With emphasis on zero carbon footprint, how do you envisage the growth of green buildings concept in India?

Emphasis on zero carbon footprint is indeed the need of the hour and augurs well for a greener and healthier planet Earth. India has made major strides in this direction. Today, Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) has facilitated India emerging as one of the global leaders in green buildings and is at the forefront of facilitating greening of various forms of built environment. India with over 5 billion square feet of registered green footprint stands at no 2 in the world. With various projects adopting IGBC green building standards, IGBC aspires to facilitate 10 billion square feet of green building footprint by 2022.

IGBC has demonstrated a clear business case for green buildings. A clear testimony to this fact is the spread and growth of green buildings across the country. Green Building movement in India is Prem C Jain, Chairman, Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) takes us through various nuances of green building in India and role of IGBC in leveraging green building movement in the country while interacting with Cooling India well poised to lead the global green building movement; in the process facilitating zero carbon footprint. India is at the forefront of promoting innovative and futuristic concepts like net zero buildings and pre-fabricated homes. The day is not far when the place we live, work, study, play and commute, will all go the green way and will be home to some of the finest green building concepts and technologies, worth emulating by other countries.

Kindly elaborate on the services offered by IGBC.

IGBC was formed by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in 2001. The Council headquarter is at CII Green Business Centre (GBC), Hyderabad -India’s First Platinum Rated Certified Green Building. Today, IGBC is the country’s leading body for green building services through the development of green standards for all applications of built-environment, certification and allied activities like local chapters, training programs, IGBC Accredited Professional (AP) exam, student chapters, green building congress, missions, capacity building sessions, and other initiatives.

Considering that the Indian environment and geographical scenario is very different from that of the US, what is the research involved to understand what India wants?

Each country has its own environment and geographical conditions. India has a rich repository of architectural and sustainable practices and doesn’t need to undertake any special research to understand what it wants. Sustainable buildings and earth-centric formulas are inherent in our ancient approach to buildings design and construction. India’s monuments, havelis and courtyards are excellent examples of this approach.

All we need is to go back to our roots and imbibe the best practices which our ancestors adopted and promoted, and blend these with the latest state-of-the-art technologies. This is what we in IGBC promote. All our 24 green building rating systems are a blend of ancient architectural practices and modern technological innovations. Today, over 4,500 green building projects are adopting IGBC green building rating systems.

What kind of role IGBC India would like to play in India’s 100 smart cities project?

Designing smart cites in India would go a long way in enhancing the quality of life of occupants and address ecological issues and concerns. IGBC would continue to play a catalytic role in India’s 100 Smart Cities initiative.

IGBC strongly believes that if a city has to be a smart city, it has to be a green city first. A Smart Green City will facilitate enhanced quality of life; efficient use of resources; efficient land use planning and efficient mobility management.

IGBC’s rich and varied experience in designing green building project and townships could be fully leveraged in the design of Smart Cities. Further, IGBC Green Cities Rating System can perfectly dovetail in developing Green Smart Cities and in the process facilitate in building a greener and healthier India. This rating encourages eco-friendly city planning that balances social, economic, and environmental dimensions, as well as good urban governance as its foundation.

While developers often cite cost as a key reason that makes them refrain from adopting the latest green technologies like solar photovoltaic panels, is there any way this technology can be incentivised? Is there a role IGBC has to play here?

Developers citing increase in cost was a scenario of past. As a result of concerted efforts, IGBC could facilitate market transformation for indigenous manufacture of green building products and technologies. Today, India is at the forefront of developing green building products and technologies which are ecologically superior and economically viable.

Stakeholders are forging new partnerships and facilitating technology transfer, resulting in win-win situation for everyone. A classic example of deflation in cost of green product is the waterless urinal. Earlier, it is used to cost Rs 14,000/- when the CII Godrej GBC building was constructed. Today, it is available for Rs.6,000/-. Now most of the green building products and technologies are manufactured and locally available all over India. Offering incentives for green technologies will go a long way in further accelerating green building movement in the country. In the process, it shall also offer new growth opportunities to the stakeholders. IGBC estimates that the market potential for green building products and technologies will be about USD 300 billion by 2025.

Also, at the policy level in India, do you think we need more additions supporting the green building concept? If yes, what should they be and why?

Green Building movement is receiving excellent support from the Government, both at the Centre and state governments. Today, we have states including Rajasthan, Punjab, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand and Haryana incentivising IGBC-rated green buildings; these have led to a multi-fold increase in the number of such environmentally responsible projects throughout the country.

Similar, policy impetus in terms of higher FAR, faster environmental clearance from other state governments would further accelerate the spread and growth of green buildings all over India and in the process facilitate in building a greener and healthier India.

Is it possible to achieve the goal of energy efficiency during the construction of buildings?

IGBC Rating Systems provide various tools in the form of detailed reference guides, templates, checklists, intent, mandatory requirements, credits, etc. All these tools will equip the project team and designers to implement green building measures right from day one.

Further, IGBC Green Building Rating Systems encourage project teams to adopt energy modeling and other software techniques to explore various design options, material specifications, equipment and control systems. This would enable the project team to take informed decisions which would ensure sustained savings by design, and promote creativity and innovations in the projects.