Infrastructure development, including the construction of roads, bridges, ports, power plants and water supply, are key drivers of economic growth. It facilitates developing countries to boost their manufacturing, services as well as trade.
The fast-paced infrastructure development in India has not only helped the country in becoming one of the fastest growing economies of the world, but also aided in bringing in substantial investment.
Smart Cities Mission has given a boost to infrastructure development. With infrastructure geared towards Smart Cities, the focus is on sustainable infrastructure, which also becomes the need of the hour considering the fact that the planet is suffering from eco-anxiety — due to climate change and diminishing natural resources.
Sustainable infrastructure not just protects the environment, but also adds long-term value to the facilities. It enhances the quality of life for citizens of the country.
Sustainable growth helps in protecting vital natural resources along with promoting efficient use of financial resources.
Pollution is one of the major problems dogging India, whose air quality in India is horrendously bad right now. The problem became so intense that the government had to stop construction at almost all sites.
An increasing number of vehicles, along with industrialisation and a decreasing number of trees, have added to carbon emission.
Sustainable infrastructure can play a role in reducing energy consumption, which helps in minimising carbon dioxide emission. The usage of renewable energy sources directly helps in improving air quality.
Sustainable infrastructure also helps in reducing solid waste. Since the focus has now shifted to solid waste management, companies manufacturing construction materials are coming up with renewable building materials which are easy to recycle.
Various solid waste reduction practices such as construction byproduct management, recyclable management, recycled material usage and waste mitigation have been incorporated.
Owing to rampant exploitation of natural resources, it is high time that we switch to sustainable infrastructure development. This will help reduce dependence on natural resources.
Through building re-purposing, sustainable infrastructure projects will help save natural resources.
Sustainable projects also help to reduce soil erosion as well as water runoff. They assist in preserving indigenous wildlife and open land.
While developing a sustainable infrastructure project, the focus is on less energy consumption. Although the cost of sustainable engineering is higher as compared to traditional building methods, the developer can recover the initial cost due to reduced utility and maintenance expenses.
Apart from bringing down energy consumption, there is a reduction in water consumption too owing to the fact that civil engineers practising sustainable infrastructure design also incorporate water saving- technologies. These projects have water-free urinals — no flush toilets and low flow shower heads.
It also comes with the benefit of improved community health. With improved air quality, reduction in carbon emission, less energy consumption and usage of renewable energy sources, sustainable infrastructure has tremendous health benefits.
Sustainable infrastructure also reduces the risk of damages through unforeseen natural disasters.
Apart from this, the developer of a sustainable project might get insurance discounts through preventive disaster measures, which further offsets emergency equipment expenses.
Structural life spans of the project that are designed keeping in mind sustainability also goes up. This helps developers in cutting down on construction costs. It is safe to say that any sustainable project should remain safe and functional for 200 to 300 years.
Minimalist designs allow property owners to add features as and when needed. The design of sustainable projects is such that it facilitates future additions. The floor plans of sustainable projects ensure that space lends itself to multi-purpose utility.
Sustainable projects also include framework, which includes additional floor levels, as well as accessible wiring conduits that facilitate future improvements.
Apart from providing a better place to live, sustainable infrastructure development also adds to employment prospects. Employment opportunities are created at every step. Job opportunities are aplenty — right from construction to its maintenance. Apart from being the direct source of employment for local labour, it is also a source of income generation for small businessmen who supply materials for construction.
Sustainable infrastructure attracts investment, which ropes in companies providing employment opportunities to local labour and help in controlling rampant inter-state migration.