Clean Tech

Building green products

V Rishi Kumar | Updated on January 19, 2018 Published on February 02, 2016

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Companies back the green building momentum by certifying construction material under GreenPro ratings

As green buildings become popular and make their presence felt across the country, a silent movement of sustainable products has started to back the transition.

The way forward involved morphing products and materials used for construction to make them environmentally responsible and resource efficient so that the entire life-cycle of the building — from design to demolition — falls into the Green zone. Hence, materials and products that go into these buildings are now being rated under the GreenPro Rating System of the CII-Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Centre of the Indian Green Building Council. Thus far over 54 products have been certified and the number is going up each passing day.

“Products certified under the GreenPro rating system are expected to grow to 300 by the end of the year and past the 1000 mark by 2017 as more companies across segments come forward. This is one of our important initiatives,” says S Raghupathy, Executive Director CII-IGBC.

Explaining the significance of the development, he estimates the market size for green building products at Rs 20,000 crore per year. As more and more environmentally conscious people construct sustainable homes and commercial spaces, they look forward to such certified products. These broadly fall into categories that are used for glazing, insulation, painting, constructing, tiling, creating false ceilings and dry walls of buildings.

According to Parasu Raman R, Founding chair of IGBC and chairman of CII-green products and services council, “The objective of green product certification is to enable green products market transformation in India and achieve global standards.” For this IGBC has signed up with Underwriters Lab of USA, which has a centre in Bangalore, as a knowledge partner.

The certification process

A product taken up for certification goes through the rigour of many experts before it secures a green pro tag. Over 140 industry experts are involved in the process, with the product being scrutinised for environmental efficiency, energy efficiency, insulation capabilities, and importantly the ingredients that go into it.

Take the case of a painting product. The standard approach is to judge its quality based on the volatile organic compound (VOC) that goes into it. In a recently painted surface, the smell that emanates due to VOC content is checked. Earlier, for every litre of paint about 100 grams of VOC was used. The green building movement has brought it down to 50 grams per litre.

Now more companies are using water soluble paints where VOC is close to nil. While this has increased the cost of paint by two to five per cent, it has made it healthier for people to use. As people begin to learn about green homes, they are also keen that the products they use are sustainable and such certification helps in identifying them. The consumer will probably ask the dealer whether the product is Greenpro certified. Slowly but certainly purchase behaviour too changes, say experts.

Sustainable factories

“We believe that by 2020 every product will be GreenPro certified. What we are keen thereafter is that not just the products are green and non-toxic, but they should be made in factories that are also green. For this a separate certification process has become popular,” Raghupathy points out. So far seven companies have secured a GreenPro rating. The products come under 15 categories spanning paints, building blocks, insulation material, furniture, glass related products, tiles, false ceilings and dry walls.

The construction block of Zuari Cement was the first to be certified, with Nippon not far behind with its paints. Currently in the certification wheel are Asian Paints, Berger Paints, British Paints among others. “Just as the green building movement has gained ground over the years, we believe that green products will get popular soon,” Raghupathy says.

The country now has a registered base of 3.18 billion sq ft of green buildings. Around 2005, when the movement started, the cost of a Green building was higher by about 10 per cent. In ten years it is down to two-three per cent currently.

Published on February 02, 2016
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