Laying foundations of a world of green buildings in India

by Dave

The Financial Express

Green construction is getting popular by the day. Today, green buildings covering 67 million sq ft are being constructed all over the country, up from the 20,000 sq ft in 2003, according to the CII-Godrej Green Building Council, Hyderabad. The figure is expected to be one billion sq ft by 2014.

Developed by the US Green Building Council, LEED or the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design is a green building rating system, which has standards for environmentally sustainable construction.

Green buildings are costlier than conventional buildings because builders typically factors in the extra costs incurred in procuring eco-friendly material, glazed glass, twin flow toilets, solar paneling etc. In the longer run, green buildings prove cheaper, though. Explains Jain, “Green buildings are 3-20% costlier to construct, but it gets paid back in 3-7 years.”

While every 20,000 sq ft of a centrally air-conditioned shopping mall or commercial complex consumes about 150-160 units of power per hour, green buildings consume about 30-50% less energy and 30-70% less water with the help of eco-friendly material, better design and maintenance and waste disposal, resulting in reduction of operating costs for such buildings.

Green buildings also helpful in the fight against climate change. Says Varun Pahwa, vice-president, business development, Dessicant Rotors International, “Buildings are energy-guzzlers and account for 30-40% of global energy use. It means improving energy efficiency itself can help reduce global warming.”

As on date, over 320 green building projects—both commercial and
residential—spread over 240 million sq ft have been registered with the
council. The number of LEED certified buildings stands at 30.

Prem Chand Jain, chairman, IGBC, “The green building movement in the
country is well poised to grow exponentially and offer both tangible
and intangible benefits to builders and end users.” The IGBC has a
target of 1,000 LEED certified buildings by 2010.