Demystifying myths about green buildings

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Reducing environmental degradation and providing occupant comfort, are the key features of a green building.

Green buildings are resource efficient, which save more than 40 per cent water and energy, as compared to conventional buildings.

Green buildings also have reduced operational cost, which in itself pays back over a very short period for the incremental costs. Resource optimisation is considered to be key for cost savings and green buildings follow the same concept.

GRIHA, the country’s own green building rating, is a tool to evaluate reduction in emission intensity through habitats. It has been recognised as part of India’s mitigation strategy to combat global warming and climate change.

Ratings are tools that help people assess the performance of their building against certain nationally acceptable benchmarks.

It evaluates the environmental performance of a building holistically over its entire life cycle thereby providing a definitive standard for what constitutes a ‘green building’.

GRIHA takes into account all aspects such as site orientation, energy savings, water conservation, green materials, socio-economic strategies, as well as operation and maintenance required to build a green building.

The rating system, based on accepted energy and environmental principles, will seek to strike a balance between established practices and emerging national and international concepts. GRIHA rating by its qualitative and quantitative assessment criteria is able to ‘rate’ a green building on the level of its 'greenness'.

Some of the major benefits of a green design to a building owner, user, and the society as a whole are enumerated below:

Reduced energy and water consumption without sacrificing the comfort levels

reduced destruction of natural areas, habitats, and biodiversity

Preventing soil erosion and curbing land pollution.

Reduced air and water pollution (with direct health benefits)

limited waste generation due to recycling and reuse

Increased user productivity and efficiency.

Keeping this in mind, GRIHA Council has also constructed “Sparsh”, an integrated, life sized model at the India Habitat Center for spreading awareness on green building.

The mock-up created has integrated all green building features and technologies to enhance visual, thermal and acoustic comfort to the occupants for healthy living.

(The writer is CEO, GRIHA Council. Views are personal)

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