Green buildings are not yet a very common phenomenon in India, but policymakers, architects, and builders are increasingly identifying their benefits and pushing for them.
With the constant need for adopting more sustainable practices in order to stop the deterioration happening to the environment, “green buildings” are something that have been largely overlooked in India. With India having ratified the COP 21 climate change agreement, green buildings promise to be a great source to reduce the overall Carbon footprint.
What is a Green Building?
Any building that makes optimum use of natural resources throughout its life—from planning, design, construction, and occupancy to its decommission—can be called a Green Building. It is the practice of creating more resource-efficient designs, which can be sustainable. It has an overall positive impact on the ecosystem. For example, from taking care of the well-being of the construction workers to making sure that the construction material has maximum re-usability, there are many factors that contribute to a building being green.
According to research, buildings account for 18 % of total CO2 emissions. If construction keeps growing at the present rate, the emissions will double by 2050, according to a report from the United Nations Environment Program. This is where the rub lies. While buildings are a major contributing factor to global emissions, they also hold the most potential to deliver significant cuts if we start focusing on building greener.
A green building has a variety of advantages. We can broadly classify them into three subheads:
- Environmental Benefits: Green buildings have a huge positive effect on the environment. They use less natural resources as compared to a normal building. A green building ensures that it is water-efficient and energy-efficient, and has a much smaller carbon footprint. A green building also ensures that the surrounding eco-system is protected and further enhanced.
- Economic Benefits: It is commonly believed that green buildings are costlier than normal buildings. While that might be true at the initial stage i.e. while the building is being made, it has been effectively proven that the overall costs are much lesser than the normal buildings. They consume less resources, and improve the productivity of occupants. Green buildings also entail higher real estate value. Besides these benefits, incentives are also given by local government bodies in order to achieve a sustainable future.
- Social Benefits: Green Buildings have been proven to have a positive impact on the health of residents. Since they provide a balanced and optimal eco-system for residents, they have a positive effect on the productivity and well-being of those who occupy the building.
Green Building Rating Systems
A green building rating system evaluates and rates the performance of a building according to a set of pre-defined parameters. It measures the building’s impact on the environment throughout the life-cycle of that building.
In India, pre-dominantly three rating systems exist—LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), IGBC (Indian Green Building Council), and GRIHA (Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment).
Green Buildings in India
Green Buildings do not account for even 5 % of the total building footprint in India. Yet, according to the Dodge Data & Analytics World Green Building Trends 2016 SmartMarket Report, by 2018, the green building industry in India will grow 20 %. Slowly yet steadily, green buildings have started to grow in India. Although sustainability is more of a choice right now, with right awareness, it will become a need. In a bid to further promote green buildings in India, some of the state governments and local bodies have started providing incentives to those who get their building green-certified.
Below are some of the best green buildings currently existing in India:
CII-Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Centre, Hyderabad
The CII-Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Center (GBC) was the first building outside of the US to be awarded the LEED platinum rating at the time of its inauguration. 90 % of the building does not require artificial lighting during daytime. It has also inculcated measures like solar panels, rainwater harvesting, and green roofs.
Suzlon One Earth, Pune
Having received a platinum certification by the LEED, Suzlon One Earth uses a variety of resource-efficient mechanisms. Natural daylighting, fresh indoor air, and use of energy-efficient air conditioning are just some examples.
Empress Altius, Kolkata
This was East India’s first IGBC Green Homes’ pre-certified platinum-rated building. Features include energy savings of more than 20 %, water savings of more than 50 %, waste management, on-site water treatment ,and use of grey water for flushing and landscaping.
Below is a list of states and local bodies providing extra FAR (Floor-to-area ratio) for green buildings.
It is vital that more state governments start providing incentives in order to push more people towards green buildings. More awareness is also necessary in order for people to opt for green buildings voluntarily.
To find out more about other ways to enable sustainability in architecture and construction, and to learn more about Green Buildings in general, visit GreenBanao’s website.