21 November 2018

Cover Story



Is Green the new Black?


The growing environmental friendliness and the awareness about making the most from the available resources have propelled a Green movement in no time. India has come a long way with an area over 20,000 sq ft coming under the green building area in 17 years. With upcoming green building structures on the rise, Rohan Ambike writes about the rise of green buildings, the green building principles and the future of green building.


Amongst the changing trends of the real estate sector, Green Building is one area that has caught the eye of the entire real estate fraternity. The US Green Building Council (USGBC) in a report recently stated that the green building industry in India will grow by 20 per cent driven largely by environmental regulations and demand for healthier neighborhoods. The story of Green building in India dates back to 2001 when the country had only a single building conforming to the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) green building rating, spanning 20,000 sq ft. today, after over 17 years, the number of IGBC-registered green projects has gone up to a whooping 4,452 with a total area of 4.79 billion sq ft! Today, India ranks third on the US Green Building Council’s (USGBC) annual ranking of the top 10 countries for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified buildings.


Fast Facts:

India has 4,452 IGBC-registered green projects today.

After US, India ranks second in registered green building footprint.

Enormous economic growth to come up in India.

India can save more than 8,400 MW power through green building concepts.



It is instructive to know Maximum City, Mumbai leads with 698 green buildings spread over 671.31 million sq m, followed by Pune with 362 structures which occupy over 245.47 million sq m. Bengaluru meanwhile is the third most green city in India with 333 green buildings and a total of 227.92 million sq m of green space certified by the IGBC while Chennai with 321 registered green buildings comes fourth.


What is hugely significant is that the total green footprint as on date – 4 billion sq ft of such buildings – in India is second largest after the US and is well ahead of neighbouring China in terms of registered green building footprint. And the country is getting increasingly ambitious with IGBC aspiring to facilitate 10 billion sq ft of registered green building footprint by 2022. There has been a 25 per cent Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) growth over the last decade in terms of registration of such projects, with National Capital Region (NCR) and Mumbai accounting for nearly a third of all green buildings. What is also laudable also is that the Tier II and Tier III cities are also witnessing the green effect.


The norms for green buildings were defined by the GRIHA council in 2007. The norms cater to the green buildings and the future growth of the entire green building as a movement. Experts have recorded great growth in the availability of green building materials for GRIHA and IGBC-certified structures. This discussion brings us to the question what a green building is?



“There has been a significant rise in public awareness pertaining to environmental and sustainability issues. In fact this is one of the major reasons why the concept of green building is gaining momentum in the country. Green buildings are designed to ensure optimal and efficient use of both renewable and non-renewal energies.” Ashish R. Puravankara, MD, Puravankara Ltd




“The idea of encouraging sustainability and green building concepts has taken the front foot in the Indian Real Estate industry. Most cities are responding positively to the economic challenges being offered by a sustainability revolution and are undergoing this transformation” Shabbir Kanchwala, Sr. Vice President,K Raheja Corp





What is a green building?


A building which makes the most of natural resources throughout its life—from planning, design, construction, and occupancy to its decommission is called a Green Building. This is recently been used to make the most of the resource-efficient designs, which can be sustainable. This includes making the most of the material that is reusable. However, along with this, numerous factors come into picture when it comes to contribute to a building being green.



Research says that around 18 per cent of the CO2 emissions come from buildings. With the growing rate of the construction of buildings, the emission will reach to 36 per cent by 2050 as per a report by the United Nations Environment Program. Buildings also are the largest potential sites where work can be started to have a green environment. The ideal green building would be a building project that would allow you to preserve most of the natural environment around the project site, while still being able to produce a building that is going to serve a purpose. The construction and operation will promote a healthy environment for all involved, and it will not disrupt the land, water, resources and energy in and around the building. This is the actual definition of a green building.



Among the modern day architecture, apart from the high rise structures, the Green buildings are the eye catching ones. This is because of it is these buildings that have the potential to bring a change in the method of construction and protect the environment. Green buildings are also bringing a substantial revolution in the real estate market. The National Housing Bank, the state owned entity has projected that by 2020, the real estate sector in India will go beyond the $150 billion market. The recent boost in the infrastructure construction with projects such as affordable housing, green buildings and a lot more are the thrusters for the housing sector.



Green buildings hold a special place in the real estate sector. With the growing promotion for sustainable development, real estate sector in the near future will see the rise of an entire new dimension—green building sector. Industry experts have noted that almost three fourth of the buildings to be constructed in India by 2030 are yet to be built. This is means that a massive chunk of these buildings will be green buildings. The growing awareness about green buildings, the favourable policies are fueling the possibilities of the rise of green buildings.



The new high-rise residential, communities and mixed-use development are expected to be the top three sectors for green building growth in India in the coming years. Environment friendliness and reduced operating costs are already among the parameters real estate customers consider serious before investing. The promotion of green buildings - the aspect it largely lacked till three-four years ago, is going to have immense impact on the future green building market.



Growth in green building market in India is also likely to bring about enormous economic growth by creation of a new industrial sector. The notion of green building being a completely new in India, there are very few number of existing professionals in the sector. But as the market grows, there will be demand for architects, technicians, energy experts, environmentalists, consultants etc. having adequate knowledge of the sector. Some of the green building rating agency providers like IGBC or GRIHA has already started building professionals dedicated for green buildings. In next one decade or even less, the trend will enhance remarkably. As the worth of green buildings is being perceived by more sections of the society with the passage of time, the ultimate objective of sustainability i.e. economic development maintaining the environment looks easy to achieve.



“The concept of green buildings is fast gaining global acceptance, especially in urban areas where sustainable development is an integral part of living. People have begun facing the impact of shortage of water, energy and depletion of natural resources. Most of the regulatory bodies across the country have introduced necessary laws to conserve natural resources and encourage green norms” Bijay Agarwal, Managing Director, Salarpuria Sattva




“With high rise construction growing rapidly, we are seeing high demand for Schwing high capacity concrete pumps, plants and mixers. The outlook for concreting industry will be very good as we expect real estate to join the demand for machineries in addition to roads and railways” V.G.Sakthikumar, Managing Director, Schwing Stetter Sales and Services, Chairman Of Mechanisation Committee, Bai





Need of Green building in India


India is a home to the world’s second largest population. It is reported that the infrastructure sector, particularly building construction industry is the producer of the second largest amount of demolition waste and greenhouse gases. In numeric terms, it contributes to around 35 to 40 per cent of the waste. Most of the buildings consume energy during the construction. Post construction, lighting or air-conditioning systems are the prominent consumers of energy. While, various amenities like lighting, air conditioning, water heating provide comfort to building occupants, but also consume enormous amount of energy and add to pollution. Further, occupant activities generate large amount of solid and water waste as well.



Sustainable architecture


This concept gives rise to sustainable architecture which that seeks to minimize the harmful impact that buildings have on the environment. The buildings built based on the concept of sustainability tend to be environment friendly as they are resource efficient which is right from the location of the structure to its demolition whenever its lifecycle ends. Green buildings make use of less energy, water and other natural resources creates less waste and green house gases and is healthy for people living or working inside as compared to a regular structure.


Building green does not mean efficient building. However it is about constructing a building that is optimimum and built with the use of local materials, local ecology and most importantly they are built to reduce power, water and material requirements. A report by TERI estimates that India could save more than 8,400 MW power if all buildings in Indian urban areas were made to adopt green building concepts. This power is enough to light 550,000 homes a year.




Creating sustainable space


The first principle of any green building structure is to have an urban sprawl that is minimum in size and also includes avoiding needless destruction of valuable land, habitat and open space. Preserving the valuable green space and encouraging the other upcoming structures is an important aspect. Preserving the key environmental assets through careful examination of each site is extremely important. The government is encouraging higher density urban development to make the most of preserve valuable space.




“We are coming out with 2 more new products-namely Polymerized repair mortar under the brand name SILICOCrete and Micro concrete under the brand name SILICOFlow. Both the products are used for rehabilitation or restoration of old RCC members of the old buildings, where demolition is not recommended” Bhagwan Bhai Movalia, CMD, Precise Conchem





“GJJ offers material hoists with triangle masts , mini hoists for various industrial applications. Explosion proof hoist for hazardous areas, single and multi level mast climbers for external work of tallstructures. Therefore GJJ is the reliable one stop solution for Men & Material hoists for any application” P V Ramdev, MD, Everest Engineering.




“CubiCost is a new software that can convert 2D architectural and structural drawings into 3D buildings in the virtual space. CubiCost is combined with two words. 'Cubic' means 'the shape of a cube', which reflects the BIM lineage (Building Information Model) as the core technology, while 'Cost' indicates the key value of the software, which is to provide integrated cost solutions for customers in AEC industry.” K.K.Jagadish, Founder & MD, Aura Global India



Water conservation


Water is an essential element. Hence almost all the green buildings emphasize on preserving the existing natural water cycle and design the site to cater to the site’s natural hydrological systems. Measures have been taken to preserve the rain and storm water and all sites have facilities such as on-site infiltration as well as ground water recharging. Another way to make the most of water is to minimise the inefficiency of potable water on the site while maximizing the recycling and reuse of water, including rainwater harvesting, storm water, and gray water.



“Sika has brought in a system whereby one will have the basic innovative part of the system or the product of the system available in one single product. Through this we mean to say that it is a much more efficient product for the user whereby one can have a multiple finish provided for a designated area.” Arijit Basu, MD, Sika India




Energy & Environment


Another fundamental factor of the green building is to minimise the adverse impact on the environment through optimized building sitting & design, material selection, and aggressive use of energy conservation measures. This can only be achieved by extensive usage of renewable energy and other low impact energy sources. It is recommended that the building performance should exceed minimum International Energy Code (IEC) compliance level by 30 to 40 per cent.



Indoor Environmental Quality


Indoor air quality has to be pleasant and provide a healthy, comfortable and productive indoor environment for the building occupants. Hence it is essential to have the best possible conditions in terms of indoor air quality, ventilation, and thermal comfort, access to natural ventilation and day lighting.




Materials and Resources


Green buildings minimise the use of non-renewable construction materials through efficient engineering and construction, and effective recycling of construction debris. Similarly, green buildings make the most usage of recycled materials, modern energy efficient engineered materials, and resource efficient composite type structural systems as well as sustainably managed, biomass materials. Sufficient technical background and an understanding of green building practices are needed for implementing these fundamental principles, so that a building can be considered a truly “green building”.


There is a growing demand for green buildings in India from the private sector. This is the result of the introduction of rating systems by IGBC and The Energy Resources Institute of India, and investor and occupier demand for more amenable and efficient living and working space. The LEED rating system also cannot be ignored.


Growing Market for Green Buildings in India


There is a significant and growing market for green buildings in India. The market is large and it is bound to grow. This means that there will be a great opportunity for lot of players in this sector.




Opportunities in India for green building services include:

  • Architectural and engineering services for high-rise structures, theme parks and hotel
  • Urban planning and design
  • Other niche architectural services like creating designs inspired from the traditional Indian architecture
  • Energy efficiency consultancies.




There is also significant demand in India for green building materials and equipment including:


  • High-efficiency heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems
  • Low-emission window and day lighting technologies
  • Affordable green building materials, with consideration for the life cycle perspective of building costs
  • Water saving, water efficiency and non mechanical treatment systems
  • Fire and safety systems and other intelligent building systems



Benefits of green building


There are a variety of advantages that come along with green buildings. However, on a broader scale, they can be classified into three parts— Environmental, Economic and lastly, Social. Let’s discuss the three in brief.


Environmental Benefits: The green buildings have a massive positive impact on the environment. This is as the green buildings make minimal usage of the natural resources than any other normal building. Various aspects such as the efficient usage of water, light and quality of air are taken into consideration in a green building. A green building also leaves a smaller carbon footprint. Also, the green building also ensures that the surrounding eco-system is protected and further enhanced.


Economic Benefits: Cost is another parameter that plays a major part in any construction. Green buildings come with a prejudice of high cost. This is partially true. The cost is high at the initial stage, when it is being built. However, it has been proved that the overall costs of green buildings are much lesser than the normal buildings. They consume fewer resources, and improve the productivity of occupants. Green buildings also entail higher real estate value. Besides these benefits, incentives are also given by local government bodies in order to achieve a sustainable future.


Social Benefits: Green Buildings have been proven to have a positive impact on the health of residents. Since they provide a balanced and optimal eco-system for residents, they have a positive effect on the productivity and well-being of those who occupy the building.



Challenges and future:


Like every sector, green buildings have their own challenges, which include green washing, lack of awareness, non availability of green product certifications, poor practices among builders etc. However, they are being solved and most buildings that have attempted to be Green have usually proven to be more efficient than the rest.  Builders have now started to realise this and are willing to go an extra mile. All this augurs well for the future of the Indian Green Building movement.




The growing awareness about the benefits of green building and the numerous construction opportunities has created a favorable environment for the growth of green buildings in India.

As the general public becomes more aware of the benefits of green buildings, developers will get creative and find new ways to brand, market and sell green buildings.

Hence creating a conducive atmosphere for the sector to grow exponentially.




Top 10 Green Buildings in India


1. Suzlon One Earth, Pune

Suzlon one earth is 100 per cent powered by onsite and offsite renewable sources. The campus has 18 hybrid wind turbines that fulfill 7 per cent of the total energy consumption; the rest of energy demand is met from offsite wind turbines.  The structure is designed in a way to ensure maximum daylight exposure thereby reducing artificial lighting consumption. The infrastructure within the campus is designed to enable water percolation and thereby control storm water runoff thus, contributing towards an increased water table level.



2. Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA), Hyderabad

The structure of the airport is designed in a way so as to consume less water, electricity and conserves natural resources. Within the campus of the airport, there is a green belt of 273 hectares with numerous plants. In the last couple of years, RGIA has been successful in saving energy for nearly 3.97 million kWh and have reduced the carbon footprint by 3331 ton.



3. CII- Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Centre, Hyderabad

This is said to be the best example of passive architectural design throughout the world. The CII-Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Center (GBC) was the was the first building outside of the US to be awarded LEED platinum rating at the time of its inauguration. The building doesn’t let out any waste and recycles it all within. It can be said that building is literally made up of only recycled materials.



4. Infosys Limited, Mysore

Located in the city of palaces, this green building is an awe-inspiring structure is the third Infosys building to win a Platinum rating, taking the total Platinum certified building area at Infosys to 780,000 sq ft. The 5 storey structure has been built keeping in mind a holistic approach to sustainability in five key areas, including – Sustainable site development, Water savings, Energy efficiency, Materials selection and Indoor environmental quality. The smart mechanism and efficient equipments lead to 40% of less energy consumption.



5. Infinity Benchmark, Kolkata

When built, this building that stands almost 20 storey tall spans 5, 60,000 sq ft was ranked as the world’s 7th building to receive the LEED Platinum rating. The building is furnished with Co2 monitor sensors, rainwater harvesting, and waste water recycling system and humidification controls. The exterior of the building is made of brick wall block while the roof comprises of deck thick polyurethane foam for better insulation.



6. I-Gate Knowledge Centre, Noida

This building spanning 4, 60,000 sq ft is built with an ability to capture over 73 per cent of daylight within the office. Around 50 per cent of the land is covered with grass which doesn’t let wastes and sewage water go out.



7. Bank of India, Goa

This commercial building consists of the best of lighting and air conditioning, with the eco friendly measures, intelligent glazing, modern capsule lifts, and indoor fountains. The glass used by the building is Nano Misty Blue, softening colour glass manufactured by Saint Gobin Glass, India. This creates a cooling effect and also saves energy. Another special characteristic of the glass is that it has solar control and thermal insulation properties.  It is a specimen of a modern day bank.



8. Ansal Esencia, 67 Sector, Gurgaon

The features of this building are viable sources of energy; all electronics are made for maximum energy conservation, splendid bicycle tracks, environ benches, bins, poles and bus stops and drought resistant campus.



9. Biodiversity Conservation India Ltd. (BCIL), Bangalore

BCIL was established when green building concept was foreign to all of us and was something one could not locate even with long-range radar. The building was established with an aim of creating eco-friendly living habitats, especially in the urban space. It is a wonderful example of smart homes where one can turn lights off using mobile phones.


The building has 44 interconnected rainwater percolation wells that lead to a 400,000 liter water tank. The building makes use of central reverse osmosis system to purify water without the use of chemicals. Grey water is directed to the gardens, toilets and for washing cars.



10. Olympia Tech Park Chennai

Located in technological nerve centre of the city, Olympia Tech Park is one of the largest and most sought after IT parks in Namma Chennai. This majestic structure is worldwide famous for being the first green building of its size (1.8 million sq.ft.) and has some of the best fortune-100 companies operating in it. Rated as one of the largest LEED Gold rating buildings of the world, this tech park has the lowest energy consumption, high natural lighting systems, 100 per cent water recycling and other environment-friendly practices.








Leave a Comment

Email Address
(will not be published)