05 June 2020

Table of Contents for Green Building & Sustainability

Green Building & Sustainability

Cashing on


India’s public and private sectors is increasingly taking the lead in taking the Green Building Movement forward  


Together with being one of the largest economies of the world, and by extension one of the largest users of energy, India is now getting around to embrace the concepts of sustainability, energy efficiency and green buildings thus far the preserve of developing countries.


The green initiative in India is driven by several forces, including the government’s recognition that the infrastructure and energy supply are under enormous pressure. According to the US Energy Information Administration, India is the fourth largest energy consumer in the world, behind China, the United States and Russia.


The good news now is that both the private and public sectors in the country are working toward solutions that are beneficial both ecologically and economically as the demands that India makes on its natural resources continue to grow. There is an increasing awareness in the government, amongst the business sector, and among individual citizens that the need of the hour is to balance economic growth with sustainable practices.





This promise is seen in the statistics of green implementation. From a modest 20,000 sq ft of green built-up area in the country in 2003, to a vast footprint of over 1.8 billion sq ft of ‘green’ buildings in the country today, India has come a long way. With 447 certified green buildings and over 2362 registered buildings, the green footprint keeps on growing with each passing day.


Ergo, it is easy to see why that contributes to joy for people like Rumi Engineer, Senior General Manager and Business Head – Green Building Consultancy Services at Godrej &Boyce who has offered his services in designing over 400 Green Building projects spread across India for both G&B and numerous other MNCs. The green building and sustainability veteran is led to comment, “Looking at the current scenario it is evident that smart, sustainable green buildings have become a necessity in today’s life to protect our environment.”


What is good news is that the growth of ‘green’ in the private sector, despite the slowing down of the economy is still rampant. As per a 2010 report by McKinsey, in order to cope with the levels of growth and urbanisation that the country is expected to encounter by 2030, it will require India to build 500-700 million square feet of commercial and residential space every year. Says Dr Prem C. Jain, Chairman, IGBC “India is already having a green space of 2.1 billion and our aim is to scale it up to 10 billion sq. ft. by 2022. In this journey, it is important that we create this space in the most sustainable manner. India will add another 75 billion sq. ft. by 2030 and we are shouldering a huge responsibility to make it green. ” 


Currently the growth in the green buildings sector is majorly fuelled by multinational corporations but the movement is also spreading its roots to Indian firms as well. It is instructive that Newsweek’s 2012 Green Rankings had thirteen Indian companies in their list of top 500 greenest companies in the world – significantly three of them were in the top twenty.


“Awareness of how an energy service works is slowly growing. However, the value proposition - varies from customer to customer. Several big names in the Industry are conscious about their energy foot print. Few like Infosys, ITC, Godrej etc are already way ahead in the game of energy efficiency,” says Shravan Gupta, Managing Director, Enspar Energy Solutions Pvt Ltd, a Bengaluru based firm which offers services in the area of energy audit.





It is a fact that India has emerged as one of the top countries pursuing the path of green buildings. The change is seen across Indian real estate – residential and commercial (which includes IT parks, luxury hotels, data centres and shopping malls) – with several builders and developers across the country beginning to see the value in building green. However it is also a fact most tend to treat sustainability as an add-on feature instead of having it embedded into the project. Most green practitioners expect energy savings and immediate returns.


It is being assessed that by 2020 with climate change concerns increasing the spending on green IT and sustainability is expected to go up to thrice the levels it was in 2013. According to a report titled Corporate Real Estate in India, The Green Initiative the market for green buildings is growing and will continue to grow. “While the demand for green buildings is still consumer driven, and the bottom line still rules in most instances, there are more and more companies that are interested in sustainability from both corporate social responsibility and operational points of view rather than just for the brand value that having a ‘green building’ can bring,” says the report.


Companies like Godrej have already been at the forefront of promoting and implementing green building technology products to improve energy efficiency and payback. These include heat pumps, geothermal cooling for HVAC systems, radiant cooling systems and Solar PVs.  Admittedly while technological change is happening at a quick pace it is not accompanied by much thought for ‘Application Engineering’ leading to less than the desired result.


Laments Engineer, “Literally people are being brain washed into believing that ‘Intelligent Buildings with latest gizmos’ will help in saving energy and reducing the cost. For any energy conservation to become viable the business case needs to be demonstrated by way of returns on investment.”


And that is where consultants will have a big role to play as India looks to add to its green building infrastructure. Some of the services that will become essential in the context of the government’s plan to set up smart cities will be in the area of clean energy, water and waste management, green buildings and factories, energy analytics, building energy efficiency, automation and renewable energy. With multi-billion dollar investments planned in the area of power like Smart Grids and renewable energy integration their counsel will become crucial when it comes to the right design for the buildings, selection of low embodied energy  materials, design of efficient and intelligent MEP system for efficient and economical Net Zero energy building success. 


This brings business opportunities in areas such as supply of equipment for measurement of energy levels in areas such as lighting, refrigeration, air-conditioning, motors and LED lighting.  These include support from some of the world renowned brands like Fluke, Testo, GE, Amprobe through a host of instruments like power quality and energy analysers, infrared thermography cameras, flue gas analyzer, indoor air quality meters, ultrasonic flow meters, ultrasonic leak detectors, anemometer, lux meters not to mention Rpm meter used for performance analysis.


Consultants with the know-how on the building performance testing industry can ensure the optimum performance of the systems. This includes ambient temperature which is crucial for one’s well-being and the overall optimum performance of people in work spaces. Some of the energy efficient designs can include features such as water cooled system, radiant cooling/heating systems, earth air tunnel systems, ground source heat pump, solar operated chillers, vapour absorption chiller systems, thermal storage, heat recovery wheels and passive cooling technologies. Investments made on good energy modelling software can be justified from the savings available from load reduction and HVAC savings. Furthermore performance of HVAC systems often depends on the solar orientation of the site, design of the building, choice of roofing, air filtration, heat load from artificial lighting etc thus calling for an integrated design approach.


Ashok A Sanadi, Director, SER Global, an expert in conventional and non-conventional HVAC systems, passive cooling systems design, natural ventilation and lighting systems, who is a consultant to leading developers and IT companies, shares his concern. “It is true that awareness about sustainability and high return on investments is leading to bigger business volumes for green building consultants.  But still there is not enough emphasis on creating sustainable, self-sufficient structures which is incidentally possible only through an integrated approach. HVAC systems are more often than not an afterthought in the design process.”


It is easy to see that the future looks bright for green.


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