There is a growing need to introduce green building concepts in existing building stock to help preserve our precious natural resources of energy, fresh water and fresh air. There is enormous scope for the greening of existing buildings. While new buildings have improved considerably in their environmental performance in recent years, existing recently-built buildings of the same size and function have been consuming large amounts of energy, water, and other resources. Existing buildings encompass a large footprint of built environment, hence it is important to initiate retrofits to minimize their energy and water consumption, channelize resources to balance the consumption and reduce their cost of operation. Green practices in existing buildings can help address national priorities including water efficiency, energy efficiency, reduction in fossil fuel use in commuting, handling of waste and conserving other natural resources. Most importantly, these concepts can enhance occupant health, happiness and well-being. In addition, they also bring large benefits to the owner with minimal payback period.
What is a green building?
Against this background, the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) has launched ‘IGBC Green Existing Building Operations and Maintenance Rating System’. This is the first rating system of its kind in India to address sustainability in Existing Buildings (EB), viz. corporate offices, administration blocks, educational institutions, airports, hotels, hospitals, retail and others.
The benefits of IGBC Green Rating for Existing Buildings include:
Best Practices to follow to be rated as a Green Building
Today, various types of existing buildings are transforming into green buildings. Highlights of some of the green practices incorporated in IGBC rated Existing Buildings across the country are presented below to help you understand the requirements to be rated as a green building and fall within the lines of the sustainable real estate.
On-Site Renewable Energy
A Government heritage project has set an example for renewable energy installation on its roof-top. Commissioner of Industries Office, Hyderabad, has installed rooftop solar panels with a capacity of 5 kW, catering to 11% of its total energy consumption.
One of the significant benefits of going Green is energy saving. For instance, by retrofitting various energy systems, buildings across the country have made a substantial improvement in its Energy Performance Index (EPI).
Reduced Heat Island Effect on Roof
Bombay House has more than 95% of the roof area covered with High SRI paint mortar and China mosaic tiles.
Ascendas V IT Park, Hyderabad, installed a fogging system to reduce the cooling requirement for their project having air-cooled chillers. Cooling energy savings to the tune of 10% were achieved.
Thermal Imaging for Energy Efficiency
Thermal imaging survey of building fabric identifies air leaks in or out of the building, and also shows thermal insulation defects. Thermal imaging of electrical system and building fabric has been carried out at Ascendas V IT Park, Hyderabad.
Water Efficient Fixtures
CRISIL House in Mumbai has achieved 89% savings in fresh water consumption through the use of water efficient flow fixtures and reuse of treated wastewater.
Rain Water Harvesting
IES College of Technology, Bhopal has successfully put in place a rainwater harvesting (RWH) system by installing recharge wells with the capacity to capture 86% of run-off volumes from the roof and no roof areas. The RWH system effectively captures 280 cubic meters of rainwater.
Phytoremediation: Biological Treatment System for Waste Water
Commissioner of Industries Office, Hyderabad has installed Phytoremediation system with a capacity of 3 kld. Plant species grown in the system include Canna Indica, Heliconia, and Alacaria. Phytoremediation involves the use of green plants for in-situ risk reduction and removal of contaminants from soil, water, sediments and air. It also adds aesthetics to the site.
Enhanced Indoor Air Quality
CII-Godrej GBC Building has installed UV germicidal lamps for air handling unit cooling coils. A germicidal lamp produces short-wave ultraviolet light (UVC), which disrupts bacterial activity in the air and disinfects it. Studies have shown that bacterial count in the indoor environment of this building is negligible.
Waste Management, Organic Farming
Candor International School in Bangalore has taken various steps for waste segregation at the classroom level and is a classic example of eco-friendly architecture. The school maintains an organic farm, whose fertilizer requirements are met by utilizing the organic waste generated in the campus.
IGBC projects, as part of their Beyond the Fence initiative, have adopted parks and conservation sites nearby for maintenance and preservation. On these lines, Bombay House has adopted parks like Horniman Circle and Jamsetji Statue Park.
IGBC Green Existing Building Rating System encourages both historical and recently built commercial buildings to become sustainable buildings, and in the process plays a catalytic role in addressing National priorities. The need of the hour is to aggressively promote existing buildings go green and facilitate a greener and healthier India. IGBC works with all the stakeholders to help India emerge as the global leader in Green Buildings.