Green World

The 26 December, 2004, Sunday edition of Dawn, Pakistan's leading English daily, carried an interesting reference to the Green Business Centre. In a syndicated column by ARDESHIR COWASJEE, it referred to the GBC as a unique achievement and urged General Pervez Musharraf to emulate it in Pakistan.
CHANGE reproduces extracts from the article.

est we forget, it was Mohammad Ali Jinnah who stressed the democratic liberal fact that religion is not the business of the state: "You may belong to any religion, caste or creed —that has nothing to do with the business of the state." (11 August, 1947) "...Make no mistake, Pakistan is not a theocracy or anything like it." (19 February, 1948) "In any case, Pakistan is not going to be a theocratic state — to be ruled by priests with a divine mission. We have many Muslims, Hindus, Christians and Parsis. They are all Pakistanis. They will enjoy the same rights and privileges as any other citizens and they will play their rightful part in the affairs of Pakistan." (February 1948)

If Musharraf wishes to go down in history, let him emulate an accomplishment of our neighbours. It makes stimulating and uplifting reading — it is a true achievement.

This July, the President of India, Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam (India's sober answer to our own rampaging proliferating Abdul Qader Khan), inaugurated the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII)-Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Centre (GBC) at Hyderabad, a Green Business incubator and a conference centre. It has since become "the Greenest Building in the world" after it was awarded a Version 2.0 Platinum rating by the United States Green Building Council — the first in India and the first outside the U.S. to obtain this particular grading under the Leadership in Environment and Energy Design programme.

It was launched as a concept in 2000, when former U.S. President Bill Clinton visited Hyderabad. This most environment-friendly building has many unique features — thus the ultimate award. Eighty per cent of the material used in its construction was recycled, including fly ash and wasted material from cement and other industries. It discharges zero water, as all used water is recycled, and its vast water body utilises rainwater harvesting.

One of the innovative ideas used is waterless urinals in which chemicals are used to store and recycle urine without any odour. The GBC uses 55 per cent less energy than a conventional building and is constructed in such a way that the intake of natural light does away with the need for external lighting.

Sixty per cent of the roof is covered by a roof garden which provides excellent insulation and cuts down the air-condition load. The building has two tall wind towers which pre-cool the air and also reduce energy consumption by the air-conditioning unit, and the use of photovoltaic cells augments the power requirements.

The chairman of this new "not-for-profit" centre is Jamshyd Godrej of the Godrej Group, one of India's most environmental-conscious corporate entities. A public-private partnership between the CII, the Government of Andhra Pradesh, and the Pirojsha Godrej Foundation is responsible for the construction of this splendid edifice, built at a cost of approximately Rs. 100 million on an area of five acres. In terms of savings on power and water, it is expected to pay for itself in three to four years' time.

The CII-GBC (as the partnership is known) has set itself the task of building 10 Green Buildings in India by 2006, and by 2015 to make India a world leader in the environmental area. Godrej and his partners do not intend to just put up a demonstration building, they want to be world leaders — they intend to promote Indian industry as one of the foremost competitive industries as far as Green Buildings and environmental matters are concerned.

Long may, what remains of Jinnah's Pakistan, live!