By Lata Jha
The ‘Green Concept’ has been present in all walks of life regardless of us knowing about it or applying it. Today, people are realizing the need to save the environment since it has been over exploited for creating the comforts that we have. We have reached the stage where it is almost impossible to go back to the life pattern that used to be decades ago. It was more eco friendly and the system of waste management and recycling of resources was built intelligently. If we go back, there used to be a cow in every household in the villages. The cow was the source of milk, considered as the complete food. The cow dung was used as fuel for cooking; the ashes from burnt fuel were used to clean utensils. What a fine example of waste management in each household.
It’s time to ‘Go Green’ again. Since the construction Industry contributes to an estimated 50% of the world’s air pollution, 42% of its greenhouse gases, 50% of all water pollution, 48% of all solid waste and 50% of all CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) to the environment. Considering the present scenario TERI (The Energy and Resources Institute) has developed a tool called ‘GRIHA’ for measuring and rating a building’s environmental performance in the context of India’s varied climate and building practices. This tool, by its qualitative and quantitative assessment criteria, would be able to ‘rate‘a building on the degree of its Greenness based on the accepted energy and environmental principles, seeks to strike a balance between the current practices and emerging concepts, both national and international.
GRIHA was developed as an indigenous building rating system integrating all relevant Indian codes and standards for buildings and acts as a tool to facilitate implementation of the same. Endorsed by The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), Government of India as of November 1, 2007, GRIHA is a five star rating system for Green Buildings. The Ministry provided incentives under its Solar Building Programme to prepare detailed project reports for constructing solar passive buildings and partial financial assistance was also provided for construction of such buildings. Currently, MNRE is implementing a scheme on ‘Energy Efficient Solar/Green Buildings with the main objective to promote the widespread construction of energy efficient Solar/Green Buildings in the country through a combination of financial and promotional incentives to save a substantial amount of electricity and other fossil fuels apart from having peak load shavings in cities and towns. With an aim to expedite implementation of the rating system, MNRE has modified the provisions of scheme to exempt first 100 Govt. Public Sector Buildings from paying registration cum rating fee in advance at the time of registration.
The construction industry today is keener on acquiring GRIHA ratings to add a Green dimension and prestige to their projects and more importantly complying with their responsibilities towards the conservation of the environment and Mother Earth.