It is estimated that a green home can save anywhere between 20 – 30 percent in energy costs and 30 – 50 percent in water usage. With a rising population and growing strains on natural resources, a sustainable outlook on construction is crucial in India, and across the world.
In one of RESET’s previous articles ‘Building India Sustainably’ the need for and importance of sustainable construction in India, particularly in the residential sector, was touched upon. Although this still has a long way to go, strides are being made – sustainable architecture and design have been gaining momentum in India.
Green buildings use less water, optimize energy efficiency, conserve natural resources, generate less waste and provide healthier spaces for occupants, as compared to conventional building constructs.
The vision of the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) is not only to see India build more sustainably, but for it to become a global leader in sustainable building by 2015. The IGBC, formed by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), aims to more widely adopt and facilitate eco-friendly and green building strategies into the Indian Industry.
The council, comprised of stakeholders in the construction industry such as corporate and governmental actors, as well as nodal agencies, architects, product manufacturers and other institutions, promotes a holistic building approach with five key area’s in mind: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, selection of materials and the indoor environmental quality.
It is primarily responsible for certifying and rating energy efficient buildings in India through the international LEED rating system (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) adopted from the U.S. Green Building Council. Since 2001, it has helped develop sustainable homes, factories, offices, universities, as well as redesign existing structures sustainably. As of 2012 approximately 1,000 LEED certified buildings have been constructed in India, thus making India the leader in (LEED)-certified green buildings.
Karan Grover, a renowned Indian architect who single-handedly secured UNESCO world heritage status for the lost city of Champaner, was the first architect to win the Platinum Award from LEED for the CII-Sohjrabji Godrej Green Business Center in Hyderabad. He has not only been a vibrant promoter of sustainable architecture over the course of his career, but has now been making efforts to shape design practices and perspectives of architects to come.
The National Institute of Science, Technology and Development in New Delhi found that there is a growing gap between the skills students of architecture and engineering are receiving and the skills they will require to design green. Grover has recently launched the ‘Students Green Movement’ which aims to reach 10,000 architecture students in order to begin bridging this gap.
Despite the progress India has made in sustainable architecture, there is still much improvement yet to be made. The push towards building green has been predominantly market driven and still needs to be developed further by the government to reach a broader spectrum of the Indian population – and make it count. UNEP Sustainable Building and Construction Initiative (SBCI) reported that a coordinated approach to address the wider sustainable buildings agenda in India was needed.
Author: Kirsten Zeller/ RESET editorial
Sources and links: