Current Issues: Green Buildings :Real Estate of Green Future

What is a Green building ?
Wikipedia defines Green Building as a sustainable building which is an outcome of a design philosophy focusing on increasing the efficiency of resource use — energy, water, and materials — while reducing building impacts on human health and the environment during the building’s lifecycle, through better siting, design, construction, operation, maintenance, and removal.

Green Buildings are designed and operated to reduce the overall impact of the built environment on human health and the natural environment the following 3 ways:

  1. Efficiently using energy, water, and other resources
  2. Protecting occupant health and improving employee productivity
  3. Reducing waste, pollution and environmental degradation

What is the need of Green Buildings?
Buildings are one of the major pollutants that affect urban air quality and contribute to climate change. Hence, the need to design a green building, The essence of which would be to address all these issues in an integrated and scientific manner.

A green building costs more to Design & Construct but costs much less to Operate

Besides a Green Building has tremendous environmental benefits and provides a better place for the occupants to live and work in. So the main challenge of a green building is to achieve all its benefits at an affordable cost.
image credit:
How Real Estate Affects Environment?
Construction & Operation of buildings have major environmental impacts over their entire life cycle through the following ways:
Image Credit: Resources such as ground cover, forests, water, and energy are depleted to give way to buildings.

    To provide beauty and protection water and pesticides are used Energy-consuming systems for lighting, space conditioning, and water heating provide comfort to its occupants.

Hi-tech controls add intelligence to ‘inanimate’ buildings so that they can respond to varying conditions, and intelligently monitor and control resource use, security, and usage of fire systems, etc. in the building.

  1. Water gets consumed continuously during building construction and operation.
  2. Several building processes and occupant functions generate large amounts of waste.
What is the Aim of Green Building?
The aim of a green building design is to :
  1. minimize the demand on non-renewable resources,
  2. maximize the utilization efficiency of these resources, when in use,
  3. maximize the reuse, recycling, and utilization of renewable resources.

What are Benefits of Green Building?

A green building uses less energy, water and natural resources, creates less waste and is healthier for the people living inside compared to a standard building. A green home can have tremendous benefits, both tangible and intangible. The immediate and most tangible benefit is in the reduction in water and operating energy costs right from day one, during the entire life cycle of the building.

  1. Green Building maximizes the use of efficient building materials and construction practices
  2. It optimizes the use of on-site sources and sinks by bio-climatic architectural practices; uses minimum energy to power itself.
  3. It uses efficient equipment to meet its lighting, air-conditioning, and other needs
  4. It maximizes the use of renewable sources of energy
  5. It uses efficient waste and water management practices
  6. It provides comfortable and hygienic indoor working conditions.

Tangible benefits

  1. Energy savings: 20 – 30 per cent
  2. Water savings: 30 – 50 per cent

Intangible benefits

  1. Enhanced air quality
  2. Excellent day lighting
  3. Health and wellbeing of the occupants
  4. Conservation of scarce national resources
  5. Enhance marketability for the project.

With the advancement of green building movement in India, many companies have evinced keen interest in having a holistic green design and construction framework for upcoming factory buildings. Promoting green buildings is key to addressing the challenge of environment conservation and climate change

Process of Designing:
Design process of a green building is that requires all concerned –the architect and landscape designer and the air conditioning, electrical, plumbing, and energy consultants – to work as a team to address all aspects of building and system planning, design, construction, and operation. They critically evaluate the impacts of each design decision on the environment and arrive at viable design solutions to minimize the negative impacts and enhance the positive impacts on the environment. In sum, the following aspects of the building design are looked into in an integrated way in a green building.
  1. Site planning
  2. Building envelope design
  3. Building system design HVAC(heating ventilation and air conditioning), lighting, electrical, and water heating
  4. Integration of renewable energy sources to generate energy onsite.
  5. Water and waste management
  6. Selection of ecologically sustainable materials (with high recycled content, rapidly renewable resources with low emission potential, etc.).
  7. Indoor environmental quality (maintain indoor thermal and visual comfort, and air quality)
India & Green Building
The Energy and Resource Institute , TERI :
The Energy and Resource Institute TERI (website : plays a very important role in developing green building capacities in the country. TERI was formally established in 1974 with the purpose of tackling and dealing with the immense and acute problems that mankind is likely to be faced with in the years ahead.

Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment, GRIHA:
TERI evolved a rating system called GRIHA (Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment) which was adopted by the Govt. of India as the National Green Building Rating System for the country.
GRIHA aims at ensuring that all kinds of buildings become green buildings. the strengths of GRIHA lie in the fact that it rates even non-air conditioned buildings as green and puts great emphasis on local and traditional construction knowledge.

THE CESE building in IIT Kanpur became the first GRIHA rated building in the country and it scored 5 stars, highest in GRIHA under the system. It has become a model for green buildings in the country.
It has proved that with little extra investment, tremendous energy and water savings are possible. There are various projects which are the first of their kinds to attempt for green building ratings like apartment residential buildings and non-air conditioned buildings.

India Green Building Council IGBC:
Soon after the country got its first green building, the CII-Godrej Green Business Centre in Hyderabad in 2003, India developed Indian Green Building Council, the first rating programme, exclusively for the residential sector.

IGBC, which is a part of CII – Godrej GBC, is actively involved in promoting the Green Building concept in India. The council is represented by all stakeholders of construction industry comprising of : Corporate, Government, and Nodal agencies, Architects, Product manufacturers, Institutions, etc.
The council operates on a consensus based approach and is member-driven. The vision of the council is to usher in a green building revolution and facilitate in India emerging as one of the world leaders in green buildings by 2010. The CII is the central pillar of the Indian Green Building Council or IGBC.
Indian Green Building Council has 604 members, including 70 founding members, 381 registered buildings and 34 certified buildings.
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) India:
LEED-India, which has been developed by the Indian Green Building Council, is an important aspect of this green-building development. India is the only country, other than Canada to have licenced its green-building ratings programme from LEED US, developed by the United States Green Building Council. LEED-India follows LEED-US closely with a few exceptions.
The IGBC has licensed the LEED Green Building Standard from the U.S. Green Building Council and currently is responsible for certifying LEED-New Construction and LEED-Core and Shell buildings in India. All other projects are certified through the U.S. Green Building Council. There are many energy efficient buildings in India, situated in a variety of climatic zones. One of these is RMZ Millenia Park, Chennai, India’s largest LEED gold-rated Core & Shell green building.
Note : Other Rating Systems in The World:
  1. LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is not the only rating system in the world.
  2. Australia follows a system named Green Star
  3. Britain has BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environment Assesment Method)
  4. Japan has CASBEE (Comprehensive Assessment System for Building Environment Efficience.

Some More Points:

  1. CII-IGBC recently announced that Shree Ram Urban Infrastructure – a developer – is attempting the first ever LEED Platinum rating (Core & Shell) in India and will be the first ever residential building in the world to do so. Entitled ‘ Palais Royale’, the building will be located in Worli, Mumbai with an estimated height of over 1,000 ft (300 m)Also, Hyderabad based Aliens -Space Station 1 and Space station 2 -Residential project also in the process of achieving gold rated Green building certificate.
  2. Between 2009 and 2011, it is estimated that a minimum of $750 billion — 37 per cent of current economic stimulus packages and 1 per cent of global GDP — is needed to finance a sustainable economic recovery by investing in the greening of five key sectors of the global economy: buildings, energy, transport, agriculture and water.
  3. IGBC Green Factory Building Rating System is a voluntary and consensus based programme. The rating system has been developed based on the contemporary materials and technologies. This rating system would facilitate the development of green factories. The rating system evaluates certain credit points using a prescriptive approach and other credits on a performance based approach. The rating system is evolved so as to be comprehensive and at the same time user-friendly.

A Greener India : Some Notes

  1. India’s booming economy has huge potential to shift to a low-carbon future but needs a little hand-holding by rich nations to keep it on the right path. India needed to follow a different development path than rich nations’ heavy reliance on coal, oil and gas. Half the battle will be won if electricity which does not use fossil fuels can be generated.
  2. India, however, needs technology and resources to become more efficient or run the risk of deploying cheaper coal-fired power in the short-term. For, while coal-fired power costs Rs 2.5 per kilowatt/hour, wind-fired power costs Rs 5 while solar Rs 10.
  3. However, recognising the huge potential of solar energy, the government has made this a centerpiece of its climate change policy and will soon set a target of generating 20 gigawatts of electricity using solar energy by 2020.
  4. According to a Business Standard report, the Clinton Foundation is investigating developing what would be by far the world’s largest solar energy project in Gujarat. This project would be an ‘integrated solar city’ with a capacity of 5 gigawatts.
  5. The project, tagged as one of the largest foreign direct investment into Gujarat, will also be a landmark project as the cost of power generation is likely to be 70 per cent less — about Rs 20,000 crore (Rs 200 billion) — than the conventional cost of power generation, say sources close to the development.
  6. Developing nations, led by China, now emit more than half of mankind’s greenhouse gas emissions and getting them to commit to reductions is seen by rich nations as crucial to agreeing a broader climate pact at UN talks at the end of this year.
    Green Technology or Green IT :
  1. Energy star : In 1992, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency launched Energy Star, a voluntary labeling program which is designed to promote and recognize energy-efficiency in monitors, climate control equipment, and other technologies. This resulted in the widespread adoption of sleep mode among consumer electronics.
  2. The term “Green computing” was probably coined shortly after the Energy Star program began; there are several USENET posts dating back to 1992 which use the term in this manner
  3. Recently US-based IT firm IBM has received a $3.1-million contract from Indian financial services group Religare Enterprises to build energy-efficient data centres in India.
  4. IBM will build and maintain three energy-efficient data centres in Delhi, Noida and Mumbai. It claims the facilities will reduce Religare’s energy costs by up to 35 per cent, or about $250,000 per year. The data centres will use high density computing and precision air conditioning.
  5. At the Nasscom CEO Summit 2008 held at Kolkata’s Hyatt Regency, World Wildlife Fund International’s global policy advisor Dennis Pamlin (WWF Global Policy Advisor) gave a presentation which was buoyed by a simple logic: why should we lose sleep over the paucity of fuel oil and coal, ‘we don’t drink oil, we don’t eat coal’. But ‘we need sunlight to live and air to breathe’.
  6. IT only accounts for two per cent of carbon dioxide emissions yet IT can go a long way in mending the damage done by other industries.
  7. Adoption by industry of green technologies and practices, including green buildings, green computing infrastructure e.g. energy efficient data centres, power efficient computers, sharing infrastructure e.g. shared data centres, addressing issues like e-waste management

With Inputs from : TERI, Wikipedia, Rediff, NASSCOM, India Green Building Council Image Credits:,

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  • Nandini

    Thank a lot Sir, Very informative, keep posting about various topics to improve our knowledge

  • steve the plumber

    This has been a very informative subject, i think its important improvements in the building industry and going green

  • vineet

    very nice topic sir and it have a lot of information,great work

  • santosh



  • Anonymous

    Good piece of information in s a very structured format…

  • tushar


    This post is awesome..


    Keep up the good work !!

    with Regards,
    Tushar Nikhare