ISLAMABAD: A parliamentary body on Thursday recommended to the National Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority to conduct energy efficiency audit of the parliament building to ascertain its share in conserving energy after it installed solar panels.

Furthermore, there is a need to conserve energy wherever possible in the larger interest of the country which is why solar panels must be installed in public buildings.

This was highlighted during a parliamentary meeting on Thursday by members of the Senate Standing Committee on Climate Change.

The direction to conduct the audit came after members of the Senate Standing Committee on Climate Change discussed agenda items related to consideration of the public petition on the Green Building Initiative and international conference on Climate Resilient Pakistan co-hosted by Pakistan and the United Nations (UN) in Geneva.

Officials from Ministry of Climate Change briefed committee members about agenda items and said that guidelines were available for the Green Building Initiative whereas codes to be followed were being prepared by the end of this month.

Need for proper disposal of solid waste stressed

Musaddiq Ahmed Khan said that the concept of Green Building was designed with an objective to protect people’s health and aimed to create awareness on sustainable green buildings and reduce impacts of global warming and urban heat.

Urban agglomeration consumed approximately 80 percent of global energy out of which 40pc accounted for buildings, he said, adding that the new code would meet sustainable development goals (SDGs) pertaining to human settlements, production patterns and action to combat the impact of climate change.

Officials from the ministry explained to members that the initiative was for high-rise buildings and not houses and would not cause greenhouse effects but would rather help in clearing the effects of carbon emissions.

Chairperson of the committee Senator Seemee Ezdi emphasised on concrete steps for disposal of waste products.

“There is a need for energy conservation in the larger interest of the country and the example of the Parliament House in terms of energy conservation should be followed in all government offices,” she added.

Director general of the Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency Farzana Altaf Shah said that people were using paints that contained zinc which was a carcinogenic when dumped in the open and it was a major cause for environmental degradation.

She told the committee that dumping cement bags and glass out on roads was a common practice.

Callously dumping such waste was a major concern as cement bags, glass and paint do not decompose and lasted longer at dumping sights than normal household waste, she added.

“A lot of solid waste is generated at construction sites and at present, there is no company in the country for ensuring complete solid waste management. The Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI) is responsible for municipal solid waste management,” she added.

Senator Dr Humayun Khan Mohmand said square designing used less building materials however, there should be incinerators to ensure solid waste management and all institutions have to work together for safe dumping of solid waste, he added.

Senator Taj Haider said all public buildings in the capital should be shifted to solar energy. “Solar power will help save money and provide room for new ideas to generate and provide benefit to the masses,” he added.

Officials from the ministry also briefed the committee about the International Conference on Climate Resilient Pakistan. He said the main objective of the conference was to invite the attention of the global community for rehabilitation of those affected by the flood.

They said that almost one-third of the country was still flooded and the conference’s theme was ‘Resilient, Recovery, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Framework (4RF)’.

In Sindh, settlements on the banks of Indus Rivers suffered the heaviest losses, they added.

Published in Dawn, january 6th, 2023

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