India : Urgency to monitor green building performance

Overview of Buildings, Pune Skyline, Pune, Maharashtra, India --- Image by © Radius Images/Corbis

The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has been urged by city urban planners, architects and other city sustainability experts to provide not only incentives for green buildings, but also to monitor the performance of green building structures as well.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between PMC and the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) earlier this month and a green rating system is to be finalized for upcoming constructions.

According to the Building Department Officials, the new rating system has been designed to rate all types of buildings – including residential, commercial, industrial, educational and hospital buildings. Developers who want to go for the green buildings system will now need to register online on PMC’s website.

The documents and plans for the projects are to be analyzed by the IGBC, which then will provide the provisional certificates. The process of registration will first be carried out through site visits by experts from the council and PMC engineers at various stages of the project. Afterwards, an expert certified by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency will carry out an audit, in which the final certificate of green rating will be issued to the developer.

Other incentives and concessions in premium charges will be offered by the civic body. However, the civic bodies and state agencies can’t just provide incentives to green building developers, to which authorities are urged to monitor the performance of these green building constructions.

According to Anumita Roy Chowdhur, the executive director of the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), several buildings in India have underperformed after being rated green and reviewed by the CSE.

CSE have expressed concerns on the concessions, such as extra and fee built up area and fiscal incentives, given to developers by state governments and local bodies to opt for a green rating for buildings. Whereas in Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad, fiscal incentives were offered instead of extra built up area since it was a better practice as financial incentives can be withdrawn if the developers underperformed.

Moreover, a discount on premium paid by the builders to the civic bodies and rebate on property tax is offered by Pune and Pimpro Chincwad Municipal corporations. The quantum of incentives is variable according to the number of stars under the Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment (GRIHA). The incentive will be given even when the building has one or two star ratings. However, there’s no provision for penalty for underperformance buildings.

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