Kolkata: The green building concept is swiftly catching up in the country partly because of government sops and partly because of the marketing strategy of real estate developers to get customers -- and everyone is now busy linking it to climate change.
According to figures available with the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC), part of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII)-Godrej Green Building Council, in 2008 India had only 18 certified green buildings and 328 projects in the pipeline.
In 2009, the figure of certified green buildings rose to 52. The number of future projects also went up to 436. IGBC has representation from corporate, government, architects, product manufacturers and other institutions.
"In the last five years the trend of green buildings has really caught up in India. It is because of globalisation and westernisation as many new companies have entered the country to start their businesses," said Shreshth Nagpal, technical head of Spectral Service Consultants Private Ltd.
"The developers are finding these buildings cost beneficial and easy to woo the customers. For them green buildings have become a marketing tool. And at the same time governments are promoting green buildings to cut wastage of energy and carbon emissions," Nagpal said.
A green building is one which uses less water, optimises energy use, conserves natural resources, generates less waste and provides healthier spaces for occupants. The CII-Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Centre in Hyderabad, ITC Green Centre and Wipro Technologies in Gurgaon, Hiranandani BG Building in Mumbai and ABN Amro Central Enterprise Services Pvt Ltd in Chennai are a few among the green certified buildings in the country.
According to some estimates, buildings account for 39 percent of primary energy consumption and 38 percent of greenhouse gas emissions across the world. It also uses 12 percent of the world`s fresh water.
"A green building looks just the same as a conventional building. The difference is that the initial cost of green buildings are 5-30 percent more but the cost pays off in the long run because of cut in the energy consumption," said P.K. Banerjee, one of the directors at Forum Projects, which designed Kolkata`s first green certified building, Technopolis.
"Also these buildings are more employee-friendly and help increase their productivity. Other features include use of renewable energy and use of renewable recycled materials," he added.
Technopolis emits 7,500 tonnes less carbon dioxide every year, compared to a conventional building of the same size.
Green buildings are particularly important for Asia, home to the world`s most rapid economic growth.
"Asia`s share of global energy consumption has doubled in the past 30 years, and its buildings` share of energy use is growing at similar rates, with China and India alone constructing more than half of all the world`s new floor space," Mark Clifford, executive director of the Asia Business Council, wrote in a recent article.
Kolkata`s Mayor Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya said the city produces around 4,000 tonnes of waste every day.
"We have to consider this waste as wealth and devise ways to reduce carbon emissions. We have put a new policy in place to promote green buildings in the state. Some relaxations and tax benefits are being given to the developers to build green homes and buildings in the city," Bhattacharya said.