The world has been watching keenly the events and outcome of COP21 that concluded recently in Paris, France. Attended by 195 countries what made the conference historical is that for the first time world leaders didn’t shy away from the elephant in the room – Climate Change. Instead, they got together and agreed on the universal goals of slashing carbon emissions and reducing global temperature by 2 degrees by the end of the century (PDF-540KB).

For citizens of the world, this is good news. But how countries will work out the plan in practice now needs to be seen. Developing nations that can’t afford to slow down their growth will have to devise sustainable ways to achieve their growth targets. Countries like India will face pressure to reduce emissions by moving toward renewable energy and sustainable growth.

One of the most important sectors discussed at COP21 was construction and real estate. The importance of sustainable and green buildings was emphasised on Building Day at the conference. The sector accounts for a large proportion of emissions. In 2010 alone, buildings were responsible for as much as 32% (PDF-486 KB) of the total global final energy use.

It is therefore becoming increasing important to be conscious of the carbon footprint of our constructions and move towards eco-friendly architecture. India which is projected to be among the world’s top countries for the construction industry in a decade will need to change its building strategy.

Certifying buildings for sustainability can be one important tool to motivate builders to adopt environmentally friendly practices. The use of resources and their possible impact on our environment can be assessed to rate green buildings. Leadership in Energy and Design, one of the most widely used Green Building Certification Programs around the globe is a good example of such a rating. From one’s roof to plumbing, builders today have a wide array of greener options.

Palmex India, a synthetic thatched roof from Canada is one such innovative and eco-friendly architecture option now available in India. It not only provides a water-resistant and fireproof roof, but lasts for over 20 years. Its minimal maintenance and long life ensures very little use of resources. When it is time to replace it, the Palmex India synthetic thatched roof is 100% recyclable giving it a LEED rating that Indian builders can take advantage of. Thatch architecture in itself allows for buildings to be much cooler reducing energy consumption.

Adopting measures such as green roofs along with water conservation and other sustainable practices will mean that our progress doesn't have to cost the earth. So while the Paris deal is the first step in a long road to a greener future, it’s crucial that sustainable choices are made on the ground as well. Countries have much work to do in the coming years to keep their commitments. But what’s heartening is that it’s a step in the right direction.

By Elizabeth Raj | Blogger- Arsha Consulting

Image courtesy: Wikimedia

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