Where to walk is the ques­tion

Down to Earth - - LETTERS -

This is with ref­er­ence to the ed­i­to­rial, "Roads are meant for walk­ing" (June 1630, 2014). Given that road ac­ci­dents are com­mon in In­dia, I would like to sug­gest a few mea­sures by which ac­ci­dents can be pre­vented. There should be a hefty fine for jump­ing the traf­fic sig­nal. Use of hel­mets and seat belts should be made com­pul­sory in all states. To con­trol ve­hic­u­lar pol­lu­tion, in­cen­tives could be given to com­muters who use cy­cles. How­ever, it is im­por­tant to have a sep­a­rate lane for cy­clists and pedes­tri­ans. CCTV cam­eras should be in­stalled in accident-prone ar­eas. More im­por­tantly, the pro­ce­dure to is­sue driv­ing li­cence should be made rig­or­ous so that only com­pe­tent driv­ers are al­lowed on roads.


The ti­tle of the ed­i­to­rial is mis­lead­ing. Roads are not meant for walk­ing, pave­ments are. The re­al­ity, of course, is dif­fer­ent in In­dia. Pave­ments are shrink­ing in size by the day. Rea­sons are up stalls, ve­hi­cles parked half­way on the pave­ment, in­creased width of roads. Many pave­ments are dot­ted with man­holes and pot­holes. Th­ese pose grave dan­ger dur­ing rains when roads and foot­paths are sub­merged un­der wa­ter. When it comes to roads, the sit­u­a­tion is equally grim. Ac­ci­dents are alarm­ingly high due to care­less­ness and dis­re­gard for rules. Peo­ple have no sense of lane driv­ing in In­dia. Speed lim­its are rarely ad­hered to. Speed break­ers and di­viders, most of which are not marked or are poorly marked, iron­i­cally cause more ac­ci­dents than pre­vent them. Po­lice pa­trolling dur­ing the night and in high­ways is a must. It is time the en­force­ment of traf­fic reg­u­la­tions was taken se­ri­ously by the au­thor­i­ties and civil­ians.


Foot­paths in cities are mostly en­croached upon by shop­keep­ers. This re­stricts space for pedes­tri­ans to com­mute, but no au­thor­ity takes the re­spon­si­bil­ity to evict the shop­keep­ers. Pedes­tri­ans are, thus, forced to nav­i­gate their way through busy roads, in­creas­ing the chances of ac­ci­dents.


Green de­bate

The ar­ti­cle "En­ergy wise, re­source fool­ish" (June 1-15, 2014) discusses the de­sign pa­ram­e­ters of the IPB build­ing project in Delhi. We would like to il­lus­trate the fol­low­ing points based on the ac­tual de­sign oc­cu­pancy of 1,150 peo­ple and var­i­ous es­tab­lished build­ing de­sign ef­fi­ciency cri­te­ria.

The en­ergy load as per the en­ergy pro­duc­tion is 1,260,000 kWh/1,150 peo­ple, i.e. 1,095 kWh/capita/year. This is not com­pa­ra­ble to the en­ergy con­sump­tion per capita fig­ure, 778.71 kWh/capita, which in­cludes all sec­toral res­i­den­tial, com­mer­cial, re­tail and even in­dus­trial, com­pris­ing all elec­tric­ity-con­sum­ing equip­ment. It will be in­ap­pro­pri­ate to com­pare such a mixed num­ber of all sec­toral end uses with con­sump­tion from just one build­ing. That is why the En­ergy Con­ser­va­tion Act talks about En­ergy Per­for­mance In­dex (EPI) of a build­ing for com­par­ing "ap­ples to ap­ples", based on the En­ergy Con­ser­va­tion Build­ing Code. In us­ing the stan­dard­ised method, one no­tices that IPB is not just com­pet­i­tive but ex­ceeds per­for­mance stan­dards in In­dia and abroad.

In ac­cor­dance with the method­ol­ogy de­scribed by the Bureau of En­ergy Ef­fi­ciency (BEE) for its star la­belling pro­gramme (for above or be­low 50 per cent air-con­di­tioned spa­ces), IPB falls in the build­ing cat­e­gory of more than 50 per cent air-con­di­tioned of­fice. There­fore, it is ex­pected to qual­ify to be a five-star com­pli­ant once fully op­er­a­tional.

To­tal wa­ter con­sump­tion for the IPB project, in­clud­ing hor­ti­cul­ture and air- con­di­tion­ing, per capita, is 36.5 litres (42,000 litres/1,150). This is quite ef­fi­cient as com­pared to the value of a con­ven­tional build­ing of 45 litres/capita which usu­ally needs large amounts of ad­di­tional wa­ter per capita. As for rain­wa­ter har­vest­ing, it has been in­cor­po­rated as nat­u­ral per­co­la­tion points as per the ex­ist­ing hy­dro­log­i­cal char­ac­ter and pre­cip­i­ta­tion pat­tern in New Delhi.

In cal­cu­lat­ing land per capita and floor space per capita, the build­ing is de­signed by the Cen­tral Public Works

Depart­ment as per the pre­vail­ing build­ing by­laws to max­imise util­i­sa­tion of land, thus re­duc­ing the eco­log­i­cal foot­print per capita.

Park­ing pro­vi­sions as pro­vided at the IPB build­ing for 344 cars are manda­tory as per ex­ist­ing plan­ning guide­lines and the build­ing can­not be cur­rently built with­out it. But the de­ci­sion to use a Ro­botic Base­ment Park­ing in­stead takes up only 19 square me­tres of space per car in­stead of the usual 35 sq m for con­ven­tional base­ment park­ing. This also en­tails a large re­duc­tion in park­ing vol­ume due to ef­fi­cient stack­ing sys­tem. DEEP­EN­DRA PRASHAD AND NEERAJ KAPOOR Sus­tain­able de­sign con­sul­tants for IPB project

Down To Earth replies:

● The ar­ti­cle has cited the of­fi­cial press re­lease of the Min­istry of En­vi­ron­ment and Forests, dated Fe­bru­ary 25, 2014, which says the build­ing is meant for 600 of­fi­cials. This has been used to cal­cu­late the per of­fi­cial re­source con­sump­tion. This es­ti­mate will change if more up­dated of­fi­cial num­bers are made avail­able.

● The in­fo­graphic com­pares the build­ing's es­ti­mated per capita elec­tric­ity con­sump­tion to the na­tional per capita elec­tric­ity avail­abil­ity to help read­ers grasp the scale of use. This is a stan­dard ap­proach for mak­ing in­dica­tive com­par­i­son. For ex­am­ple, the amount of wa­ter con­sumed in main­tain­ing a golf course ver­sus the to­tal avail­abil­ity of wa­ter for cit­i­zens. About 150 liters of wa­ter should be enough to meet all di­rect and in­di­rect wa­ter needs of an av­er­age per­son, while a golf course may con­sume mul­ti­fold just to pro­vide a few hours of re­cre­ation to a very se­lect pop­u­la­tion.

● Though en­ergy use per square me­tre of built area is a com­mon ap­proach for build­ings, the use of per capita use in build­ings is also gain­ing ground. The US gov­ern­ment's en­ergy star rat­ing for ex­ist­ing com­mer­cial build­ings fac­tors in a build­ing's oc­cu­pancy data in de­cid­ing the fi­nal en­ergy ef­fi­ciency score of the build­ing.

● Ac­cord­ing to the En­ergy Con­ser­va­tion Act, 2001, en­ergy con­sump­tion of build­ings is to be mea­sured and ex­pressed in terms of per square me­tre of the area wherein en­ergy is used and in­cludes the lo­ca­tion of the build­ing. There is no stan­dard for­mula for EPI cal­cu­la­tion. If the Act's def­i­ni­tion of en­ergy per­for­mance is used to de­rive an EPI, then IPB's EPI should be 45 kWh/sq m/year, while by BEE's method IPB's EPI works out to be around 75 kWh/sq m/ year, and the GRIHA method pitches it at 39.28 kWh/ sq m/year.

● It is ac­knowl­edged that ac­cord­ing to BEE's star rat­ing clas­si­fi­ca­tion, the build­ing falls in the cat­e­gory of more than 50 per cent air-con­di­tioned day use of­fice and may qual­ify as five-star com­pli­ant once fully op­er­a­tional. It may be noted that BEE's star rat­ing makes this air con­di­tion­ing-based clas­si­fi­ca­tion only for day use of­fice build­ings. No such dual stan­dards ap­ply to BPOs (with ex­tended work­ing hours) and re­tail malls.

● It is un­der­stood that the build­ing has fol­lowed the cur­rent by­laws of the city. The ar­ti­cle does not fault this as a mis­take but raises a larger ques­tion about the po­ten­tial of adopt­ing sus­tain­abil­ity cri­te­ria to drive in­no­va­tion to min­imise the build­ing's park­ing re­quire­ment and lever­age rain­wa­ter har­vest­ing more ef­fec­tively in this iconic gov­ern­ment build­ing.

Let no morsel go waste

Given the un­pre­dictabil­ity of mon­soon, In­dian agri­cul­ture is on shaky ground ("Pray be­fore you sow", July 1-15, 2014). The fail­ure of mon­soon will lead to loss of pro­duc­tiv­ity and in­fla­tion, cut­ting down of ex­ports and in­creased im­port of food com­modi­ties. We need to avoid over­con­sump­tion and wastage of food. Ev­ery time we waste a morsel, we should think about the hard work put in by our farm­ers.



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