Wednesday, October 28, 2009: 05:30:52

TJCD Guest Column

Green Buildings – the way to green future, says K Sukumar of CCCL

A green building depletes natural resources to the minimum during its construction and operation and reduces energy consumption by 30-70%

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“Go green” seems to be a powerful slogan at present. It seems like everyone is going green at present. What does this mean? Does it mean everyone is painting their homes green or does this refer to people becoming more environment-friendly and caring towards the surroundings? Well, it involves all these and something more. This initiative to go green has witnessed a steady growth globally with increasing number of people joining the bandwagon. 

 

Of all the green initiatives practiced across the globe, the increasing urge to construct green buildings can be termed as a notable move towards a greener future. Like other countries, the concept of green buildings is gaining momentum in India. Some of the prominent green buildings are ITC Green Centre in Gurgaon, Raintree Hotel in Chennai, Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Centre in Hyderabad and Olympia Technology Park in Chennai, which is recognised as the largest ever ‘green’ building in the world and awarded the prestigious Gold rating under LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design).


Global warming, however, is the main driving force behind the strong response of the government and corporate houses towards the need of green buildings in India. Since buildings are the major source of CO2 emission into the air, more and more corporate houses in India are becoming aware of the need to reduce greenhouse gases released through the burning of fossil fuels for energy. Moreover, the ability to reduce energy consumption by 30-70% is giving green buildings an edge over non-green buildings.

 

Green buildings are the need of the hour as they have so much to offer to the ecosystem. They help to save on operating energy and cost of water, depending on usage levels. The other aspects to note are increasing longevity of building, better health of employees, higher levels of productivity and of course an image makeover for the building. Even though a green building looks exactly like any other building from the exterior, the key difference lies in the materials and approach towards construction. From materials used in construction to the paint adorning the interiors, everything is eco-friendly, translating to the fact that chemicals used here is very minimal.


To give the green building movement in India a quantum leap by 2010, the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) is organising green building conferences across the country. Over the years, participants in these conferences have surged significantly with increasing involvement from architects, business owners, government and corporate representatives and green product manufacturers.

 

At present, IGBC has around 405 members and the number of registered green buildings in the country stands at 259. To increase this number and to spread the awareness among Indian realty developers, IGBC has included schools, churches, museums and libraries in their list of green buildings. Moreover, it has made mandatory for new constructions to be in tune with the LEED policies and where it does not comply, the construction needs to be verified by an appointed member of IGBC.

 

Although usage of green materials might prove a bit expensive, at the end of the day it all boils down to living in sync with the surroundings and ensuring well-being of fellow beings.

The short story is that green buildings are better equipped to deal with the emerging set of global conditions. So the concept that has been given a head-start by the commercial buildings in India will soon spread to the residential complexes as well. Therefore, the concept of green buildings is not a passing fad, but the way things need to be done in future.


K. Sukumar, general manager (HR), Consolidated Construction Consortium Limited (CCCL)


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