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Live n Work in Green Buildings

Buying a flat? Go in for a certified green building…

If you are contemplating purchase of a residential flat or an office space in one of India’s major cities, here’s something that you can do help the environment as well as gain ‘life-friendly’ advantages for yourself: Buy the flat or office in a certified green building!

Green buildings have environment-friendly features like cross-ventilation design, green open spaces in compound, energy-efficient lighting like LED, solar energy panels on rooftops, dual-flushing toilets & low-flow taps, bore-well water for toilets, rain water harvesting, waste segregation systems, sewage treatment, waste-watert recycling, treated water for gardening etc.  As a result, green buildings provide healthier living through benefits like maximum fresh air, enhanced natural light, saving in energy consumption by 20% to 30%, saving in water consumption by 30-50%, generation of lesser waste and more.

Even though green buildings may cost 5% higher, the lower occupational cost pays back the extra cost in a few years. Since these buildings have a longer life-span the total ownership cost, including maintenance, over the life cycle of the property would be lower than regular buildings.

Green buildings - Certification and incentives…

Green building rating systems check a building's conformity to the guidelines and on these being met, appropriate raing is awarded. The rating systems currently present in India are listed in Resources section below.

Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai is discussing a plan with Indian Green Building Council to consider giving discount up to 20% on property tax for certified green buildings. Civic and State bodies in Noida, Chandigarh and West Bengal are granting 5-10% additional floor space for green buildings at the stage of construction.

Since simpler green norms will result in better compliance by builders, the Union Environment Ministry is contemplating a reduction in number of environmental conditions to be fulfilled by builders from 24 to 12. It is also likely that powers of approval are delegated to states and local authorities. These initiatives should lead to smarter energy usage in India's new buildings.

Improve energy efficiency of existing buildings...

An existing building's structure can also be modified to satisfy the requirements of a green rating. One of the companies providing this service is Smart Joules Pvt Ltd (www.smartjoules.co.in) which deploys hardware and software solutions to reduce electricity consumption by 15-20% in existing buildings. They achieve this by dynamically optimised air-conditioning, lighting and other energy-consuming systems in the building.

Even if you do not live in a green building, it is possible for you to improve energy efficiency in your residential flat by fitting LED lights in place of CFL lights as well as by opting for BEE 5-star rated air-conditioner, refrigerator, washing machine and oven.

Resources
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1. Indian Green Building Council (IGBC)

This is an affiliate of US Green Building Council and awards LEED rating depending upon the extent to which the stipulations are met. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy & Environment Design.

LEED ratings (in ascending order): Silver, Gold, Platinum

2. Indian Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE)

They follow the Energy Conservation Building Code (ECBC). BEE has developed a Star Rating programme for buildings which is based on the actual performance of a building in terms of its specific energy usage in kwh/sq.m./year.

Ratings: 1-5 Star scale, with 5 Star labelled buildings being the most efficient.

3. Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment (GRIHA)

Points are granted based on performance under 31 listed criteria. On the basis of total number of points won, rating is awarded for the building.

Ratings (in ascending order): One Star to Five Stars

 
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