There are many definitions of what a green building is or does. A green building incorporates design, construction, and operational practices that significantly reduce or eliminate its negative impact on the environment and its occupants. Building green is an opportunity to use resources efficiently while creating healthier environments for people to live and work in. A green building uses less energy, water and natural resources than a conventional building. It also creates less waste and provides a healthier living environment for people living inside it compared to a conventional building. Green buildings incorporate several sustainable features such as efficient use of water, energy-efficient and eco-friendly environment, use of renewable energy and recycled/recyclable materials, effective use of landscapes, effective control and building management systems and improved indoor quality for health and comfort.
Most of the internationally developed devised rating systems have been tailored to suit the building industry of the country where they have been developed. TERI, in order to popularise green buildings, developed a tool for measuring and rating a building’s environmental performance in the context of India’s varied climate and building practices. GRIHA is an evaluation tool to help design, build, operate, and maintain a resource-efficient built environment. It appraises the environmental performance of a building holistically over its entire life cycle, thereby providing a definitive standard for what constitutes a “green building”. The rating system is based on accepted energy and environmental principles and seeks to strike a balance between the established practices and emerging concepts, both national and international.
It has a few variants, like SVAGRIHA and GRIHA LD (for large developments), which makes GRIHA applicable to all buildings, irrespective of their areas.
SVAGRIHA (Simple Versatile Affordable GRIHA) is a rating system for small homes, offices and commercial buildings with built-up area of less than 2500 square meters. On the other hand, GRIHA LD is a rating system for planning green large developments like green campuses, townships and special economic zones.
Endorsed by the MNRE, GRIHA is a 5 star rating system for green buildings, which emphasises on passive solar techniques for optimising indoor visual and thermal comfort. GRIHA encourages optimisation of building design to reduce conventional energy demand and further optimise energy performance of the building within specific comfort limits. A building is assessed on its predicted performance over its entire life cycle from inception through operation.
Green Building- Myths and Challenges
There are various myths regarding the green building implementation. One example is the myth that sustainability costs more, which ignores recent research as well as the reality that for any society to thrive and prosper, it must seek to create a healthy balance between its environmental, social, and economic dimensions as sustainability is not just about building green but building a healthy community and sustaining a quality of life.
Although green building has made tremendous strides in the past few years, there remain many who still are unconvinced of its benefits due to numerous myths and misconceptions floating around the main stream construction.
· Green buildings often lack the aesthetic quality of conventional buildings
· Green building products are often difficult to find
· Green building products do not work as well as the traditional ones
· Building green is too difficult and complicated
· It is difficult or not possible to convert existing conventional buildings into energy efficient buildings
In reality, it is proven that all these myths are the misconceptions of the people, all it needs it better implementation and educating the people about the concepts and contexts of building green.
GRIHA has worked with government construction departments such as Central Public Works Department (CPWD) and has revised their schedules and specifications to adhere to GRIHA requirements, with particular emphasis on Energy Conservation Building Code (ECBC).
Here are a few green building case studies where strategies used have helped achieve significant energy savings and resource optimisation.
IOCL DO Office Building, Indore: Passive architecture design
This building makes use of passive architectural design. Incorporation of passive architectural techniques in a building design helps to minimise the load on conventional systems such as heating, cooling, ventilation and lighting.
The building is designed in a way that it reduces direct heat gain, while maximising daylight penetration. Over 82% of total area falls under the day lit zone. 2kWP solar photovoltaic panels have been installed to meet the energy requirements.
Building envelope has been optimised through selection of appropriate wall and roof construction to increase the thermal efficiency.
Over 71% of the total open area on site is soft paved and shaded. Turf pavers have been used that allows vegetation growth and penetration of water.
This is a 5 star SVAGRIHA rated project.
University of Petroleum and Energy Studies, Dehradun: Net Zero Waste Generation Design
The campus has ‘Net Zero Waste Generation’. A planned and extremely methodical waste management system is key to this tag. The sewage treatment plan installed in the campus is based on the activated sludge process. All the waste water generated in the campus is channelized to this sewage treatment plant (STP). The campus also has a bio-digester, which disintegrates all the organic waste generated. The bio-digester generates slurry from the organic waste while the STP releases treated water and slurry. The water is of tertiary standards and is used for irrigation. The slurry released from both sources is dried and used as manure. The excessive bio-fertiliser is packed and sold in the market.
42.73% reduction in energy consumption and 33.16% reduction in water consumption as compared to the GRIHA benchmarks have been observed by the GRIHA auditors, due to the sustainable building design practices that have been incorporated in the building. This project has achieved a 4-star GRIHA rating.