its “lifecycle.” The five main stages in the lifecycle of a material or product are: raw material acquisition, manufacturing, distribution, use, and end-of-life management. Attributes of a product at different stages of its lifecycle to consider may include:

Waste and materials:

  • Reduced waste
  • Biobased content
  • Recyclable or reusable components
  • Recycled-content

Energy:

  • Energy efficient
  • Low embodied energy
  • Uses renewable energy

Water:

  • Water efficient
  • Water reuse and recycling
  • Responsible stormwater management

Other environmental & health impacts:

  • Enhanced indoor environmental quality
  • Reduced environmental impact over the lifecycle
  • Reduced or eliminated toxic substances
  • Sustainable development, smart growth

Recycled-Content Building Materials

Buying recycled-content materials helps ensure that the materials collected in recycling programs will be used again in the manufacture of new products. Examples of construction materials that can be readily found with recycled content include:

  • Drywall (many utilize recycled paper and post-industrial gypsum)
  • Insulation (including cellulose, mineral wool, fiberglass, and recycled cotton insulation)
  • Plastic lumber
  • Kitchen countertops
  • Glass tiles
  • Landscaping materials
  • Carpet and carpet padding
  • Steel