In the past few decades, the country has witnessed a profound evolution in the approach it has taken towards constructing buildings. The depreciating bio-network has resulted in the growth of ‘green buildings’, where developers use eco-friendly approaches to create buildings. These green construction practices not only use fewer water supplies but also optimize energy efficiency. By the end of this year, IGBC (Indian Green Building Council) has estimated the green building product industry to be worth over $100 million in India.
Indian green home rating system
Having over 1.2 billion square feet of green buildings either ready or in the construction stages in the country, India has 3 agencies that have their own rating systems. Few of the main council bodies include Indian Green Building Council (IGBC), The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) and Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE). Some of the rating systems that these bodies issue include Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment (GRIHA).
Buildings here are evaluated on the basis of their design, ventilation, waste management system, usage of eco-friendly sustainable materials and water supply. These certifications have created a movement that promotes sustainable construction techniques that are in sync with nature. It is reported that the country is already a home to over 260 certified operational and functional green buildings.
Existence of many green commercial buildings
To entice many customers, developers started creating green buildings- both commercial and residential, but what kicked off as a marketing gimmick soon became the need of the hour. Various state of the art office spaces like Suzlon One Earth in Pune, Infosys BPO in Jaipur and Kalpataru Square in Mumbai have received LEED Platinum rating. They all boast of using energy efficient fixtures that either lower water supply or help manage waste efficiently. Terminal 3 of the Indira Gandhi International Airport, is the country’s first airport building that has received the LEED Gold rating for using recycled material to furnish its interiors. The usage of water sprinklers and dust screens to reduce dust pollutants has helped the terminal receive the ‘green building’ tag.
Green buildings making their way into the residential sector
The trend has made inroads into the residential sector and developers like Godrej Properties, Primarc and MCK groups have many green projects in Delhi NCR (National Capital Region), Hyderabad, Bangalore, Mumbai and Chennai. Real estate developers are now opting to use solar equipment that are both passive and active thereby reducing the over-usage of electric appliances like fans and air-conditioning systems during summers and winters. Rain water harvesting in another element that has been introduced by many developers in each and every project. Green roof, waste management and water conservation are other essential elements that are found in building specifications these days. The 5 Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Refuse and Reinvent) philosophy too seemed to have crept in. Real estate developers are now providing energy efficient lighting fixtures, like CLF lights and are recycling water to be used to prune garden areas etc.
Green houses for the underprivileged
Eco-friendly buildings are not just restricted to the MIGs and the HNIs. Underprivileged individuals are likely to live in greener homes very soon. The Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation is working with market share holders and State governments to create green homes for this section of the society. The Rural Development and the Panchayat Raj (RD and PR) department has identified beneficiaries of solar powered green houses in Madurai. Under the scheme, the State government has allotted an amount of INR 1.80 lakhs to each recipient to construct and purchase solar powered home lighting system. Homes will be constructed with the help of RD and PR and solar panels will be provided by the Tamil Nadu Energy Development Agency (TEDA) Also all homes must be well equipped with rain water harvesting. Over 3 lakhs green homes have been marked to be built in Tamil Nadu over 5 years between 2011-2012 and 2015-2016.
Currently, the country is home to over 2,770 green building projects that spread over 2.23 billion square feet. And we are cited to be among the top few countries across the world to have such high number of green buildings thanks to all these initiatives mentioned above. So while significant steps are being taken to ensure India becomes a global leader, it’s now important for individuals to do their bit to save nature too!