Speaking of architecture and materiality doesn’t join the conversation is the most unlikely scenario. The Decor Journal India which is a digital media house organized the Green Building Summit on 13th May 2022 talking about the significance of green building construction and designing with the finest minds from the industry. And, as said materials are an integral part of building design, a panel of speakers manufacturing different construction materials was seen discussing the evolution of the material industry and where it’s headed.
Evolution is a gradual process in any particular field and so is experienced in the material industry. Companies are devising materials and techniques that provide a safe and aesthetic built-form. Be it any type of material, ample options from a multitude of brands are available to fulfill one’s requirement. But, has the scale of availability met the scale of consumption in India? That is a question that still needs to be answered.
For instance, if a client is getting a residential project constructed, the material palette is most likely to constitute materials that are readily available and cheaper comparatively. If materials that need to be specially manufactured or transported from a different place or a sustainable variant that might cost more, then these are rarely chosen as a priority. The consumer is conscious of the initial costs and is not aware of the long-term benefits and savings.
As Ms. Bhavana Bindra – Managing Director- REHAU South Asia who participated in the discussion, explains how the products from her company are available in the Indian market but see less response over the years from the customers despite being a benefit to the environment. It certainly reflects the dominance of initial cost over lifetime costs in the eyes of the consumer which needs to be rectified. She says, “ There is an upfront cost involved but it gets more than compensated in a matter of time”, which is supposedly a considerable factor when opting for the right materials for any project construction.
There is a lack of awareness amongst consumers which leads to the slow growth of brands that are offering something that benefits the environment. Mr. Sudeep Kolte – VP of sales & marketing, Saint Gobain who was also a part of the panel added, “ We need more support from a variety of stakeholders, more so the government”.
Spreading awareness and experimenting with different materials is a process that will need the participation of different stakeholders involved at different stages of a project design. The government bodies should formulate policies and should monitor their amendments to ensure a sustainable building environment.
As Ms. Bhavana Bindra – Managing Director- REHAU South Asia puts it, “ With a combination of incentivization and mandate, whatever is available across the world already can be brought into the country, but that has to be a concerted effort”. The fraternity needs to cater to the communities who are outside the policy-following or up-to-date zone, which is a major portion of the population, and make incentives and mandates for them, for them to come forward and become a part of the sustainable movement.
And, if one is not willing to reach out to global material alternatives, opting for local materials is an apt choice, taking forward the ‘Made in India’ scheme by the government. Ms. Bhavna Bindra – Managing Director- REHAU South Asia also shared during the discussion her Local for Local approach and suggests using indigenous materials or locally manufactured materials as far as they are the correct choice for the project and not a cost-driven choice. She says, “ All strategies work best when you are closer to the source of the material”.
During the panel discussion, Mr. Sudeep Kolte – VP of sales & marketing, Saint Gobain also addressed the need of putting our money where our mouth is. It simply refers to not only talking about change but also taking measures to lead that change. To begin with, the change will be witnessed when we as an organization manage our footprints and further lead towards sustainability.
As it is said, be the change you want to see in the world. So for a greener environment, one needs to retrospect their actions individually on a micro level, which is something The decor Journal India is speaking about and working towards – individual change and further community development.