Corporate India is going “green” with its new campuses and buildings across the country. And this is primarily because it wants to cut down on power and water consumption, to reduce its operational and overhead costs.
According to green building certification agency, Indian Green Building Council (IGBC), out of the 25 billion sq.ft. of built up area in India green spaces have crossed the 2 billion sq.ft mark. Now the green brigade is looking to reach 10 billion sq.ft by 2022.
Over 300 new green buildings are coming up in different locations in the country. Some of the prominent green commercial projects include Godrej Genesis in Kolkata, J W Marriot Near International Airport, Andheri East, Mumbai, the Indian Oil Corporation Building and learning centre in Panipat, Haryana. In the residential segment Avani Residence upcoming residential complex in Hyderabad has been given a LEEDS Platinum certification and similarly BCIL T ZED Homes in Bangalore has also been given the same rating.
Corporate offices that already dot the Indian landscape with green certified buildings include the Suzlon OneEarth — the renewable energy giant Suzlon’s campus in Pune, Chennai Developmental Centre (Chennai), Wipro Tech Park (Visakhapatnam), Dabur India Building (Chandigarh), Thermax Corporate office (Pune) and Infosys campuses, to name a few.
Others are also making conscious efforts to go green.
IT bellwether Infosys says that they have only invested in LEED rated platinum buildings in the last 6-7 years. “If we take certifications we will match a minimum of gold standard. There is nothing called moving to green among corporates. This has become a way of life for us,” Ramdas Kamat, Senior Vice-President and Head of Infrastructure at Infosys told Express.
(The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design or (LEED-INDIA) Green Building Rating System is a nationally and internationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings.)
Ramdas Kama said that there is no need to spend more money to consume more energy. Built as per LEED specifications the per capita energy consumption in Infosys has today gone down by 50% since 2007 and water consumption (per capita) has reduced by around 30%.
The company has all its facilities in Hyderabad, Mysore, Mangalore, Trivandrum and Pune as LEED Platinum certified. “Our cost of construction has not remained within the estimated budget,” Kamat said.
Neo Town, spread over 120 acres, is a environment-friendly project coming up in Electronics City in South Bangalore. The project is expected to be completed in 2017.
But what makes a green building Green? “A building that strives to optimize demand for electricity, water and other natural resources (in construction, operation and demolition); generates all its electricity on site through renewable energy; caters to its water demands through sustainable processes such as rainwater harvesting; and recycles all its waste on site would qualify as a building meeting highest standards of greenness,” Priyanka Kochhar, Senior Programme Associate at The Energy Research Institute (TERI) said.
“Green buildings are those that take in the five elements of nature. It has to be energy efficient and sustainable, fresh air intake for natural cooling and heating, use of natural materials for construction and higher water savings,” S Srinivas who heads the Green Building Division in GBC told Express.
He says that their journey of green buildings started with the setting up of the Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Centre building in Hyderabad, which became the first Platinum rated green building outside of the US and the third in the world.
In Chattisgarh, New Raipur authorities are taking a bold step in creating green spaces. Chhattisgarh State Electricity Regulatory Commission (CSERC) building in new Raipur is not just self sufficient but has become the country’s first net energy plus government building. So much so that all the government buildings here are only allowed to use CFL lights to minimizing power consumption.
“The project has seen a lot of enquiry and there has been a lot of curiosity for information. We are working with several people who have evinced interest in such projects,” Aman Singh, Chairman, Chattisgarh New And Renewable Energy Corporation.
“Green projects have tremendous impact on demand side management, “ Singh added.
The centre was built with a total investment of about `5 crore of which `1.24 crore has been invested for 80 kw solar power plant. The building is the first Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) rated project. Besides, it also exports surplus solar power to the grid making it a revenue earner.
“So far as savings go, it is huge as conventional energy sources are used minimally in this building. In effect it negates our dependence on thermal energy and at the same time it gives an opportunity to have a very negligible carbon footprint. It is a very prudent investment,” Singh said.
“With no real additional time for construction, a green building’s life cycle also improves dramatically,” Srinivas adds.
Trying to quantify the savings, Kochhar says: “A green building would typically save 40%-60% in energy consumption and about 35%-55% would be saved in water usage if GRIHA (the Indian green building standards) are followed. Even if the initial investments in such buildings is higher (for efficient systems and technologies), the costs are typically recovered in less than 2 years.”
TERI points out a few encouraging signs that the government has initiated to promote green buildings.
“The States of Punjab and Assam, Government of Delhi, Noida, Delhi Development Authority and the Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) in Maharashtra have adopted GRIHA and passed resolutions incentivizing all future buildings to be GRIHA compliant,” Kochhar says and adds that the there is an existing order by the MNRE making all future Government and PSUs at least 3 star GRIHA compliant.