Today all stakeholders, especially at the decision-making level in the building sector have heard of 'Green Buildings'. Over the past ten years, we are told, there has been a steady increase in number of projects contending for green credentials. With 1278 projects registered with IGBC and 128 with ADaRSH respectively till date, under their green rating programmes, about 140 buildings on an average every year have aspired for green credentials across India. In comparison to the new construction in India over the same period, this is infinitesimal. As a voluntary, market-led initiative, it is unlikely that the 'green building movement' will catch up with the pace of mainstream construction. With little data on actual performance of green rated buildings in the public domain, the credibility and sustainability of market-led initiatives is yet to be established. Therefore, policy interventions are indispensable for a quicker transformation of the construction industry.
The Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), Government of India administers the 'Environmental Clearance' (EC) procedure for projects through state committees for qualifying building and township projects. Notionally, the projects cleared by MoEF are capable of minimizing the impacts on environment and therefore should be green. Going by facts, it is hard to establish any particular pattern of resource-consumption or pollution prevention in these projects; consequently casting doubts on the efficacy of the environmental clearance process in ensuring environmental protection.
Other than EC (if applicable), all the necessary statutory clearances for new building projects are given by the local government/development authority. Some state governments have mandated green buildings (often without clear definition of green) for government sector and intend to make it mandatory for all buildings in the course of time. Here it is worth mentioning that the mandatory compliance with ECBC (which is a part of green rating compliances) is yet to materialize in any state of India (after 10 years of passing the Energy Conservation Act and 4 years of announcing the ECBC).
As such, making green buildings mandatory by state governments is unlikely in the current scheme of things. Local governments, especially in the larger cities with enough financial resources and severe development pressures are considering incentives for inclusion of green features in new buildings. The MoEF has also recently offered a fast track clearance option for projects that have a pre-certification from IGBC or ADaRSH for their project designs under a relevant green rating programme. The consultants for EC have hitherto been different from consultants for green ratings.
It turns out that a consultant today needs to be familiar with all the green building policies, incentives for building green, green rating systems, green technologies and analytical tools to be competitive in the urban building design services market. CSE, with its role as a public interest policy research & advocacy organization is committed to empower the building professional community to transform the industry. Knowledge-based activism beings it forte, it is already engaged with government at various levels, lobbying for responsible implementation of the EC process.The knowledge, experience and networks developed in this process would be of great benefit to the building professional community.
The Sustainable Building unit of CSE is organizing a 3 day Training programme on 'Policy & Practices. Anyone with professional interest in Green Buildings as a bureaucrat, regulator, researcher, consultant or just a concerned citizen will benefit from this programme. The resource persons for the programme are drawn from Government at all levels, Industry, Research Institutions and Academia.
We seek your interest and support in making our habitats sustainable. Please send us your nominations at the earliest. Also kindly spread the word amongst your networks.
FOR INFORMATION CONTACT
SAKSHI C. DASGUPTA
Deputy Programme Manager, Sustainable Building Programme
Centre for Science and Environment
41, Tughlakabad Institutional Area, New Delhi - 62
Phone: +91 (011) 29955124/125 (Ext. 250)
Mob: +91 9811910901
Fax: +91 (011) 29955879