India has over three billion sq ft of registered green footprint, the second largest globally. Of this, a large chunk, however, includes commercial realty space. With increasing pollution and a large number of housing societies managed by resident welfare associations, it is necessary to ensure that all residents in such societies lead healthy lives in a green environment.
Green practices can be easily implemented in housing societies through simple, cost-effective steps such as a no-smoking policy in common areas, imparting green education to occupants, laying walking tracks, following rainwater harvesting practices, landscaping areas, including water efficient fixtures, segregating dry and wet waste, using solar power for common area lighting and encouraging installation of electric charging points for vehicles in common areas.
Aiming to encourage more residential societies to go in for a green rating, the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) launched a Green Residential Societies Rating System (perhaps the first of its kind in the country) for existing multi-dwelling communities (pilot version) at the Green Building Congress 2015 held in Gandhinagar, Gujarat, last week.
Around 10 builder societies, mostly in Pune and Mumbai have signed up for the initiative since the launch of the system, which translates to 5,000 flats spread across 4.0 million sq ft area. “By the end of next year, as per conservative estimates, we anticipate rating 60 to 75 societies/projects,” say IGBC sources.
For a rating, any residential society (builder, cooperatives, decades-old DDA societies) operational for over and above a year can register. This includes both DDA societies spread across Delhi, cooperative societies across NCR and projects developed by private developers which meet specific criteria.
There are various levels of rating and for very basic certification, a society has to score 30-39 points on certain parameters. A silver certification is required for 40-49 points; for gold 50-64 points are needed and for a platinum rating, societies need to score 65 and above.
Registration costs come to `10,000 and the certificate fee is `85,000 for up to 100 units, `1,30,000 for over 101 to 500 units, `1,75,000 for 501 to 1,000 units and `2,20,000 for over 1000 residential units, say IGBC sources.
The certification is valid for three years from the date of the certification. Societies can also upgrade their rating by appealing to the IGBC for a nominal fee in these three years. Thereafter, they can renew their rating, say IGBC sources.
The rating will help residents get a reasonable appreciation of 5% to 10% in property rates, says V Suresh, chairman, policy and advocacy committee, IGBC. In the long run, he said such ratings will help residents avail property tax incentives.