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8th February – Editorials/Opinions Analyses


  1. The high cost of Raising trade walls
  2. Test of green buildings lie in optimising resource and energy use


  • Finance Minister in her Budget speech said that, imports under Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) are on the rise.
  • Undue claims of FTA benefits have posed threat to domestic industry.
  • Such imports require stringent checks,” adding that the government will ensure that all FTAs “are aligned to the conscious direction of our policy”.
  • The case of the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) being negotiated with Australia,
  • FTA’s with Australia, UK, EU, USA are on the way for 2020.
  • While the absence of a TA with any country does not mean that trade will not grow, other changes in the world trading order may become significant hindrances when added to this present scenario.
  • The decline of multilateralism, accelerated by retrenchment of the U.S. and China’s intransigence have all meant the World Trade Organization (WTO) has lost steam as a world arbiter.

Rise of regional agreements

It is clear that most of the world is now divided into regional FTAs, including the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) for North America, the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR for its Spanish initials) for South America, the EU, the Eurasian Economic Union (Russia and neighbours), the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) FTA in West Asia, and now the biggest of them all, RCEP, which minus India, represents a third of the world’s population and just under a third of its GDP.


  • ‘Green’ and ‘Sustainable construction’ have evolved from a fringe movement to achieving mainstream status
  • The ‘Green’ industry has turned the ideology from being ‘a way of life’ to a mere marketing tool
  • There is no doubt that buildings contribute to over 40 per cent of all carbon emissions in the world and therefore, must be green to be sustainable
  • The biggest challenge we are faced with today is to find a model of sustainable urbanism, architecture, and design
  • The built environment is one of the largest consumers of energy
  • The Indian attitude towards green building has inherently been different from the western model of green building which is equipment centric
  • With the oil boom and cheap energy availability there was an evolution of equipment-centric hermetically sealed buildings
  • Today the problem has been further compounded by non-localized green rating systems which although aim to provide better environments, but the methodology adopted by these systems is equipment centric, restricted and highly prescriptive
  • Thus Non-recognition of the varying climatic zones and the prescribed narrow definition of human comfort level ranging between only a few degrees delinked from the external environment.
  • A green development or building can be defined as one which depletes as little of the natural resources during its construction and operation
  • The contemporary Indian architecture should aim to reduce the load on the environment in its construction strategy (assembly), material resource utilisation (transportation), spatial allocation (area optimisation), energy consumption and therefore increasingly rely on natural environmental resources and renewables such as daylighting, ventilation, passive methods of cooling, water recycling and access to nature.
  • An effective way is to take a socio- contextual approach that assimilates the learnings of our past with cutting edge modern technology.
  • Optimisation of all resources is a pre-requisite to responsible architecture today
  • The most effective approach is to build with local materials in a manner that responds to the climatic needs of the region while remaining economically viable
  • The green rated materials available today, further reduce the embodied energy of the finished product.
  • By closed loop recycling, conserving natural resources, elimination of products with bio-accumulative toxins and minimizing waste to landfill, we can significantly reduce carbon footprint of our built environment.
  • Buildings shouldn’t be just energy efficient during the operational phase, but from concept to completion and to the entire lifecycle of a building
February 2024