Think, Design and Build Green

Think Design and Build Green

To usher in a Green Building Revolution, save energy and water and increase the productivity of the people working in the building, builders, architects and landscape designers are trying their best to protect the green environment by designing and constructing buildings accordingly, says Mariya Rasheeda.

The natural environment is the most precious resource we have as it sustain all forms of life on the earth. Due to the mismanagement of the environment many socio-economic problems have cropped up. To overcome these problems the World Green Building Council, a top global not-for-profit organization is working to transform the property industry towards sustainability. India is also one of its members. The Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) is in the process of indigenizing the LEED Green Building Rating System to suit India. The IGBC mission is to usher in a green building revolution in India and to become one of the world leaders in green building by 2010. So, we can say that green is making its way everywhere and it is very much the in thing now!

Think Design and Build Green
India does not have the long standing tradition for environmentally friendly buildings that we find in European countries. As the development has commenced, and the country has its first green building, the CII-Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Center in Hyderabad (India). This green building uses natural lighting while maintaining pleasant temperatures through air-conditioning inbuilt into the construction. Aerated concrete blocks have been used for facades, while use of imported double glazed glass stops substantial sunlight and heat from coming in, resulting in an overall 50 percent saving in energy consumption for air-conditioning and 80 percent saving in lighting in comparison to a normal building. The building has been rated on its water efficiency, sustainability of site, energy efficiency, efficient use of materials and resources, and quality of indoor environment.

Following the example set by the CII-Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Centre, which won the coveted Platinum award from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), three buildings have subsequently achieved this rating.

The ITC Centre (of ITC Ltd.) in Gurgaon became the second building in the country to achieve a Platinum rating from the USGBC. ITC is the first corporate house in India to have achieved this unique international distinction.

A few of the salient green features incorporated in the building are: Zero water discharge, 53% energy savings over conventional building, 40% reduction in potable water use, use of treated gray water for flushing & landscaping, use of fly-ash in bricks & concrete, high efficiency equipment, eco-friendly housekeeping practices and a well-designed green education program.

On the same lines is Grundfos Building (of Grundfos India) in Chennai, which achieved Gold certification from the USGBC. Grundfos’ new building, is a brilliant example of green building in India today. It became the first Indian building project to be awarded a Gold prize at the Green Building Congress in New Delhi. The award was instituted by the US Green Building Council that strives to further buildings that are environmentally sound and healthy to live and work in. The chairman of the Indian Green Building Council estimates that green buildings could save up to 50 per cent on energy and water consumption and increase the productivity of the people in the buildings by 10 to 15 per cent. The Rs.60-million building in the IT corridor on the Old Mahabalipuram Road has been designed by Vineeta Badawe, an architect trained in Denmark.

The Wipro Software Development Centre in Gurgaon is another building to achieve the Platinum rating from the USGBC. According to Mr. Laxman K. Badiga, Corporate Vice-President and CIO, Wipro Technologies “Recognition like the Platinum Rating from the US Green Building Council for its Gurgaon Software Development Centre is only one milestone in this endeavor. There have been other achievements too, like the paper recycling unit at the company’s Electronics City campus, making note-pads for employees for the last six months. The Kochi Development Centre is likely to get Gold Rating from the US Green Building Council. There is also the conversion of canteen waste into bio-fuels at the Bangalore office.”

Think Design and Build Green

There are several other prestigious installations coming up across the country, like the North Delhi Power Ltd. (NDPL) also vying for this prestigious certification.

While platinum or gold ratings are laudable achievements, it is enough for a building to be simply “Certified” as a Green Building, as even that goes a long way in protecting the environment. Recognising this, several corporate giants in the country such as Tatas, Wipro, etc. have now taken the decision to ensure that all future constructions will be green buildings.

Most of the architects and property developers such as the Rahejas, the Hiranandanis and M/s. Lavasa Corporation have also taken up the Green cause seriously and are looking at ways of increasing their Green Footprints.

As the idea of green building is catching the imagination of the construction and real estate industry world wide, it is opening up new challenges and opportunities for everyone from architects, builders, materials and equipment suppliers to real estate developers, property operators and owners.

In order to propagate the idea of Green Buildings not only among property developers, but also among material manufacturers and suppliers in the construction industry in the country, the CII-Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Centre organises the Green Building Congress each year. This receives strong backing from national and international delegates. The objective of the Green Building Congress is to create awareness, to provide a platform for networking, to promote business opportunities and to facilitate market transformation of green products.

The construction of Green Buildings has now become the focus of attention for all, as industry knows that in future not being green, will be financially risky and not acceptable by community. Over 100 green buildings are already underway. Now green building projects are coming up as residential complexes, exhibition centers, hospitals, educational institutions, laboratories, information technology parks, airports, government buildings and corporate offices in Indian cities.

To set off the green-building revolution in India, a sort of green-building movement should be undertaken that may well end up transforming the built landscape in India and the way Indian live. The LEED-India ratings, is an important aspect of this development. India is the only country, other than Canada, to have licensed its green-building ratings programme from LEED US, developed by the United States Green Building Council. Clearly, a ratings standard is important as it helps to quantify the efforts of real-estate developers to incorporate environment-friendly material and methods in their construction

LEED-India, which has been developed by the Indian Green Building Council and is now being assessed by American reviewers, followed by LEED-US closely. Since more buildings in India have gensets to provide back-up power, LEED-India makes adherence to pollution-control norms a pre-requisite if a building is to be pronounced green. Also, with groundwater being such a scarce resource in India and the construction industry accounting for 10 per cent of water consumption, saving water is imperative and LEED-India proposes several new credits for doing so.

India will need more LEED-accredited professionals to catalyse local projects. More importantly, what India needs is manufacturers and suppliers of green-building materials - fly-ash cement products, recycled aggregate for concrete, recycled steel and tiles, low VOC (volatile organic compounds) paints and adhesives etc.

Merits of Green Building

  • 30 to 40 percent reduction in operating costs
  • Health and safety of building occupants
  • Enhanced comfort for occupants
  • Improved productivity of occupants
  • Imbibe best operational practices from day one
  • Incorporation–the–latest–technique and technologies
  • Minimize the demand on non-renewable resources
  • Maximizes the use of renewable sources of energy.
  • Provides comfortable and hygienic indoors.

Conclusion

Think Design and Build Green

The need to design a green building, the essence of which would be to address all these issues in an integrated and scientific manner. It is a known fact that it costs more to design and construct a green building. However, it is also a proven fact that it costs less to operate a green building that has tremendous environmental benefits and provides a better place for the occupants to live and work in. Thus, the challenge of a green building is to achieve all its benefits at an affordable cost. A green building depletes the natural resources to the minimum during its construction and operation. The aim of a green building design is to minimize the demand on non-renewable resources, maximize the utilization efficiency of these resources, and maximize the reuse, recycling and utilization of renewable resources. It maximizes the use of efficient building materials and construction practices; uses minimum energy to power itself; uses efficient equipment to meet its lighting, air-conditioning, and other needs; uses efficient waste and water management practices; and provides comfortable and hygienic indoor environment.

MGS Architecture November December 2007

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