Are apartments, as they’re designed and built today, sustainable in the long run ? An ‘independent’ home on the ground level can live off human effort and power, harness enough solar energy, harvest enough rainwater, and redo stuff like plumbing etc more easily as newer, smarter, more efficient solutions are found to reduce our individual footprints. The pressure an individual home exerts on the earth is lower, and can be reduced quite dramatically. Can apartments do it ? Will real estate values start getting tied in to these fundmentals ?Should I really start thinking about that house ?
There was a recent mail on our apartment mailing list which informed us that about 1/2 of the 2000 borewells in our area have run dry, because of which the water tanker supply was likely to get erratic. We were requested to brace ourselves for water shortages, at least intermittent ones. At least a couple of weeks a year, BESCOM, anyhow struggling to keep pace with the ever increasing need of a burgeoning city, fails to supply power for hours together. Our apartment’s diesel gensets have been known to run overnight. These run at a maximum of 35-40% efficiency, and the entire dependence on huge amounts of fossil fuel directly to keep the lifts etc working is definitely not a very ecologically conscious act. Vertical living just needs more natural resources and energy. The lack of these is starting to cause minor inconveniences and may give us a taste of major failures in not too distant a future. It’ll take very little time for these tall edifices to our conceit and imagined prowess and mastery of the elements to be uninhabitable. Sure, sounds like a doomsday movie, but I’d almost bet that 24 hours of no water supply will be a real, quick trailer in not too distant a future.