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Sustainibility through Resource Optimisation

The terms ‘sustainability’ and ‘ sustainable development ’ have become both a perennial trend and an indispensable parameter for the design of any built environment in the modern architectural realm. These terms can have kaleidoscopic interpretations. Over the years, an array of solutions have been brought into effect by governments and individuals such as architects and designers , and collective industries to achieve our sh ared goal of a comprehensive ecosystem that leaves a minimum ecological footprint . However, we at Charged Voids believe that sustainability should not just be about what materials we use or how green a building is, but also about material and monetary reso urce usage both during and after construction.

At the root of it all, lies our pursuit to maximise the usage of any of the resources employed in the design processes. The primary of it being land utilization to its greatest extent. As an effect, this syst em also ensures the complete utilisation of money and consequently helps reduce unnecessary overuse of material resources. This approach of resource optimisation has shaped Charged Voids’ definition of sustainability and distinguished it from the often gre enwashed notions of the term.

Catering to 7000+ students on 94000 square feet, Star — a multifunctional extension of the Chandigarh University in Mohali — is more than just a campus cafeteria, a library and guest accommodation,. By integrating three uni que requirements into a single structure, Star adheres to our derived idea of sustainability. The optimum land utilisation ensures a substantial reduction in monetary and material usage. The amorphous space on the ground floor allows abundant natural light and ventilation consequently reducing the dependency on artificial cooling. With no single - elevation fronts, the structure is opened up from all sides and allows the influx of natural light and air in.

The case of Chandigarh University’s latest campus i n Lucknow acts on similar ideas of sustainability. Its mega - block master plan maximises interconnections between all modules and ensures the shortest travel distances. The common amenities that are meant to be shared by all are centralised in the campus. T he proximity and strategic adjacencies of these functions ensure easier access and yield maximum usage of the resources. Resource efficiency and optimisation can also be facilitated by employing technological interventions for communications, security and interconnection across the buildings. It is through these technological aids that data could be gathered by observing mass travel or occupancy patterns and eventually bank on resource efficiency. One of these tools could also be the incorporation of open s paces. By relying on passive cooling systems for ventilation like jaalis and courtyards , the dependency on artificial mechanisms is reduced in this case too.

When viewed broadly, conscious sustainability in the built environment can find multiple perspe ctives beyond the generalised greenwashed approaches. For Charged Voids, moving beyond the prevalent systems of sustainability has always been an essential step in achieving resource efficiency for all of the spaces we try to create.