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Shaping Sustainable Built Environment

V Suresh
Chairman, Indian Green Building Council

Earlier in the month of October, CII’s Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) appointed Mr. V Suresh as Chairman and Mr Gurmit Singh Arora as the Vice -Chairman. Mr Suresh, an engineer from Anna University, Chennai has worked for over 53 years in the housing, infrastructure, rural and urban development, real estate development and built environment sectors with the goal of enhancing sustainability. Over the course of his professional career, Mr Suresh has held numerous key positions including CMD, HUDCO. On the backdrop of his appointment as the Chairperson of IGBC, the Masterbuilder caught up with Mr Suresh to divulge into the role IGBC has played in shaping the sustainable built environment around us and his plans going further. Below are the experts of his interview.

IGBC began in 2001 with the vision of making India a global leader in sustainable built environment. What are the body’s major milestones to-date, and what can we expect from the days to come?

When Indian Green Building Council (IGBC), part of CII embarked on the inspiring and meaningful green buildings journey in the year 2001, it was clear that India should become one of the global leaders in green buildings and green built environment. Today, as we look back, a sense of fulfilment and pride fills all of us at IGBC and the global building community.

IGBC with the support of all the stakeholders has facilitated in bringing about a paradigm shift in the way buildings are conceived and designed. Today, India is home to some of finest world class green buildings and setting new benchmarks in energy and environmental management.

The initial challenges like affordability, availability, awareness were met by IGBC by adopting a holistic approach. Today the construction cost of a green building is about 1 to 4% higher than a conventional building and the additional costs gets paid back in 1 to 3 years. For residential buildings, there is hardly any increase in cost. This important proposition is enabling stakeholders adopt IGBC green building rating systems. IGBC within a short spell of time could demonstrate a clear business case for green buildings. This in many ways could be one of the major milestones of IGBCs green building movement. Today, constructing a green building is technically feasible and economically viable

As on October 2018, over 4,800 green building projects, covering various building types including  commercials, residential, schools, hospitals, railway stations, cities villages, etc., are adopting IGBC green building standards. IGBC aspires that the place we live, work, study, play, commute, travel and all other forms of built environment should go the green way and in the process facilitate in building a greener and healthier India.

IGBC has facilitated market transformation for green building products and technologies. Earlier, manufactures were shy of discussing on the recycle or recyclable content of their products. IGBC with the support of the stakeholders could bring about a change in the way a produce is viewed & perceived.

Today, manufactures are willingly indicating how green their product or technology is and indicating recycle or recyclable content of their products. Further, today, most of the green building products & technologies which we had to earlier import and now readily available within the Country. IGBC estimates the market potential for green building products and technologies to be about USD 300 Billion by 2025.

There is growing acceptance and demand for green buildings. Stakeholders are keen to know how their building is or how green their product / technology is? The end users started demanding for green features in products apart from the regular criteria for selection of products such as quality, cost, etc.,Building on this imperative, CII has launched Green Product Certification. The main objective is to facilitate green product market transformation in the country through certification. As on date, CII has certified over 400 products as GreenPro and many other products are in the pipeline.

India ranks 2nd after the US in terms of number of green technology projects and built-up area – however, this number represents only 5% of the total buildings in India – How is IGBC addressing this concern?

IGBC through its multi-pronged approach could facilitate India in becoming the second country in the world in terms of largest registered green building footprint. History was created when CII- Godrej GBC building in Hyderabad gained the unique distinction in becoming India’s first platinum rated green building. This in many ways was a landmark movement in the annals of 21st century green building movement in India. This demonstration green building triggered the green building movement and within a spell of about 15 years, over 6.3 billion sq.ft of green building footprint are going the green way with IGBC.

Now Green building movement is fully robust and dynamic. Though the number represent 5% of the total buildings in India, we should acknowledge and appreciate the fact that various building types are adopting IGBC green building standards with projects spread across the five climatic zones of the country and with projects spread across the length and breadth of the country.  IGBC through it’s over 24 local chapters is taking the green building movement across the country including tier-II and tier- III cites. Green building movement in India is for exciting times.

IGBC foresees that the next 10 years will be the decade of integrated sustainable built environment. This will mostly be in the form of large integrated townships, satellite cities, campuses with mixed land use pattern. This presents an enormous opportunity to design all urban habitats as green from day one and influence the way of life of people who live in such cities. The new chapter 11 on ‘Approach to Sustainability’ in ”National Building Code 2016′ has helped in bringing green regulations as part of building regulatory framework. The green incentives like additional FAR / FSI and other incentives have further given the green building movement, a fillip.



The increased thrust given for smart cities by the Government is indeed a step in the right direction, and augurs well for sustainable urban development of the country. All the upcoming cities must be designed in such a way that they are future ready and meet the growing urban needs.

IGBC has launched exclusive rating systems for greening of cities, townships. Today cities including Amravati, Dholera, and Kolkata New Town are adopting IGBC green building standards. In days to come, many such townships with vast footprint by design will go green.  IGBC is now looking beyond green buildings. Its focus is now on greening of various forms of built environment. Therefore, IGBC has launched over 22 fully indigenized green building rating systems to suit various building types. IGBC will continue to launch more such rating to address other building types and built environment needs.

IGBCs various outreach programmes including- Green Building Congress, Advanced Training Programmes, Students Chapters, World Green Building Week celebrations, partnerships, projects are all designed to further accelerate the spread and growth of the green building movement in the country. The day is not far in India, when by design all buildings will be green.

We are fully geared to be Numro Uno on Green Building Certification by covering 10 billion sqft of green footprint in the next four years, by 2022 with India@75.

Environmental Benefits of IGBC green buildings

Bringing in sustainable elements into a construction also requires a higher level of skilled managers, consultants, etc. How is IGBC addressing this issue?

IGBC understanding the imperative that India needs scores of green building professionals who can handhold various types of green building projects is regularly involved in capacity building and skill development of various professionals. Advanced training programme on green buildings, in-house training programme for officials, organizing awareness sessions are some of the strategies adopted by IGBC.

Events like Green Building Congress and other subject related conferences like green homes, green schools, green existing buildings, World Green Building Week celebrations also serve an excellent platform to share and learn some of the best practices in green buildings and green built environment. IGBC local chapters also conducts various capacity building sessions, orientation programmes, green building missions with various stakeholders across the country.

Taking forward this multi-pronged approach of capacity building, IGBC has launched the online IGBC Accredited Professional (AP) Exam. IGBC AP is a credential for professionals to participate in green building projects.  The examination is not based on any specific rating system. It is designed to test the knowledge of a candidate on green building design and construction. The IGBC AP strength is currently over 3,200 and this will be 10,000 plus by 2019 end.

Qualified individuals would be involved in projects registered under the ‘IGBC rating programmes’ like IGBC Green Homes, IGBC Factory buildings, IGBC Existing Buildings etc., Projects would achieve one credit point under ‘Innovation and Design’ category if an IGBC AP is part of the project team.

What institutes a green building as per IGBC, and what are the benefits of being certified by IGBC?

“A green building is one which uses less water, improves energy efficiency, conserves natural resources, generates less waste and provides healthier spaces for occupants, as compared to a conventional building.”

Appended are illustrative green building features

Broadly, following are the benefits (not limited to) of being certified by IGBC

  • Lower operating expenses
    1. 40 to 50 % savings in electricity consumption as compared to a conventional building
    2. 20 to 30% savings in water consumption
  • Addresses National Priorities: conservation of natural resources, water efficiency, and energy efficiency, handling of municipal waste and health & well-being of the citizens.
  • Intangible benefits: enhanced ventilation and better views & daylighting
  • Enhanced health & productivity of occupants
  • New Business opportunities
  • Customer demanding green spaces
  • Green Brand image
  • Attracting environmentally conscious customers
  • Pride & satisfaction

How is IGBC promoting the development of smart and sustainable cities, townships and infrastructure?

It is estimated that country’s building stock is all set to grow 100 Billion Sq.ft by 2030 and here lies great opportunity for India to construct all the upcoming projects as Smart Green Cities by design and set new global standards in design, construction and operation. IGBC also shifted gears to move from green buildings to green built environment.

A step towards this direction is the launch of IGBC Green Cities Rating System and IGBC Green Township Rating Systems. All these rating systems are designed to address National priorities including- include conservation of natural resources, water efficiency, energy efficiency, handling of municipal waste and health & well-being of the citizens. IGBC rating system would enable the development authorities and developers to apply green concepts and planning principles, so as to reduce environmental impacts that are measurable and improve the overall quality of life.

As on date, over 45 projects are adopting IGBC Green Township Rating Systems and 7 cities are adopting IGBC Green Cities Rating System.  IGBC rated projects would reap the following benefits

  • Efficient land use planning
  • Habitat preservation & restoration
  • Efficient mobility management
  • Efficient use of resources
  • Enhanced quality of life
  • Effective waste management practices

IGBC is also partnering with the Government in 100 Smart Cities Mission in facilitating a Smarter, Greener and Healthier India. This initiative is indeed a game changer and usher in a paradigm shift in the way cities are conceived and designed.


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