Rumi Engineer_Green Building_ProjectsMonitor— Rumi Engineer, Senior General Manager, Green Building Consultancy Services, Godrej & Boyce Mfg. Co. Ltd

Godrej has been associated with the Green Building movement right from the inception of the first green building in India—the Platinum rated CII- Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Centre in Hyderabad. Godrej has been providing green Building services and encouraging the green building concept for the past many years. Rumi Engineer, in an email interaction with Jibran Buchh, shares his views on the green building sector in India.

The green building movement in India was started with the CII-Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Centre in Hyderabad, the first Platinum rated green building. What is the current scenario of green building in India?
From a modest beginning of 20,000 sq. ft of green built-up area in the country in 2003, today India has over 1.34 billion sq. ft of green building footprint. With 307 certified green buildings and over 1,827 registered buildings, the green footprint keeps on increasing with every passing day. Today, after a decade, the scenario couldn’t have seemed more Greener! ‘Green Building’ is merely not a buzzword, but a commercial concept.

Looking at the current scenario it is evident that smart, sustainable green buildings have become a necessity in today’s life to protect our environment. Green buildings may require incremental investment which pays back for itself within a span of three to four years. Planning at the concept design stage helps in managing the investment effectively.

In recent past number of rating schemes and building codes has been promoted and implemented, which has opened up a wide range of opportunities in construction, architecture and engineering design, building materials and equipment manufacture. Green buildings are gaining ground in the real estate market. Every construction should be ‘Green Building’.

What is the market outlook for green building in the 12th Five-Year Plan?
With changing socioeconomic fabric of India, people have higher aspirations than they have ever had before. We have seen faster economic growth in the last 10 years with some significant benefits to the masses. The 12th Five- Year Plan has set the indicative target GDP growth in the range of 9 to 9.5 per cent; thereby raising the expectations of all segments. The 12th Plan must live up to the challenge of meeting these high expectations.

With all the envisaged growth, it must be noted that, no development process can afford to neglect the environmental consequences of economic activity. After all ‘quality’ of growth matters, not just the rate! This would mean use of far more energy efficient technologies, pursue development which is ‘inclusive and sustainable’. It would be imperative to devise strategy of development which effectively reconciles the objective of development with the objective of protecting the environment. Water is yet another key natural resource in limited supply and there is a yawning gap between supply and demand. These are issues which demand mainstream attention and pose challenges, which this plan must address squarely.

Waste Management is a greater challenge and posing a great threat to mankind at all levels.

How would you define green building?
Green Building can be defined as a building which uses less water, optimises energy efficiency, conserves natural resources, generates less waste and provides healthier spaces for occupants, as compared to a conventional building. The green building uses processes that are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building’s lifecycle: from planning to design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation, and demolition.

What are some of its key components and applications?
Green building applies five key components to traditional building practices for improving the comfort of the occupant and the impact of the space on the occupant, the surrounding community, and the environment.

The five key concepts are as follows:

  • Site and Community Impact (erosion, storm water, land use, social impact, air pollutants outside the home, global community impact)
  • Water Conservation (includes irrigation, plantings, potable and treated water used)
  • Energy Efficiency (energy consumed in the operation and occupation of the building)
  • Resource Efficiency (includes concepts of durability, embodied energy, recyclability, lifecycle analysis)
  • Indoor Environmental Quality (includes environmental tobacco smoke, materials with toxic chemicals, design for effective ventilation, daylight).

Are you satisfied with government support in green building and its associated segments?
There are various corporates and developers like Infosys, Wipro, Tata, Godrej, Raheja and Hiranandani who have imbibed sustainability in their business. Local authorities have taken cognisance of the merits of green building features and have aligned some of them into by-laws thus making it mandatory to comply with. The green building initiative like any other should be a self-realising one.

Analogy: It is like one gets educated to become a good citizen and earn a decent life; it is not what will one get in return, then one decides to pursue education.

In some northern states there has been incentive of additional 5 per cent FSI for IGBC rated Gold certified or GRIHA rated Four Star projects. Although there have been some announcements from the government in terms of incentives and tax rebates, this is yet to fructify.

How can green building play a critical role in infrastructure development in the country?
With all the planning about India becoming a global leader with an encouraging GDP, all future infrastructure developments should aim to be technology driven and sustainable. More so the ‘Sustainability’ programme is not seen anymore as an add-on activity but has become an integral part of any business strategy.

It is thus imperative to understand that the Green Building is an important sub-set under the vast umbrella of the ‘Sustainability Programme’. With more buildings going under the green cover, it will enable us to preserve our natural resources and optimise the usage of the various resources available to us thereby causing minimum impact to the environment around. It will in fact help to develop more sustainable structures and recreate habitats closer to the nature! Even the marketability and branding of the building will have a better perspective.

The green project concept is relatively new in the Indian project industry. How can it benefit projects across industrial, construction and infrastructure sectors?
The green revolution started in India around 2006 and has gained momentum ever since. From a humble footprint of 20,000 sq. ft the total green building footprint today is close to 1.34 billion sq. ft. This included commercial projects, IT parks, hotels, educational institutes, residential townships and complexes. Green building processes, materials and products can be the next “big thing” to spur economic growth.

Although IGBC has a rating system for factories and industries, infrastructure sectors do not have a certification system. Green factory building can have tremendous benefits, both tangible and intangible. The most tangible benefits are the reduction in water and energy consumption right from day of occupancy. The energy savings could range from 30-40 per cent and water savings around 20-30 per cent. Intangible benefits of green factory include enhanced indoor air quality, good day-lighting, health, well-being and safety of the workmen. Priorities like water efficiency, handling of waste, energy efficiency, reduced use of fossil fuels, reduced dependency on virgin materials and occupational health are addressed in the rating system.

Engaging in the green building process is rewarding and beneficial in itself. However, certification is a way to celebrate the effort done to be green, and it is also a way to acknowledge all of those involved in creating a healthier environment.

One of the most important reasons for utilising the Green Building Certification process is the teamwork that is required. The process involves all the players up front in the early stages of a project to review drawings and discuss the order in which everything should be done. As such, so many ideas are shared and expensive mistakes are avoided, that, more than offset the extra time or materials involved.

What is the market share of Godrej’s Green Building Consultancy Services in green building?
We do not wish to disclose market share of Godrej.

The green building market is likely to grow 10x and GBCS will also grow at the same rate. We are planning to venture into the Middle East and the US market. The Middle East is an emerging market which offers lot of opportunities; the US, on the other hand, is a developed market and the largest green building market. We have to make a breakthrough in these markets and are in talks with various consultants and developers. Projects are on an anvil however, decisions are still to be made.

Can you discuss some of your ongoing green building projects?
We work on pan-India basis and have undertaken projects in all the categories (due to confidentiality we cannot disclose the project names), such as, new construction/ core and shell, commercial interiors, existing buildings, factories, townships, retail, hospitality and hospitals.


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