From the standpoint of human endeavor, urbanization is inevitable. It is vital for one to review and optimize the densities and energy required to make a workable city; incorporating the aspect of sustainability in the process of planning itself. One needs to utilize an integrated approach towards developing a strategic plan for designing buildings that contribute towards reducing the depletion of vital natural resources.
Using integrated planning tools and philosophies such as BIM, sanction data from various sources can be assimilated for analysis. It allows a real-time interface between various agencies and planners. It is crucial that each building is united into the city plan such that the human facilities for living, working and entertainment are interlinked. The concept of Urban Commute is probably the single largest contributor to urban chaos, poor quality of life, and wasted energy. Once integrated building planning begins to contribute to a 24/7 city, the diversity of usage, as well as a need for land is bound to reduce. Reducing urban sprawl and allowing the proximity of living and working spaces will, in turn, reduce the dependence on fuel burn, improve quality of life, and the environment.
Just as FAR values are prescribed based on the master plan, an ‘energy master plan’ should place limits on the amount of energy each building can draw from the grid. Construction technology, especially waterproofing must be implemented, and rooftop greening must be mandated for every new building to allow for local produce. It has an added benefit of controlling rainwater dissipation and building insulation. Deployment of solar geometry in the analysis of facades will reduce solar heat gain in buildings. One can also utilize carbon fibre and glass fibre reinforced polymer elements instead of steel and aluminium for railings, steps, light poles, and many others.
Making buildings airtight and improving insulation will enable reduced equipment sizing in the heating and cooling of buildings. This incremental reduction in energy usage will provide a larger population to be served, without making additional demands on the existing energy grids. Intelligent linking of sales of `packaged goods’ will allow for a prediction on waste generation and the pickup and recycling of waste. For instance, if all packaged products such as milk/flour/biscuits/bread and others can have information available on the package for the amount of waste generation, it can be mapped at the supermarket and the prediction of waste generation for each household can also be mapped through the payment gateway link. This data can then directly be uploaded to the municipal waste management agency. Once the agency has this data, they can also predict the recyclable value, as well as other waste generation expected from a locality, thereby making mitigation plans for pick-up, recycling, and waste management.
Non- biodegradable and rigid packaging such as oil cans should be mandated to be designed, so they can be interlocked. By filling waste into discarded cans and interlocking them, a readymade solution using waste can be made available to development agencies for usages like tank bunds, road & rail landfill edges, preparation of sub-grades for walkways, and several others.