How green is this building in Kerala! The 13-storey corporate office of V-Guard at Vennala is a green wonder. Every floor has a balcony with flowering plants surrounding it, which prevents the building from heating up. Only 10 percent of the building has air-conditioning facility. All water requirements are met by rain-water harvesting.
In a 2015 report by The Hindu, Kochouseph Chittilappilly, founder chairman and M.D. of the company said it has been over seven years since the office was built and it has remained a truly sustainable model. “It is a model that works in a place such as Kerala where the temperature does not cross 35 degree Celsius. With the plants that line the balconies, direct sunlight does not fall on the building. Hence, 90 per cent of the building is not air-conditioned,” he added.
The overall cost of maintaining the building is low, too. The building does not have a Corporation water connection. The needs of the entire office complex are met by rain water harvesting and two open wells. Solar panels take care of a regular hot water supply. A rooftop garden with lawns and a wealth of plants add to the greenery the structure supports.
“This is a model that any other multi-storey building can follow,” said the MD. Apart from contributing to the green cover of the city, citizens should also take steps towards treating biodegradable waste at source. Even offices could follow the method. “Instead of burdening the Corporation with biodegradable waste, each one has to start treating it at his or her own home. Dealing with waste is one of our biggest problems now,” he stated.
The Social Forestry wing of Kerala Forest and Wildlife Department is aiming for a transformational change, where citizens will transform into environmental stewards. “This is a responsibility shared by all those whose actions affect the environment. We will encourage every citizen to question how one lives and their actions impact the environment,” says K.J. Martin Lowell, ACF.