Green building trend is catching up fast in India, according to Economictimes. India ranks third on the US Green Building Council’s (USGBC) annual ranking of the top 10 countries for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified buildings. According to the survey by USGBC, the top 10 list highlights countries outside of the US that are using LEED and India, with more than 752 LEED-certified projects totalling over 20.28 million gross square meters of space, ranks third. The list ranks countries and regions in terms of cumulative LEED-certified gross square metres as of December 31, 2017 and represents 6,657 certified projects totalling more than 158 million gross sq mt. The top 10 list is led by China with a total of 1,211 LEED certified and registered projects for more than 47.16 million gross sq mt of space followed by Canada with 2,970 such projects with a total space of 40.77 million gross sq mt. Therefore, it is pivotal to understand what ‘green building’ is and which are the agencies that certifies these buildings.
What it is:
A green building is one which uses less water, optimises energy efficiency, conserves natural resources, generates less waste and provides healthier spaces for occupants, as compared to a conventional building.
However, not every building that uses eco-friendly building materials like clay can be called as a green building. Thankfully, there are certain strict regulations that govern the criteria that make a building fit for LEED certification, which is the leading global-standard for green building certification, in India, as well as worldwide.
Criteria For Green Building Certifications
Green certification is not an easy thing to be achieved. Certain conditions are necessary to inhibit green certification, some of which are discussed below.
Energy efficiency – this is the most important criteria. The distribution of energy and its consumption is pivotal for green certification. A building must optimise building orientation, harvesting as much natural light as possible, minimise solar heat gain, use renewable energy in building services, and ensure proper testing, commissioning and regular maintenance of its energy use.
Sustainable indoor environment : The quality of our indoor environment also plays a major role, more so now than ever before since many people spend a majority of their time indoors. This involves the use of quality air filtration methods as well as proper ventilation, as well as sustainable temperature and humidity control.
Sustainable design : A building created through sustainable development, without damaging the existing eco-system is a key criteria. The building shoyld an have easy access to public transport, open spaces such as parks, community services and good landscaping, and proper stormwater management.
Material usage : The building needs to have minimal, or no, non-renewable construction material, have efficient, eco-friendly design and engineering, with maximum use of recyclable, eco-friendly construction materials.
Water Efficiency : This means using methods through which the building may recycle water and use water saving fittings in their pipes to prevent unnecessary wastage of water. It also includes methods such as rain water harvesting and filtration of used water. Preservation and efficient use of existing water cycle is key here.
The ones who certify;
Whether Green buildings are really green is to be decided against the predefined rating systems. There are four primary Rating systems in India.
Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment (GRIHA) is India’s own rating system jointly developed by TERI and the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Government of India. It is a green building design evaluation system where buildings are rated in a three-tier process. The process initiates with the online submission of documents as per the prescribed criteria followed by on site visit and evaluation of the building by a team of professionals and experts from GRIHA Secretariat. GRIHA rating system consists of 34 criteria categorised in four different sections. Some of them are – ( 1) Site selection and site planning, (2) Conservation and efficient utilization of resources, (3) Building operation and maintenance, and (4) Innovation.
The Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) is the rating system developed for certifying Green Buildings. LEED is developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), the organization promoting sustainability through Green Buildings. LEED is a framework for assessing building performance against set criteria and standard points of references. The benchmarks for the LEED Green Building Rating System were developed in year 2000 and are currently available for new and existing constructions.
IGBC has developed the following green building rating systems for different types of building in line and conformity with US Green Building Council. Till date, following Green Building rating systems are available under IGBC;
- LEED India for New Construction
- LEED India for Core and Shell
- IGBC Green Homes
- IGBC Green Factory Building
- IGBC Green SEZ
- IGBC Green Townships
Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE)
BEE developed its own rating system for the buildings based on a 1 to 5 star scale. More stars mean more energy efficiency. BEE has developed the Energy Performance Index (EPI). The unit of Kilo watt hours per square meter per year is considered for rating the building and especially targets air conditioned and non-air conditioned office buildings. The Reserve Bank of India’s buildings in Delhi and Bhubaneshwar, the CII Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Centre and many other buildings have received BEE 5 star ratings.
Indians were aware of Green Building concepts from the beginning. Conventional homes with baked red colour roof tiles and clay made walls is a really good example of energy efficient structures that are used to keep cool during summers and warm during the winters. Most of rural India is still attached to this building technology with naturally available materials like clay, wood, jute ropes, etc. Today we have advanced technologies that create smarter systems to control inside temperature, lighting systems, power and water supply and waste generation. Green buildings might be a bit heavy on the purse but are good for the environment. In this rapidly changing world, we should adopt the technology that helps us to save precious natural resources. This would lead us to true sustainable development.
The Energy Conservation Building Code (ECBC), was launched by Ministry of Power, Government of India in May 2017, as a first step towards promoting energy efficiency in the building sector.
The ECBC was developed by an Expert Committee, set up by India’s Bureau of Energy Efficiency, with support and guidance from United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and significant inputs from various other stakeholders such as practicing architects, consultants, educational institutions and other government organizations.
The successful implementation of the code requires development of compliance procedures (compliance forms and development of field-test compliance forms and procedures), in addition to building capacity of architects / designers / builders / contractors and government official in States and Urban and Local Bodies (ULBs). It is also dependent on availability of materials and equipment that meet or exceed performance specifications specified in ECBC.
BEE with the support of USAID ECO- III Project is promoting ECBC awareness and voluntary adoption through training and capacity building programmes, pilot demonstration projects, and identifying steps for compliance check and monitoring of ECBC. ECBC User Guide was developed to support ECBC implementation by providing detailed guidance to the users on how to comply with the Code. Four ECBC tip sheets on Energy Simulation, Building Envelope, Lighting Design and HVAC are also available and provide useful information on Code compliance at the system level and through Whole Building Performance approach that require knowledge of energy simulation to model the proposed building.