Going green is no longer a prohibitively expensive affair. In fact, it pays to build a project, conforming to the norms prescribed by the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC). Contrary to misconceptions, factoring in the green norms doesn’t result in cost escalation of a real-estate project.
From about 18 per cent (over and above the normal cost of construction) in the early 2000s, the additional cost to meet the Green-rating requirements has come down to 2-5 per cent, depending on the size and nature of the project.
Citing the example of the GBC building itself, he said that the cost of construction went up by 18 per cent in 2003, in order to meet the green standards and get a platinum rating in 2003 for the 20,000-sq ft building. This came down to just 1.7 per cent in 2001, when 15.18 sq ft from IndospaceLogistics Parks, Luhari (Haryana), targetted to get the same rating.
“Besides, the payback time has come down to three years from seven years,” C Shekar Reddy, Chairman of IGBC (Hyderabad), told businessline.
“The best part is, the project, will reap benefits as the green elements incorporated will pay back through reduced operational costs, including a fall in energy spend. There are intangible benefits too. A green building with nice ventilation can reduce absenteeism,” he said.
The idea of going green with buildings has caught the attention of the people. From nowhere in 2003, when the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) set up the Green Building Council (GBC), to promote sustainability in the construction sector, the movement has reached a stage where 11 billion sq ft of space is green rated with 12,688 projects embracing the movement.
Though started with a limited focus in the initial stages, the GBC has expanded the bouquet and started rating a variety of projects – residential, commercial, industrial areas, townships, railway stations, mass rapid transport systems, villages and landscapes, with a view to making the movement broadbased.
“The green building movement could save 8.71 billion units of power a year, as 10 million urban homes are IGBC certified. It could save 26.7 billion litres of water a year. To put it in context, it is equal to the water required by a city like Hyderabad for a month,” he said.
The green-rated buildings could reduce carbion dioxide emissions aggregating 8.1 million tonnes a year, which is equivalent to taking 9.1 million cars off the road.
Shekar Reddy, who is also the Chairman of CII (Telangana), said that green certified buildings make up about 80 per cent of the occupants and are thermally comfortable due to good design and proper operation of the facilities.
“About 72 per cent of occupants are happy with the overall lighting levels. About 89 per cent occupants are happy with the visual environment and do not have problem of glare,” he said.
Unlike in the past, where it used to be very difficult to find the right products to confirm to the norms, the availability and range of products, make it easier for people to seek green certifications for their homes and projects.
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“Over 150 companies are producing over 8,000 products, which GreenPro certification, makes it easier for people and construction companies aspire for ratings. This certification is at par with the global eco-labelling standard,” he said.