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Three primary rating systems for Green buildings in India

GMR aero tower_Green Building
GMR aero tower – LEED ‘Silver’ rated

For the past few years, the word ‘Green Buildings’ is continuously hogging limelight in the media. Some of us might have seen the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) – Green Business Centre building in Hyderabad which is one of the green buildings in India.  Now the question comes up – what exactly are these structures? How are different from other buildings? And why are they green?

We can define Green Buildings as structures that ensure efficient use of natural resources like building materials, water, energy and other resources with minimal generation of non-degradable waste. Technologies like efficient cooling systems have sensors that can sense the heat generated from human body and automatically adjust the room temperature, saving energy. It applies to  lighting systems too. Green buildings have a smarter lighting system that automatically switches off when no one is present inside the rooms. Simple technologies like air based flushing system in toilets that avoids water use by 100%, Use of energy efficient LED’s and CFL’s instead of conventional incandescent lamp, new generation appliances that consume less energy, and many other options help in making the buildings green and make them different from conventional ones.

What is Green building certification and why is it required?

Whether Green buildings are really green is to be decided against the predefined rating systems. There are three primary Rating systems in India.

  1. GRIHA
  2. IGBC
  3. BEE

Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment (GRIHA)

Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment (GRIHA) is India’s own rating system jointly developed by TERI and the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Government of India. It is a green building design evaluation system where buildings are rated in a three-tier process. The process initiates with the online submission of documents as per the prescribed criteria followed by on site visit and evaluation of the building by a team of professionals and experts from GRIHA Secretariat.  GRIHA rating system consists of 34 criteria categorised in four different sections. Some of them are  – ( 1) Site selection and site planning, (2) Conservation and efficient utilization of resources, (3) Building operation and maintenance, and (4) Innovation. (Know more about the criteria for the GRIHA rating system)

Commonwealth Games Village, New Delhi, Fortis Hospital, New Delhi, CESE (Centre for Environmental Sciences & Engineering) Bldg, IIT Kanpur, Suzlon One Earth, Pune  and many other buildings has received GRIHA rating (Know about more such buildings here).

Indian Green Building Council (IGBC)

The Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) is the rating system developed for certifying Green Buildings. LEED is developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), the organization promoting sustainability through Green Buildings. LEED is a framework for assessing building performance against set criteria and standard points of references. The benchmarks for the LEED Green Building Rating System were developed in year 2000 and are currently available for new and existing constructions.

LEED-INDIA approach for Green BuildingsConfederation of Indian Industry (CII) formed the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) in year 2001.  IGBC is the non profit research institution having its offices in CII-Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Centre, which is itself a LEED certified Green building. Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) has licensed the LEED Green Building Standard from the USGBC. IGBC facilitates Indian green structures to become one of the green buildings.

 IGBC has developed the following green building rating systems for different types of building in line and conformity with US Green Building Council. Till date, following Green Building rating systems are available under IGBC; (more information here)

  1. LEED India for New Construction
  2. LEED India for Core and Shell
  3. IGBC Green Homes
  4. IGBC Green Factory Building
  5. IGBC Green SEZ
  6. IGBC Green Townships

Some examples of LEED rated building in India

Sr. No Green Buildings Rating received


ABN Amro Bank N.V., Ahmedabad LEED ‘Platinum’ rated


American Embassy School, Delhi LEED ‘Gold’ rated


Anna Centenary Library Building, Chennai LEED ‘Gold’ rated


Biodiversity Conservation India Ltd (BCIL) – Bangalore LEED ‘Platinum’ rated


Birla International School, Jaipur LEED ‘Gold’ rated


CII – Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Centre LEED ‘Platinum’ rated


ITC Green Centre – Gurgaon LEED ‘Platinum’ rated


Olympia Technology Park – Chennai LEED ‘Gold’ rated


Rajiv Gandhi International Airport – Hyderabad LEED ‘Silver’ rated


Suzlon Energy Limited – global headquarter in Pune LEED ‘Platinum’ rated
Find more LEED rated building in India


Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE)

BEE developed its own rating system for the buildings based on a 1 to 5 star scale. More stars mean more energy efficiency.   BEE has developed the Energy Performance Index (EPI). The unit of Kilo watt hours per square meter per year is considered for rating the building and especially targets air conditioned and non-air conditioned office buildings. The Reserve Bank of India’s buildings in Delhi and Bhubaneshwar, the CII Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Centre and many other buildings have received BEE 5 star ratings.  (Know more on BEE green buildings rating system)

Indians were aware of Green Building concepts from the beginning.  Conventional homes with baked red colour roof tiles and clay made walls is a really good example of energy efficient structures that are used to keep cool during summers and warm during the winters.  Most of rural India is still attached to this building technology with naturally available materials like clay, wood, jute ropes, etc.  Today we have advanced technologies that create smarter systems to control inside temperature, lighting systems, power and water supply and waste generation. Green buildings might be a bit heavy on the pursebut are good for the environment. In this rapidly changing world, we should adopt the technology that helps us to save precious natural resources. This would lead us to true sustainable development.

References:  GRIHA, IGBC,USGBC and BEE official websites

Read more on Innovative Building Materials in India: Need Sustainable Innovation


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