With its ‘Green building’ initiative, the Indian Green Building Council aims to enable a sustainable built environment
Hyderabad: The growth and development of our communities has a large impact on our natural environment. With citizens becoming more aware about using sustainable things that do not harm nature, the construction sector too is undertaking several steps towards a cleaner environment.
One of the most significant changes that one can see today is the rapid rise in the number of green or sustainable buildings. With 428 projects registered as green buildings in the State, Telangana is among the top cities promoting sustainable infrastructure and construction development. The State has a total of 280 million square feet built-up area that is categorised as ‘Green building’ by the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC).
IGBC has a set of criteria covering various parameters related to design, construction and operation of a building. All the rating systems are based on the five elements of nature (Panchabhutas) and are a perfect blend of ancient architectural practices and modern technological innovations. The council rates the buildings as Silver, Gold and Platinum depending on their economic and environmental performance.
Explaining the process, S Karthikeyan, Principal Counsellor, Confederation of Indian Industry, says, “Any building can be a green building, whether it’s a home, an office, a school, a hospital, a community centre, or any other type of structure. While it is easier for the builders to incorporate the sustainable design right at the start of the project, older communities can adopt simple measures to make their society greener as well.”
Although the same practices and methods may not be applicable to all the buildings, Karthikeyan shares a few pointers that can help older societies. “Firstly, we have to understand that this is a community effort. One simple solution that many societies can look at is the way we use water at our home. The world average water consumption is about 60 litres per person per day. If a society is able to restrict the use of water per household according to this, ample water can be saved. If the society has some open space, they can also look for rain water harvesting. A portion of the rooftops can be used for Solar PV,” says Karthikeyan.
The cost of these fitting will pay for themselves in time. However, Karthikeyan points out that these changes not just help the environment. “We spend most of our time at home — the ongoing pandemic has even increased that time. These changes can help enhance the occupants’ health and comfort,” he adds.
The council is also in talks with the government of Telangana State to help increase the number of green buildings in the State. Shares KS Venkatagiri, Executive Director, CII-Godrej GBC, “We are talking to the State government to incentivise the builders who are opting to build a green project. Having said that, I have to add that despite no incentives, Telangana has a good number of projects which are sustainable.”
He encourages the buyers to opt for green buildings. “We have been running several programmes to educate and encourage the builders to come up with green infrastructures. I believe if the buyers start asking for green buildings, there will be a rise in the number of sustainable constructions,” Venkatagiri concludes.
What is a green building?
Green or sustainable building is the practice of increasing the efficiency with which buildings and their sites use energy, water, and materials, and of reducing impacts on human health and the environment for the entire life-cycle of a building. Green building concepts extend beyond the walls of buildings and include site planning, community and land-use planning issues as well.
The Indian Green Building Council (IGBC), part of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), was formed in the year 2001. The council aims to enable a sustainable built environment for all and facilitate India to be one of the global leaders in the sustainable built environment by 2025.
The CII-Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Centre is a testimony to IGBC’s commitment towards sustainable construction. Spread over 4.5 acres, the council’s Platinum-rated green building is limited to just 20,000 square feet — leaving most of the left out space untouched so as to not disturb the flora and fauna in the region. The building is also equipped with a rainwater harvesting system to reuse the storm water. About 60 per cent of the roof garden area is covered with solar photovoltaics.
It also showcases some of the emerging green building technologies, including phytoremediation and vertical landscaping.
IGBC also offers a wide array of services which include developing new green building rating programmes, certification services and green building training programmes.
Some green projects in Telangana
i) Hyderabad Metro Rail Nagole station — Platinum rated
ii) Capgemini Technology Services India Limited — Platinum rated
iii) Sanghamitra School — Gold rated
iv) Dell Hyderabad — Platinum rated
v) Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, Sultanpur — Platinum rated