India: U.S. council urges green norms for mass housing

Green finger: GBCI says it is working with the Ministry to help embed green solutions early on in projects.

GBCI in talks with Centre; eyes Housing for All scheme

Green Business Certification Inc, (GBCI) a part of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), has initiated discussions with the Indian government to make policy changes for incorporating green norms in mass housing projects.

The objective is to ensure that a larger section of society can avail of the economic, social and environmental benefits, a senior executive of GBCI said.

Earlier this week, the head of GBCI met the Minister for Housing and Urban Affairs, Hardeep Puri, and discussed ways to integrate green concepts and LEED rating into the larger context of Housing for All, a key objective of the government.

“The ministry is looking very strongly [at this] from a development point of view,” said Mahesh Ramanujam, president and CEO, GBCI and is also the president and CEO of USGBC.

“There is a need to have all the best practices incorporated now so that policy-making would be strong. We discussed the topic in depth and the Minister is… on board,” he said.

GBCI is urging the government to help incorporate green solutions at the initial stage in projects.

“We don’t want to make it a burden on customers. We are working with the Ministry to ensure that the solution is embedded and built-in when they are given the houses. One is helping them get the best value for that home right from the start,” Mr. Ramanujam said.

GBCI certifies buildings with LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating which is developed by its parent USGBC.

LEED is a widely used green building programme that aims to help buildings, homes, communities and cities achieve high performance in key areas of environmental and human health, he said.

For the mass housing segment, the EDGE rating, requiring compliance on lesser specifications, has been developed with the help of IFC and the World Bank.

He said an EDGE rating could help gain tangible benefits for the residents.


“If they use EDGE, they will save 20% in energy, 20% on water costs and 20% reduction in embodied energy that goes into materials, reducing the energy components. If they go for LEED they will save more,” he said.

He said with ‘green’ concepts incorporated in mass housing projects, the overall community would develop. People can save in energy and water costs, he added.

“Our effort is to help the government to implement [the concept]. Our role is encouragement, implementation support and providing solutions. So we see GBCI’s role in capacity building, education and outreach,” Mr. Ramanujam added.

He said now, the government is expected to frame regulations for developers to follow.

‘PEER ratings to follow’

Meanwhile, GBCI has also introduced its global rating system called Performance Excellence in Electricity Renewal (PEER) in India with an aim to issue certification for the power sector, as it has done with LEED for buildings.

“A building is as green as the power that goes into that building. So we are focusing on clean power particularly when India is now coming up with 14 more Smart Grids under the National Smart Grid Mission,” Mr. Ramanujam said.

In this context, GBCI would focus on efficient electricity distribution, smart grid development and work towards sustainable power reliability, according to him. Currently, it is working with Tata Power Delhi Distribution Ltd. and the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation to enable certification for their projects.

Lalatendu Mishra / The Hindu