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Building up to a greener residential sector in India

Since the Indian Green Building Council’s (IGBC) formation by CII (Confederation of Indian Industry) in 2001, our mission has been to enable a “Sustainable built environment for ALL”. We believe this vision can only be holistically achieved if sustainability is truly addressed in the residential sector.

Green Homes

In this light, IndiaGBC launched the Green Homes Rating in 2008, the first rating programme developed in India, exclusively for the residential sector. To date, more than 1.5 billion sq. ft of green building space is being developed under this rating, equivalent to more than 1,800 projects, 13,00,000 dwelling units and innumerable happier, healthier families. Over 500 developers have adopted the Green Homes Rating so far. These projects are being developed in approximately 175 towns and cities of India.

The Green Homes rating is comprehensive in scope, yet simple in implementation. It is based on accepted energy and environmental principles and strikes a balance between known established practices and emerging concepts. Tangible benefits documented from projects rated include energy savings of up to 30% and water savings of up to 50%. Meanwhile, intangible benefits include better health and well-being among occupants and improved air quality.

Since the launch of the Green Homes Rating a decade ago, IndiaGBC has signed MOUs with the Confederation of Real Estate Developers Association of India (CREDAI), Builders Association of India (BAI) and National Housing Bank (NHB), two of India’s largest building associations. As part of these MoUs, IndiaGBC has trained over 20,000 professionals in green building concepts.

Green Affordable Housing

While rapid urbanisation, growing cities provide various opportunities but there are fallouts in terms of proliferation of slums, expensive land and building materials which render houses unaffordable for the segment at the bottom of the pyramid. The Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation (MoHUPA) has estimated a housing shortage of 18.78 million during the 12th Five Year Plan (FYP) period, of which over 95% of this housing shortage is estimated in the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) and Low-Income Group (LIG) categories. The Government of India plans to provide ‘Housing for All’ by 2022, when India completes 75 years of independence.

While we create housing for these sections of society, they need to be green too. They also need to handle waste in a hygienic manner to avoid the outbreak of epidemics, reduce use of virgin materials, focus on low cost construction techniques and, above all, enhance the occupants’ quality of lives. They should also reduce their monthly electric and water bills. With this in mind, IndiaGBC launched the Green Affordable Housing Rating in 2017.

The overarching objective of the rating tool is to ensure a high degree of sustainability with no / meagre additional cost to the developer or the occupant. Therefore, the approach is to selectively adopt those green measures that are simple and yet have profound impacts in conserving the environment. Over the past year, 16 EWS (Economically Weaker Sections) and LIG (Lower Income Group) residential projects have adopted IndiaGBC’s Green Affordable Housing Rating.

Green Residential Societies

Residential developments form a substantial part of India’s built environment. After construction, residential facilities are handed over to the societies / associations to operate and maintain. There are millions of residential facilities where tremendous opportunities exist to enhance energy and water efficiency, thereby reducing the maintenance costs. Resident welfare communities can also be vibrant by providing good outdoor spaces, vegetation, recreational facilities, toilets and other facilities. In response, the IndiaGBC launched the Green Residential Societies Rating in 2015.

This rating program is a set of guidelines for Residential societies to implement measures that will reduce the consumption of natural resources. It aims to enable existing residential developments to incorporate and monitor the environmentally friendly concepts that would result in multiple benefits for residents. To date, 50 residential societies across India, equivalent to approximately 20 million sq ft, have adopted the rating.

IndiaGBCs’ range and reach

Green projects from North to South (Kashmir to Andaman) and East to West (Shillong to Surat) on India have adopted IndiaGBC’s green rating systems. IndiaGBC has also touched the lives of people from all sections of society – be it the residents of IndiaGBC-rated Green Homes and Green Affordable Housing projects, students studying in Green Schools, commuters travelling through Green Metro, Railway stations and Green Airports, workers in Green Offices and Green Factories and finally, citizens living in IndiaGBC-rated Green Townships and Green Cities.

Apart from the sustainability approaches in building design and construction, IndiaGBC remains always at the forefront of trend-setting through the introduction of green standards on emerging concepts like net zero building and health and wellbeing.  IndiaGBC rated green spaces have seamlessly connected the five elements of nature with our five senses and above all, provided a better quality of life to millions.

IndiaGBC’s biggest success is that thousands of environmentally responsible stakeholders recommit themselves everyday as green crusaders in the mission to make India a world leader in green built environment.

Anand Muthukrishna is Principal Counsellor​ at the Indian Green Building Council