Green Buildings 101
Contrary to the popular belief, a green building is not just about vegetation that grows in and around it, but also about reducing consumption of energy and resources it has over its 30-50-year lifespan.
In India, green buildings are certified through third-party agencies. These include the Indian Green Building Council, Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment Council, the U.S. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and in some cases the International Finance Corporation’s EDGE. Buildings are rated in multiple tiers depending on several factors.
“These ratings have a lot of emphasis on energy efficiency and conservation,” Sunita Purshottam, head of sustainability at Mahindra Lifespaces Developers, said. “The broad buckets of considerations include energy, waste, water, building materials, indoor air quality and how you are developing the site.”
She likened the ratings to how packaged food products use a green or red dot to denote whether the ingredients are vegetarian or contain meat. “They are to help the buyers make informed decisions.”
GRIHA Council CEO Sanjay Seth said green buildings have a mix of active and passive features.
From a buyer’s perspective, that means having power from renewables, water reuse for toilet flushes, low-flow taps to cut wastage, segregated garbage collection, facades that reduce heat, cross ventilation to reduce the use of air conditioners, and concrete that has lower carbon footprint, among others.