Green - Building Rating: Overrated

Green Rating of Buildings Taking Roots

The idea of green rating of buildings has taken roots in India. This is in line with the global trend in which the rating tools set benchmarks for green measures for constructing and using buildings to make them sustainable and to reduce their negative impacts on environment. Based on the magnitude of green measures adopted, points are awarded to a building and, after appropriate weighting, a total score is ascribed to determine the rating of the building. This helps to convey the range of application of green measures in building construction.

Globally, this is emerging as a popular tool to drive the building construction sector to adopt sustainable practices. This complements the command and control measures including regulatory mandates and standards. Ratings are largely voluntary schemes that are expected to stimulate market and consumer interest in green buildings. In fact, in most regions voluntary building rating schemes have often preceded regulatory mandates and have also helped in defining standards.

One of the reasons for interest in voluntary rating schemes is that the green buildings require a complex set of sustainability criteria related to a wide range of resource and material use which is often difficult to package as a single regulatory instrument upfront for enforcement. The advantage of the rating system is that it helps to disseminate green building practices outside the realm of regulations that are often impeded by structural and institutional barriers. This is a quicker way of increasing market outreach and build consumer support and awareness at the societal level. Green building rating is a practice that has the potential to become the standard. But it needs to be widely understood by building owners, architects, building managers, and occupiers to make an effective impact.

The developers see `reputation` advantage in marketing improved environmental performance of buildings and capitalize on their investments in green buildings. Aware consumer clientele can also influence the property market by pitching demand for green credentials of the buildings. Ratings help the consumer to compare buildings and make the appropriate choice. This creates incentives for resource efficient buildings that are urgently needed in our cities to reduce the resource impacts. Rating is a legitimate way of changing practice and influencing change. It can also be a powerful tool in mainstreaming a large number of green measures that can collectively make the impact.

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