Green Building: What makes a building green? Here’s what experts say

Do you know what a ‘green building’ is or when a building becomes a ‘green building’? Here’s a hint, it’s not when a building is painted in green colour.

Green Building: What makes a building green? Here’s what experts say
A building becomes ‘green’ when it suffices to certain standards like the use of renewal energy (Image: Pixabay)

Green building is a much broader concept. The term is used to refer to buildings that are built with recyclable materials and equipped with environment-friendly systems that can lead to the conservation of energy and resources. In India agencies like Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment (GRIHA) and Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) certify the buildings as “Green Buildings” on the basis of several set standard points of reference. A green building certificate not only increases the asset value but also enhances the probability of investment into the property. It also ensures productivity, health, comfort, and wellbeing of its occupants. Home buyers can identify a green building through this certificate.

A building becomes ‘green’ when it suffices to certain standards like the use of renewal energy like natural lighting or solar panels to harness solar energy, and proper water management by implementing efficient methods like rainwater harvesting or wastewater recycling. Design and architecture also play a vital role in ascertaining the green status of a building. Eco-friendly buildings mostly sport passive architecture techniques that ensure enough sunlight and ventilation.

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Another feature that makes a building ‘green’ is the use of natural or renewable construction materials like locally-produced bricks, bamboo, rammed-earth, terracotta, and wood (of fast-growing trees farmed for the purpose), as well as the use of non-toxic paints. There should also be efficient segregation and disposal of construction waste so that the effect of construction on the environment can be as minimized as possible.

Talking about Green Buildings Pratik Jain, founder & CEO of The Stallions said, “There are multiple criteria that a building need to fulfill to get the green certificate. A ‘green’ building is a building that, in its design, construction or operation, reduces or eliminates negative impacts, and can create positive impacts, on our climate and natural environment. There are different agencies in India like Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) and Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment that takes the final call on giving green certification to the building once they meet all the above-mentioned criteria.”

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Voicing a similar opinion, Vipin Mittal, CEO Projects, Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (India) said, “Certification from agencies like IGBC or IFCI ( Edge Advanced) certainly reflects the developer’s strong intent toward sustainability, however, it’s important to ensure that the means adopted to achieve these ratings actually result in an overall improvement in the quality of customers’ lives and reduction in maintenance expenses. Providing Double Glazed Windows to reduce heat transmission, Allocating large green spaces in the overall layout, Ensuring complete recycling of wastewater, and Being futuristic in providing Electric charge points for Electric Vehicles are some examples of ensuring direct benefits accruing to the customers because of Green building design. Mixed-use developments with proximity to quality education and healthcare, go a long way in improving the lives of the customers in a city like Mumbai. Given the abundance of renewable energy sources, India should have a vision of becoming the world leader in the usage of renewable energy, and developers can play a key role in achieving this. Solar is one area which can be easily adopted in buildings by using terrace areas for installing solar panels.”

Chetan Patel, Director, Gurukrupa Group, said, “It is a green building design evaluation system where buildings are rated in a three-tier process. More stars mean more energy efficiency. A building is considered green on the basis of multiple factors like an efficient use of resources, energy, and water in the buildings, the kind of materials used in construction, and upkeep is significant. It is imperative that environmental impacts should be considered while planning the layouts, new energy solutions which are powered by solar or wind are also key criteria of the green project on the basis of which buildings received their green certifications.”

Pratik Kataria, Director, Sainath Developers & President, Next Gen Committee, NAREDCO Maharashtra, talks about the importance of green building, and said, “Our Prime Minister has set a target of India making net zero carbon emissions by 2070. A few of his ‘Panchamrit’ (5 ways of achieving the goal) are “by 2030 India will fulfil 50 per cent of its energy requirement through renewable energy”, and “by 2030 India will bring down its carbon intensity of its economy by more than 45%”. To achieve this, as a Developer, I believe making Green Buildings would contribute immensely to this goal. It is expected that by the year 2023, at least 47% of Developers are planning to develop Green Buildings.

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