India’s economic liberalization over the past 6-7 years has brought with it not only tremendous growth, but also an ever-increasing demand for infrastructure and higher per capita income, increasing an individual’s purchasing power. This, in turn, has led to tremendous growth in every sector, such as in agriculture, industry, the Indian Stock Market and Real Estate. Real Estate is broadly defined in terms of requirements of land parcels, requirements of housing units (both low-cost as well as high-end) and requirements of commercial Office space etc. This growth in every sector has put immense pressure on the basic infrastructure availability such as electricity, water, sanitation and roads.
Requirement of electricity and clean & safe water is increasing at an alarming rate. An interesting fact is that the per capita consumption of electricity in India is 660 kWh per annum, compared to the world average of 2500 kWh per annum. This low consumption in India is due to lack of power infrastructure development over the past years; leaving almost 600 million Indians deprived the proper amount of electricity. India has the 4th largest installed capacity of wind power in the world, but the mainstay of power generation is Coal based. This adds to environmental impact due to release of GHG (Green House Gases). Thus, over the past couple of years, there has been a major thrust to develop clean energy such as hydro-electric, solar, wind etc.
Buildings in general account for about 65% of electricity consumption and are the largest consumers of water. Thus, for the last decade or so, there has been a major thrust towards reducing this percentage so that there is some respite of resource demands. World over, Governments are emphasizing the need to “go green” in this segment, be it home, Offices or industries). Moreover, this sector has the capability to achieve lower consumption patterns and hence achieve desired consumption levels.. All of this has led to a revolution known as “Green Building.”
A Green Building (alternatively called sustainable buildings) is an end result of a philosophy which focuses on higher efficiency in use of resources like energy, water and materials. The Green Building focuses on reducing building impacts on human health and our environment throughout its life cycle. This can be achieved through proper site selection, design, construction, operation and maintenance. The impact of building on the human health and environment is also reduced by:
- Efficiently using energy, water, and other resources
- Protecting occupant health and improving employee productivity
- Reducing waste, pollution and environmental degradation
- Use of recycled and environmentally friendly products
The appearance of a green building is similar to that of any other building except that a green building provides greater comfort to humans, is safer in terms of air quality, increases human productivity and increases the life span of the fast depleting natural resources. Another differentiating factor is the reduced cost of operation and the maintenance of the Green Building.
‘A Green building should create delight when entered, serenity and health when occupied and regret when departed’ – Perhaps this is one of the most inspiring definitions of a Green building, articulated in the book ‘Natural Capitalism’ (Ref IGBC Article – Green building movement in India)
Green Building design philosophy broadly emphasis on:
- Site selection and building orientation including its shape.
- Indoor Air quality in the building
- Energy efficiency for the entire building
- Use of recyclable materials
- Water efficiency
- Innovative design
There are different agencies across the world providing ratings to the Green Buildings. Some of the popular agencies are:
- USGBC (United States Green Building Council) rating system known as LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design).
- BREEAM (BRE Environment Assessment Method), popular in UK.
- GRIHA is indigenously developed by TERI (The Energy Research Institute), India and is adopted by the Government of India as officially recognized rating system.
- There are many other rating systems followed by different countries developed indigenously but the most popular among all is the USGBC – LEED rating system.
There are different methodologies in rating a Green Building. LEED rates the building as “Certified / Silver / Gold and the highest being Platinum.” GRIHA rates the building as “One star / Two stars / Three stars / Four stars and the highest being Five stars.” Higher the rating better is the building in terms of Green Building design philosophy, construction, operation and maintenance.
Benefits of a Green Building: A Green Building has both tangible and intangible benefits. The most immediate tangible benefit is the immediate reduction in operating energy and water costs. The energy savings could range from 25 – 40 % depending on the extent of green specifications. Other tangible savings would be reduction in first costs and enhanced asset value. Intangible benefits of Green Buildings include increasing productivity of occupants’ health, safety benefits and a green corporate image. Several Corporate are now seeing Green Building Rating as a tool to enhance marketability (Ref IGBC Article – Green building movement in India).
The Green building movement in India and all over the world has gathered pace through the years and as of now there are over 410 buildings registered for certification and over 50 certified buildings in India alone, totaling to over 275 million square feet of Green Building footprint.
RSI’s involvement in the Green Building Movement
The commitment and dedication of RSI’s Senior Management in making our workspaces more environmentally friendly is apparent during the construction of our own new facility. We have taken it upon ourselves to ensure that our facility meets the highest rating (Platinum) under the LEED building ratings, as part of our green initiative. It is also our endeavor to make this building one of the best in Bangalore’s anrchitectural landscape. Some of the salient features being planned for the facility are:
- Contemporary architecture, with greater emphasis on energy efficiency.
- Building is oriented towards north such that heat ingress in the building is minimized.
- Maximum harnessing of day light into the building.
- Building uses environmental friendly materials.
- Energy efficient central air conditioning and electrical system.
- Building security system.
- In-house treatment of sewage for re-use in the building.
- Common facilities such as cafeteria, gym, etc are being considered.
- Energy efficient glass facade is being planned to further reduce heat ingress in the building.