Prem C Jain
Sustainable buildings have been the way of life in India for centuries. All the ancient structures were skillfully built, using locally available resources and incorporating features in harmony with Nature.

All our ancient places of worship, palaces & homes were conceived and built as Green Buildings. For instance, The Kashi Vishwanath Temple in the City of Varanasi, and The Taj Mahal in Agra, are excellent examples of this approach.

Historically, we worshipped the five elements of Nature (Panchabhutas) and people from all walks of life practiced austerity in all that they consumed; this in today's context signifies 'Green'. Infact going the greener way is intrinsically imbibed and is a part of our ethos.

The need of the hour is to re-discover our past and build on our vibrant ancient concepts like Jaali systems, domed structures, water management practices, traditional cooling systems and the use of local materials. In light of this, blending ancient practices with modern state-of-the-art technological innovations, will go a long way in designing of innovative and futuristic buildings, which are ecologically superior and economically viable.

Adopting green design and construction practices would facilitate not only lower energy consumption, lesser material utilization and reduced emissions, but will also result in improved quality of life for the occupants. Green buildings, intrinsically, result in the energy consumption reduction by 30–40%, fresh water consumption reduction by 20–30%, and simultaneously eliminate all waste from going to dumping grounds.

IGBC Green Building Rating Systems

Spearheading the green building movement in India since 2001, is the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC), which is a part of CII. A major milestone in the green building movement in India, is the launch of IGBC Green Building Rating Systems.

IGBC believes that each building type needs a different kind of design approach. To this end, IGBC has launched the following Green Building Rating Systems:
  1. IGBC Green Homes
  2. IGBC Green New Buildings
  3. IGBC Green Schools
  4. IGBC Green Existing Buildings
  5. IGBC Green Factory Buildings
  6. IGBC Green Townships
  7. IGBC Green Mass Rapid Transit System
  8. IGBC Green Landscape
  9. IGBC Green SEZ
All IGBC Rating Systems have been developed in accordance with the holistic approach of Panchabhutas, and are a perfect blend of ancient architectural practices with modern technological innovations. IGBC rating systems have evolved so as to be comprehensive and at the same time user-friendly.

Wipro Software Development Block Pune
Wipro Software Development Block – 4, Hinjewadi, Pune – Gold Certified

As a result of concerted efforts, today over 3,000 green building projects, amounting to over 2.65 billion sqft, are going the IGBC way- making India the second country in the world with largest green building footprint. These projects are spread across the five climatic zones of the country.

IGBC Green Building Rating Systems enable the designer to apply integrated green concepts and reduce environmental impacts that are measurable. The Rating Systems address the most important national priorities which include water conservation, waste management, energy efficiency, reduced use of fossil fuels and lesser dependence on usage of virgin materials.

The focus is on promoting materials that are repeatedly re-used. This would facilitate in bringing the demand for virgin materials down, and would add new lease of life to the used materials. Today many of the IGBC rated homes and commercial buildings are able to integrate old and used materials, without compromising on aesthetics, safety, and environment.

IGBC Green Building Rating Systems encourage project teams to adopt energy modeling and other software techniques to explore various design options, material specifications, equipment & control systems.

Health & Wellbeing

The need and importance of promoting health, comfort and wellbeing is assuming greater significance today. IGBC Green Building Rating Systems have addressed the issues of comfort through maintaining the right temperature, relative humidity and fresh air flow. Health is also addressed through concepts such as 'walk to work', encouraging green spaces and use of materials that are non-toxic (low or no VOC).

Following are some of the concepts, which have been incorporated in many of the green buildings:
  • Organic farming & healthy food habits
  • Fresh air & ventilation for health and comfort
  • Welfare facilities for construction workforce
  • All conveniences for differently-abled people
  • Walk to work (no vehicles for transport)
  • Acoustic comfort
  • Enhancing green spaces
  • Occupied areas with adequate daylighting & outdoor views
  • Use of eco-friendly housekeeping cleaners
BCIL Bangalore
BCIL, Bangalore – Green Homes Platinum Rating

The way forward

IGBC foresees that the next 10 years will be the decade of integrated sustainably built environment. This will mostly be in the form of green & smart cities, large integrated townships, satellite cities, and campuses with mixed land use pattern.

The increased thrust given for smarter cities by the Government is indeed a step in the right direction, and augurs well for sustainable urban development of the country. This presents an enormous opportunity to design all urban habitats as green from day one, and influences the way of life of people who would live in such cities. All the upcoming cities must be designed in such a way that they are future ready and meet the growing urban needs.

The report titled – 'The Business Case for Green Buildings – underlines that by greening our built environment at the neighborhood and city scales, the green building industry can facilitate our large-scale economic priorities. The report underlines that the benefits of going the green way include climate change mitigation, energy security, resource conservation and job creation, long-term resilience and enhanced quality of life.

Head Office Building, Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation – Gold Certified

Hence, going the green way will not only improve efficiency and competitiveness, but will also enable to build a low carbon economy in India and globally. The need of the hour is to aggressively promote green buildings and paint the country green. By going the green way, we are doing good to ourselves and to our future generations.

Concerted efforts have to be made which would go a long way in enhancing the quality of life and facilitate in providing sustainably built environment for all. IGBC would work with all the stakeholders in facilitating India to emerge as one of the global leaders in green buildings.