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Tuesday, Nov 16, 2004

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ITC Centre bags Platinum Green Building rating from US agency

Mohan Padmanabhan

A perspective view of ITC Centre at Gurgaon

Kolkata , Nov. 15

ITC Ltd has added a new feather to its EHS (Environment, Health and Safety) policy cap. This is in active pursuit of the `triple bottomline' concept - economic, ecological and social, which is the new benchmark for all high aspiring corporates globally,

ITC Centre, the futuristic office complex the company is building in Sector 32, Gurgaon, has been awarded the Platinum Green Building rating by USGBC-LEED (Green Building Council-Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). The company received the award at the recent International Green Building Convention held in Portland, Oregon, US. More than 6,000 building professionals from 15 countries, it is learnt, attended the convention.

Sources said it is the highest rating in this category, and ITC Centre is now the largest Platinum-rated building in the world. They said the company is the first corporate house in the country to bag this award. The actual rating process is based on submission of all design documents, simulation, construction and operating intent followed by an audit and review process.

Sources said that out of the 150 projects around the world that the US agency has certified so far, only seven have been awarded Platinum rating. The other three categories are Gold, Silver and Certified. The entire process for the ITC building has taken a little over one year.

The complex, expected to become operational by April 2005, is being constructed on a 2-acre plot of land, and the building has a ground, three upper floors and two basements.

The sources told Business Line that following the prestigious green award, the Chairman, Mr Y.C. Deveshwar, was keen to rechristen the building as the `ITC Green Centre". The Gurgaon facility, measuring 1,81,000 sq ft, is expected to accommodate the various businesses of ITC and the Welcomgroup Management Institute.

Some of the salient green features incorporated in the new building are, zero water discharge, 53 per cent energy savings over a conventional building, 40 per cent reduction in potable water use, use of treated grey water for flushing and landscaping, use of fly-ash in bricks & concrete, high efficiency equipment, eco-friendly housekeeping practices and a well designated green education programme.

It is learnt that the award was the result of extensive research and simulation studies conducted by a special in-house project team of the company, headed by Mr Nakul Anand, Managing Director of ITC Hotels (which will soon be merged with the main entity).

Sources said the project team, which also had Mr S.C. Sekhar, Executive Director, ITC Hotels, who looks after all new hotel projects of the group, held consultations with the Confederation of Indian Industry, TERI (The Energy and Resources Institute) USGBC, architects, various engineering consultants, an Independent Commissioning Agency and the Shriram Testing Centre.

Accordingly, the building envelope, energy, indoor air quality and water efficiency, materials and sustainability measures were evaluated on the basis of the simulation studies and optimised.

According to the sources, in keeping with the on-going thrust on environment protection and enrichment of ecology, it was decided by the ITC management to seek Green Building Certification for the Gurgaon ITC Centre from an international certification agency of stature.

The building rating system of USGBC-LEED was set up in the US in 1993, and focuses on design and construction practices that significantly reduce or eliminate the negative impact of buildings on their occupants and on the environment on certain parameters such as energy efficiency and renewable energy, quality of indoor environment, conservation of materials and resources, sustainable site planning and innovation and design processes.

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