Bringing green building materials into campuses
"Today's event will at least help us to start thinking about how to build a better future for our next generation through adopting green construction. My students are lucky that they are learning about these innovations while they are still students."
These words of appreciation came from Ms. Aupee Karim, Assistant Professor, Department of Architecture, American International University-Bangladesh (AIUB), whose other identity is as a nationwide popular actress. She shared her perceptions regarding the prospects of green construction techniques in Bangladesh after attending a student awareness programme session at the Housing and Building Research Institute (HBRI). The event was organised on 23 March 2017 as part of the EU-funded SWITCH-Asia project Promoting Sustainable Building in Bangladesh.
HBRI, a research institution under the Ministry of Housing and Public Works, Government of Bangladesh and a partner to the SWITCH-Asia project, has been leading the project's research initiatives to develop environment-friendly building materials as viable alternatives to traditional fire-bricks.
Alongside carrying forward the research, it is also important to let present and prospective user groups know about the available alternatives and promote green building. With that vision, the project has been organizing a number of diverse events in Dhaka and Jessore. Through trainings for construction workers and brick-kiln workers, consultations with brick manufacturers, orientation for engineers and architects and awareness programmes with students from technical institutions, the project is contributing to share to a wider audience of beneficiaries HBRI's knowledge and the innovations resulting from its research.
The awareness programme for students of architecture, engineering and urban planning stands out for its role in educating and equipping the future generations to adopt and switch towards alternative and greener building technologies.
During these day-long trainings, students are given an introduction of alternative green bricks and the positive aspects of the materials as well as an in-depth cost-benefit analysis about these new technologies. The theoretical orientation and question and answer session are complemented with the site visit to the research facilities of HBRI and the spectacular infrastructures within its campus, which includes multi-storied buildings, ferrocement made structures, floating structures, low-cost shelters for emergency. The orientation continues even during the process of site visit as the students learn from the experts about the building materials used in each type of structure and the process and techniques.
So far, 180 students from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET), American International University-Bangladesh (AIUB), State University of Bangladesh (SUB), Ahsanullah University of Science & Technology (AUST) and University of Asia Pacific (UAP) have participated in the six student awareness programme organised by the project.
While the participation in these events has been spontaneous, the positive words of mouth from participants have resulted into several other universities expressing interest to attend similar events at HBRI in the future. As a result, the project will continue offering such service and HBRI is assessing the possibility of carrying out these trainings also beyond the project's timeline.
Written by: Mohammad Simon Rahman / SWITCH-Asia project
Edited by: Silvia Sartori / SWITCH-Asia Network Facility