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Build Green

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The tremendous growth in economic activity across the globe is placing pressure on natural and environmental resources causing an irreversible damage to environment. The rising concern for the environment in response to global warming is driving thinkers to seek sustainable solutions.

The real estate industry is a significant contributor to the global warming due to extensive emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) from the energy use in buildings. In some countries, the built environment accounts for about 40% of the energy used. Therefore, it is imperative for the industry to develop sustainable building technologies.

Building green means being more efficient during its construction and operational phase in the use of valuable resources such as energy, water, materials, and land than conventional building. The aim is to fundamentally change the built environment by creating energy-conscious, healthy, and productive buildings that reduce or minimise the significant impacts of buildings on urban life and global environments. In the Indian context, a building is ‘green’ when:

It is designed using an integrated approach

It provides its users with an ‘optimal’ level of comfort.

It uses minimum resources, sourced locally

It consumes minimum energy and water

It generates optimum waste that is processed locally

With an overall objective to reduce resource consumption, reduce GHG emissions and enhance the use of renewable and recycled resources by the building sector, Griha rating tool clubs various initiatives to help design, build, operate, and maintain a resource-efficient built environment. It evaluates the environmental performance of a building holistically over its entire life cycle. Some of its variants are Svagriha and Griha LD (for large developments).

Svagriha is a rating system for small homes, offices and commercial buildings with built-up area of less than 2500sqm. On the other hand, Griha LD is a rating system for planning green large developments like green campuses, townships and special economic zones.

Myths and Challenges

There are various myths regarding the green building implementation like, sustainability costs more, which ignores recent research as well as the reality that for any society to prosper, it must seek to create a healthy balance between its environmental, social and economic dimensions. Although green building has made tremendous strides in the past few years, some myths and misconceptions floating around are:

Green buildings often lack the aesthetic quality of conventional buildings

Green building products are often difficult to find

Green building products do not work as well as the traditional ones

Building green is too difficult and complicated

It is difficult or not possible to convert existing conventional buildings into energy efficient buildings

In reality, all it needs is better implementation and educating the people about the concepts and contexts of building green.

Another major constraint being faced by the real estate industry is the lack of incentives such as higher ‘Floor Area Ratio’ (FAR), tax incentive, hassle free and faster regulatory approval and funding which can motivate the real estate developers to construct green buildings.

Case Studies:

Indira Paryavaran Bhavan:

Built up area: 31,400sqm

This is a Net Zero Building which means that the building has zero net energy consumption where the total amount of energy used in the premises on an annual basis is more or less equal to the amount of renewable energy created on the site.

Total energy savings of about 40% has been achieved by adoption of energy efficient ‘chilled beam’ system of air-conditioning in the building. Air-conditioning is done by convection currents rather than air flow through diffusers and chilled water is circulated right up to the diffuser points unlike the conventional systems. Also, effective ventilation has been achieved by orientating the building in an East- West direction, separating different blocks with connecting corridors and having a large central court yard. The design is such that 75% of natural daylight is utilised to reduce energy consumption. With an installed capacity of 930 KW peak solar power, the building has the largest roof top solar system among multi storied buildings in India.

Green materials have been used like fly ash bricks, regional building materials, materials with high recycled content, high reflectance terrace tiles and rock wool insulation of outer walls. Reduction in water consumption has been achieved by use of low discharge water fixtures, recycling of waste water through sewage treatment plant, use of plants with low water demand in landscaping, use of geothermal cooling for HVAC system, rain water harvesting and use of curing compounds during construction. This is a 5-star GRIHA rated building which has achieved 67.3% reduction in energy consumption as compared to Griha benchmarks.

IOCL DO Office Building, Indore:

Built up area: 870sqm

This building makes use of passive architectural design. Incorporation of passive architectural techniques in a building design helps to minimise the load on conventional systems such as heating, cooling, ventilation and lighting. The building is designed in a way that it reduces direct heat gain, while maximising daylight penetration. Over 82% of total area falls under the day lit zone. Solar photovoltaic panels of 2kWP have been installed to meet the energy requirements. Building envelope has been optimised through selection of appropriate wall and roof construction to increase the thermal efficiency. Over 71% of the total open area on site is soft paved and shaded. Turf pavers have been used that allows vegetation growth and penetration of water. This is a 5 star Svagriha rated project.









Anshula A Kumar
Project Officer
GRIHA Council
Sustainable Habitat

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