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Save energy, paint the town green

Opting for green buildings is not just about being environmentally conscious but also about saving money. If designed and operated right, they can save up to 50% energy costs. Sidhartha Roy reports. ITC Green Centre: How it became energy-efficient | How to build a green home| Delhi’s green buildings

delhi Updated: Apr 25, 2013 01:38 IST
Sidhartha Roy
Sidhartha Roy
Hindustan Times

Ten years ago, the term green building would have meant the colour of the structure to most people. Today, India is on the perch of witnessing a green building revolution.

Exactly a decade ago, in 2003, the CII-Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Centre came up in Hyderabad and received the prestigious Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum Green Building certificate.

The number of green buildings in the country registered with the Indian Green Building Council today is more than 2,000.

The NCR has the second largest number of green buildings in the country, with most of them located in satellite towns of Gurgaon and Noida. For NCR that guzzles more power than it can produce, going green is the only way out in the not-so-distant energy-deficient future.

Constructing green buildings is not just about being environmentally conscious but also about saving money. Buildings that are planned, constructed and operated in a green fashion can save up to 50% of energy costs.

From huge corporate offices to government buildings, hospitals to hotels and villas to small houses, green buildings are beneficial to everyone. Though its construction cost can be slightly high, its benefits mean that the costs are evened out in just a few years. Delhi’s green buildings

"Traditionally, India always had green buildings. But due to globalisation, we moved to non-green buildings," said Mili Majumdar Director (Sustainable Habitat), The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI).

"We never used air-conditioning earlier, but most buildings now are energy guzzlers. Consumers are not aware of the benefits of green buildings. Also, developers are not very keen on introducing green measures as they don't see a direct benefit in it." Majumdar dismissed as myth the belief that green buildings were costly. She said the expenditure depended on how well you plan them.

A lot of people in NCR have begun to understand the concept and benefits of green homes, she said, adding that "People can ensure that their houses have better orientation for optimum use of sunlight, landscaping around house to keep it cool, use energy-efficient glass and allow natural ventilation."

But some experts feel that just constructing green buildings was not enough. "Eighty per cent of the façade of most upcoming buildings is enveloped by glass, which lets in a lot of heat and sunlight. Just using energy-efficient glass is not the solution," said Anumita Roy Chowdhury, Executive Director, Centre for Science and Environment. "What we need are design interventions to reduce dependence on artificial light and air-conditioning."

Roy Chowdhury said that apart from rating and certifying a structure as green building, there should be regular audits to see if they are actually saving as much energy as they are supposed to.

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First Published: Apr 25, 2013 00:09 IST