Green Buildings, Green Cities – a way of life

March 25, 2015 6:45 am0 commentsViews: 234

GREENBUILDINGBy S Raghupathy

Over the last decade, India has witnessed tremendous growth in infrastructural development. Today, the building and construction sector is one of the largest economic activities in India. The next 20 years would further witness exponential growth in the construction sector. As the sector grows rapidly, preserving the environment poses many challenges Therefore, the construction sector needs to play a vital role towards preservation of the environment. This at the same time off ers excellent opportunities for various stakeholders.
In light of this, a well planned integrated approach in designing our buildings and cities is the need of the hour. There is an imminent need to address issues like- clean air, easy transit and availability of basic necessities like power and water, etc.
In this regard, Green Buildings and green cities can play a catalytic role in addressing environmental issues and concerns in a holistic manner. The following are the benefi ts of green buildings:
Energy savings to the tune of 30 to 40 %
Water savings to the tune of 20 to 30%
Zero waste during construction & operation Intangible benefi ts:
Enhanced ventilation
Enhanced views and day lighting
Increased health and safety for occupants
Improved productivity of occupants

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Further, adopting and promoting Green Buildings and green cities will facilitate – effi cient land use, habitat preservation and restoration, effi cient transportation management and waste management.
More importantly, Green Buildings and green cities will signifi cantly enhance the quality of life. The place that we live in has a profound eff ect on our lives. People have a natural predisposition to feel better and perform better in livable and safe environments.
Ensuring the well-being, health and comfort of occupants have been the top priority of IGBC. Based on this cardinal, IGBC with the support of the stakeholders develops Green Building Rating Systems which are holistic in nature and ensures well-being, health and comfort of the occupants. Over the years, IGBC Green Building Rating Systems has successfully enabled the end-users to reap the immense benefi ts of well-being facilities such as – landscaping, recreational facilities, yoga and meditation, healthy food habits.

GREENBUILDING_5As on January 2015, over 3,000 green building projects, amounting to over 2.63 billion sq.ft are going the IGBC way making India the second country in the world with largest green building footprint. Various types of buildings including airports, banks, colleges, convention centres, factories, hospitals, hotels, institutions, existing buildings, IT Parks, offi ces, residential houses, schools, SEZs, townships are going the IGBC way. The reason for this signifi cant progress is the fact that Green Buildings make good business sense.

Though the incremental cost of a commercial green building would be about 3 to 5 per cent higher over that of a conventional building, the additional costs gets paid back in less than three years through a substantial reduction in operational costs.

GREENBUILDING_3Energy savings in Green Buildings
One of the signifi cant feature of Green Buildings is its energy savings and management. Buildings can reduce energy consumption through building design, envelope, lighting systems, appliances, energy monitoring, etc. Green Buildings save energy to the tune of 30 to 40 per cent when compared with conventional building designs. This indeed is an excellent value proposition for stakeholders to go the green way. IGBC Green Townships Rating System

The development of ‘IGBC Green Townships Rating System’ is a major milestone in the green building movement. Under this Rating System, cities are evaluated on environmental planning, land use planning, resources management and community development. This in turn would address national priorities.

Application of IGBC Green Township rating system in large developments would address national priorities leading to benefi ts, such as effi cient land use, habitat preservation and restoration, effective transport management, effi cient use of resource and enhanced quality of life for occupants.

Green city developments are benefi cial to individuals and the community. Mixed land use and compact planning are characteristic of green development, which reduces dependency on automobiles and associated Greenhouse emissions. Further, green cities promote the creation of diverse, connected, affordable, safe and healthy communities that enhance social interaction and ownership.

The outdoor air quality is enhanced by providing landscaped areas, encouraging the use of clean fuels for vehicles. Noise levels are reduced by provision of a vegetative buff er. Green Buildings and energy effi cient infrastructure further aid in reducing the Greenhouse gas emissions. Public landscaped areas, walkable streets, bicycle lanes, community gardens and public spaces encourage physical activity and help in improving public health.

GREENBUILDING_2Encouraging young minds to go the Green way
IGBC aspires that the student community in the country should have access to a dust-free environment, good sanitation, natural lighting and ventilation, hygiene and general awareness on the principles of protecting our nature. This would go a long way in preparing young children for a future that would be bright, challenging and prosperous.

As part of its initiative, IGBC has launched ‘IGBC Green Schools Rating System. This rating programme is a tool to facilitate schools to go green, thereby transforming young minds. The main objective to launch IGBC Green Schools Rating System is developing as many green schools as possible along with the support of industry.

The school rating system is unique in the sense that it addresses eco-education, health and hygiene apart from infrastructure facilities, energy efficiency, water conservation and waste management. Aspects like nutrition, physical activity and safety are also addressed.

Green schools can have tremendous benefi ts, both tangible and intangible. Tangible benefi ts include reduction in water and energy consumption. Intangible benefi ts include health and well-being of children, enhanced air quality and excellent day lighting.

Market transformation
As a result of the green building movement, the demand for ecofriendly products and technologies have grown signifi cantly. It is estimated that by 2025, the market potential for green building products and technologies will be about USD 300 billion. There is a great opportunity for those involved in design and construction. A host of green technologies and materials like waterless urinals, CO2 sensors, VOC paints and coatings, high performance glass, wall and roof insulation, High CoP chillers etc, are today becoming widely accepted and are now being manufactured locally. Reuse of old materials, which many architects earlier would not even discuss, is gaining due importance in their design philosophy.

CIIGodrejGBCThe author is Executive Director, CII-Godrej GBC.

The Green Building experience in India has been exciting and inspiring. Since its introduction in 2001, the green building concept has emerged as a very useful tool in designing sustainable habitats. Today, IGBC with the support of all the stakeholders has demonstrated a clear business case for green buildings. The steady increase in several stakeholders embracing the green path bears testimony to this fact. The need of the hour is to further accelerate the adoption and promotion of Green Buildings which not only address national priorities, but also signifi cantly improve the quality of the life of occupants and in the process facilitate a greener and healthier India.

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