In Building Green, Can India LEED By Example?
In a country where population numbers are on a constant rise, judicious use of resources is a must. On that account, green buildings in India have over the years become a key component in conserving the environment and resources.
According to recent data released by the US Green Building Council (USGBC), India stands at the third position outside the US in terms of the number of green buildings in the country. China and Canada are positioned at first and second rank, respectively.
India, according to the India Green Building Council's (IGBC) Annual Review 2016-17, had over 4,289 green building projects covering an area of 4.68 billion sq ft. This number is expected to triple by the end of 2020. The focus of this will be conversion or be retrofitting existing structures.
Transforming the future
Green is the buzzword both on macro and micro levels. In India, a revolution which started with only commercial buildings has now moved to residential projects, individual homes on a micro level and to Metro stations, green villages, smart cities and green cities on a macro level. This poses a huge opportunity for investors, developers and end-users.
Green structures not only give a user operational savings in water and electricity bills, these also enhance the indoor environment of the property.
Recognition & incentives
Green Building Certification Inc recognises green structures across the country through a certification system, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). Under the LEED certification, a green structure submits the plan of what makes it sustainable and is then certified based on the on-site verifications. The project is measured on its green performance with Arc, a state-of-the-art platform designed to collect, manage and benchmark data. If the project fits the norms set by GBCI, it is given a LEED certification.
Also, there are various incentives a green building can get from the Central and state governments. These are:
*Fast track clearance for pre-certified/provisionally-certified projects by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
* The Punjab government's Department of Town Planning offers an additional five per cent Floor Area Ratio (FAR) for Gold-rated or above projects. While the Punjab Urban Development Authority offers an additional five per cent FAR for projects adopting IGBC's Green Building Ratings.
*Rajasthan's Urban Development and Housing department offers additional five per cent FAR to Gold or above-rated projects.
*The Kolkata Municipal Corporation and New Kolkata Development Authority give additional 10 per cent FAR to projects that are pre-certified/provisionally-certified as Gold or above.
*All IGBC-rated green building projects in the medium and small-medium enterprises (MSME) sector are eligible for financial assistance at concessional rates from Small Industries Development Bank of India.
*Uttar Pradesh's Housing and Urban Planning Department and Greater Noida Industrial Development Authority provide additional five FAR for Gold or above-rated projects.
*The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) offers an additional FAR of three per cent, five per cent and seven per cent for green buildings rated as Silver, Gold and Platinum, respectively. While Maharashtra's Public Works Department (PWD) has mandated that the renovation of existing buildings and the development of all new government buildings in Maharashtra shall be carried out as per the suitable IGBC Green Building Rating system.
*Andhra Pradesh's Industries & Commerce Department offers 25 per cent subsidy on total fixed capital investment of the project (excluding cost of land, land development, preliminary and preoperative expenses and consultancy fees) for green-rated buildings. This incentive is applicable for MSME and large industries.
While the state's Municipal Administration and Urban Development Department offers 20 per cent reduction on permit fees, and if the property is sold within three years, one-time reduction of 20 per cent on transfer duty on the submission of the Occupancy Certificate issued by the local authority.
*Himachal Pradesh's Town & Country Planning Department offers an additional 10 per cent FAR for to Gold and Platinum-rated projects.
*Jharkhand's Urban Development and Housing Department offers an additional FAR of three per cent, five per cent and seven per cent for green buildings rated as Silver, Gold and Platinum, respectively.
While a lot is being done to promote the construction of green structures and also, with many projects being constructed, there a few challenges that need to be addressed. These include:
*Green buildings are perceived as a luxury in other developed nations, but, for India, these are a necessity. In a country where energy supply is short and savings from energy consumption are the need, a green building fulfills both the purpose. The challenge now is to deliver this necessity at a cost that does not pinch the homebuyer.
*One of the biggest challenges that the sustainable building market faces is a gap between the cost of technology and the economic status. While the market now has plenty of technology-based solutions to develop green structures or to improve the energy efficiency of existing structures, the cost of investment is high.
*Lack of awareness is another key challenge that this segment faces. While there are green buildings in India, not many are aware of what makes them green. It is time to get the positives of a green building, the use and the maintenance of the same needs to be propagated among the general public.