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Going Green

Friday, June 16, 2017

With all the buzz going around about the need for a sustainable development and saving our natural resources, ‘Green Buildings’ come as a breath of fresh air, says Ankush Asabe

What Exactly is a ‘Green Home’? Is it green colored? Is it made out of recycled material? Does it look like a tree house? Going beyond home, what is a ‘Green Building' that you may call your very own ‘Green Home'? Green Homes are buildings designed by keeping sustainability and long term future efficiency in mind. The designs are kept so as to maximize the efficiency when it comes to using energy, water, and materials. The long-term goal of such a building is to have minimal impact on human health and environment throughout the entire lifecycle of the building. Green Homes or Green Building concepts start from the design on the table and extend beyond the walls of your home to site planning, community, and land-use.

Why Green Homes are important today
Our community and society plays a significant impact on our natural environment and surroundings. Depending on the manufacturing, layout, design, construction, materials and modus operandi of the buildings in which we live and work are responsible for the usage of many of our natural resources. Recent studies in the United States have found that unlike Green Homes, regular buildings accounts for 40% of total energy use, 65% of total electricity consumption, 30% of landfill waste, 40% of carbon dioxide emissions, and 12% of total water consumption.

Environmental benefits

  • Enhancing and protecting of biodiversity and ecosystems around your home and workplace.
  • Fresher air by improving the air quality of the surroundings.
  • Improves the water quality thereby giving access to with reduces waste water streams.
  • Reducing trash, pollution, and degradation of the environment.
  • An overall reduction in the solid and liquid wastes of the neighborhood.
  • An effective approach towards conserving and restoring natural resources.

Economic Benefits For Your Pockets

  • By reducing the operational costs, Green Homes are more efficient and helps you save big.
  • Better living conditions for the occupants hence improve their productivity.
  • Green Homes have better asset values and profits since they are built keeping sustainability for future generations in mind.

The Social Benefits Beyond your Walls

  • With better air, water and other natural resource qualities, Green Homes enhance the health and comfort of the occupants.
  • Green Homes reduce the strain on local utility infrastructures.
  • With the improvement in the overall quality of life, society and locality become a better place to live in.

How to build a Green Home
Not any building can be called a Green Building or a Green Home. Since these homes and office spaces have great direct and indirect impacts on the environment, there are a certain set of accreditations or compliances which they must adhere to. Due to the undeniable fact that right from the groundbreaking, construction, occupancy, renovation, repurposing, and demolition, buildings use energy, water, and raw materials, generate waste, and emit potentially harmful atmospheric emissions. All these facts have led to the creation and formulation of certain green building standards, certifications, and rating systems that are important for the sustainable growth of building and the surrounding environment.

Indian Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE)
The Indian Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) has launched the Energy Conservation Building Code (ECBC) which should be taken into account while constructing the building. Any building that has a minimum conditioned area of 1000 Sq Mts and a power supply demand of 500 KW or 600 KVA and consumes from 90 kW•h/sqm/year to 200 kW•h/sqm/year can be termed as "ECBC Compliant Building". The CII Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Centre is a BEE 5 star rated building in India.

LEED was created in the year 2000 in the USA and is today followed in over 60 countries worldwide. The Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEEDIndia) Green Building Rating System is a global standard for the design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings (provided by IGBC).

The ‘IGBC Green Existing Building O&M Rating System’ is a system by the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) for applying sustainable concepts to existing buildings.

A national rating system, The Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment is adopted while designing, constructing and evaluating new buildings.

Established in the year 1992, Energy Star is a certification label for energy efficient products.

It is a program that offers and rates products as per their water efficiency.

SCS Global Services
The SCS Global Services certification is based on a set of standards for recycled content, biodegradable liquid products, and no added formaldehyde products.

Green Seal
Referenced in several LEED rating systems, Green Seal covers building products like paints, adhesives, lamps, electric chillers, windows, window films, and occupancy sensors.

The GREENGUARD Environmental Institute certifies products that comply with their rigorous formaldehyde, emissions, and chemical testing requirements.

Green Squared
Green Squared is a certification that covers products used in a tile installation.

Innumerable advantages
Green Homes ensure that materials used in the construction are of higher quality and longevity. This leads to the reduction in construction waste and better management of leftover products.

Green building lower the cost of running public places, increase the efficiency of providing services and help create the right environment to implement better ideas and innovations. Green Homes have better sales and rental premiums while reducing the capital expenditure and have lower costs of repairs as compared to regular or non- green buildings. Energy and water efficient buildings also help save businesses and consumers money while having a higher selling value.

(Ankush Asabe is Chairman and Managing Director, Shree Venkatesh Buildcon Pvt Ltd)

Impact of Green Homes
Green Home impacts minimizing the energy consumption at every stage of the building. This begins right from the idea on paper to realization, construction to the final usage. Green Home offers an opportunity for increased output with decreased impact and ensure a move towards greater resource efficiency. These Homes play a great role when it comes to protecting our water resources. Effective management of water, resources and rainfall drainage system can help with the drinking water problem and reduction of water used in construction and industrial sector. Green buildings ensure healthier interaction between water, soil and the whole environmental system.

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