India: green rating scheme created for small buildings

Most low-carbon measures for buildings are usually intended for large structures since they are pump spew large amounts of carbon into the atmosphere. But what about small buildings? While smaller structures’ carbon footprint is not as much as that of the skyscrapers, they could altogether account for a big quantity of emissions.

India has recognized this fact, spearheading a new green rating scheme that will encourage small buildings to manage and reduce their environmental impacts, The Times of India reported.

India’s Small Versatile Affordable rating system, a first of its kind, was created especially for buildings smaller than 2,500 square meters. It can be applied in the design and evaluation of private residences, small offices and commercial buildings.

“[It] is a significantly simplified, faster, easier and more affordable rating system and will eventually function as a design-cum-rating tool,” according to nonprofit group The Energy and Resources Institute.

Unlike in India’s Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment, where a “green” building is assessed based on 34 criteria, the Small Versatile Affordable system, which is an extension of Griha, will determine the greenness of a building using 14 parameters and a “simplified calculator.”

These parameters include reduced “urban heat island effect” or the rising temperature brought by increasing population; sustainable architectural design and systems; favorable arrangement of windows that maximizes power from the sunlight; energy efficient artificial lighting system; thermal efficiency of building envelope; and use of renewable energy on site, among others.

Each category is given a certain number of points, which will ensure that all indicating factors are given equal attention to cut the overall carbon footprint of the building.

Meanwhile, the “simplified calculator” works by filling in construction information like quantities of materials used. From there, the tool will identify the number of points that the consultant is able to get in a specific criterion and offer recommendations for further improvements of the building’s environmental performance.

A small building that will obtain a perfect score of 50 encompassing all criteria will be rated “five-star.”

“While Griha with its complex system of analysis was created for large establishments, there was a need to simplify the process for smaller buildings and also bring builders of tier 2 and 3 towns under the green rating umbrella. The cost of registration and evaluation for the projects will be between 60,000 ($1,000) and 100,000 ($1,800) Indian rupees,” The Energy and Resources Institute told The Times of India.

India, determined to be one of the global leaders in green buildings by 2015, has three green rating systems in addition to the Griha – the Indian Green Building Council and the Bureau of Energy Efficiency Star Rating Programme. Both Griha and the B.E.E. Star Rating Programme are home-grown, while the I.G.B.C. adopts global standards by the United States’ Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.


Source: EcoSeed

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