Green rating for small projects in India!January 17, 2012 / By
The conceptual execution of green buildings in India is still considered to be in its emerging stages, while the Indian vernacular architecture focuses on construction of climate friendly houses. However, in recent times the popularity of green buildings in India has found more favour on account of the green rating that the buildings achieve. Most of the green buildings are marketed based on the rating they have achieved, be it IGBC LEED India or GRIHA – the two major rating systems in the country or international rating system LEED by USGBC. Interestingly, these rating systems are not only for large projects such as townships and industrial buildings but also for small projects such as residential buildings and other small size commercial buildings.
IGBC (Indian Green buildings Council) launched Green Home Rating System for residential projects which include individual homes, high rise residential apartments, gated communities, row houses and existing residential buildings which retrofit and redesign. GRIHA (Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment) by TERI (The Energy Research Institute) launched SVAGRIHA (Small Versatile Affordable GRIHA) for projects with built up area less than 2500 sqm. SVAGRIHA includes design and evaluation of individual residences and small commercial buildings. Projects with small area have a cumulative effect on the environment as they the use a significant amount of energy and water. The rating system is expected to help these buildings to earn carbon credits based on their energy savings. This will add to the value of the building along with a reduction in operational costs. Therefore, these ratings are expected to generate more encouragement for the development of green buildings.
IGBC Green Home Rating System focuses on residential buildings. It evaluates on criteria such as sustainable sites, water and energy efficiency, indoor environment and innovation for certification. SVAGRIHA is an affordable rating system and a design and rating tool. SVAGRIHA will help a registered project with sustainable design solution where required and rate it accordingly. It evaluates on criteria such as passive architectural design, fenestration (the design and placement of windows in a building) design, artificial lighting, rainwater harvesting, innovation and usage of renewable energy.
The green foot print is increasing consistently in India. The increasing awareness about sustainability and increasing energy costs are driving the development of green buildings in India. From a mere 20,000 sq ft in 2003 it has increased to about 1 billion sq ft in 2011. This is expected to increase even further with the introduction of rating for small projects such as IGBC Green Home Rating System and SVAGRIHA. Small real estate projects form a very large part of real estate development in India and have a significant impact on the carrying capacity of land and its resources. If these small projects consistently and slowly start adopting sustainability principles in their design to get rated so that they can earn carbon credits, this will definitely have a significant, positive impact on the efficient usage of resources and reduce carbon foot print and in turn increase the green foot print.