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Indian origin engineer says traditional homes are more sustainable

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Washington: An Indian-origin engineer said that while the trend might be of the houses like Europe and North America but the traditional homes can be more sustainable.

Industrial building materials are often scarce and expensive and alternative, locally sourced, sustainable materials are often a better choice, said Khanjan Mehta, assistant professor of engineering design at the Pennsylvania State University.

“People want to build a good house, everyone wants to have a good house. But what makes a good house? Is it wood, steel, concrete or bamboo? It all depends on the context,” Mehta said.

“In some places steel and concrete are perfect, while straw bales and bamboo are optimal in other places. We should be evaluating what is economically, socially and environmentally sustainable at the necessary scale in a given location,” he said.

Cutting down forests to plant bamboo as a building material is not the answer, according to Mehta.

Individuals can use locally available but scarce materials to build their individual homes, but that strategy will not build all the houses in a city or village because it cannot be scaled up to meet the demand.

“Can we grow mushrooms and process them into a strong packaging material or fiberboard for construction?” said Mehta.

“We need cross pollination from different areas to come up with acceptable choices to meet these challenges,” Mehta noted.

“People see western stuff as better, more modern and therefore they think it is good,” said Mehta.

“Traditional homes can be just as cool, and maybe more sustainable,” he said.

Mehta shared his thoughts at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington DC on Friday.(IANS)

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JY Pillay: Indian Origin Civil Servant Appointed as the Acting President of Singapore

As CPA Chairman since 2005, Pillay has been acting President each time the President goes on an overseas trip

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Acting President of Singapore
JY Pillay. Youtube
  • JY Pillay has been appointed as the acting President of Singapore
  • Pillay, also the Chairman of the Council of Presidential Advisers, is a veteran civil servant of Indian Origin
  • The Singapore polls take place on 23rd September

September 2, 2017: Indian-origin veteran civil servant JY Pillay on Friday took over as Singapore’s acting President until a new head of the state is elected later this month.

The temporary appointment of Pillay, Chairman of the Council of Presidential Advisers (CPA), follows the completion of President Tony Tan Keng Yam’s six-year term on Thursday, the Strait Times reported.

The nomination day for the Presidential election is September 13, followed by polling day on September 23.

According to the report, when the office of President is vacant, the first in line to exercise its powers is the CPA Chairman, followed by the Speaker of Parliament. This is the first time the office has fallen vacant since the elected presidency was introduced in 1991.

Pillay is no stranger to exercising the powers of the President. As CPA Chairman since 2005, he has been acting President each time the President goes on an overseas trip. He acted as President in May, when Tan made state visits to Europe.

He has served more than 60 such “stints”– the longest of which was 16 days in April and May of 2007 when then President SR Nathan visited Africa. (IANS)


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