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Green rating problems

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Author(s): Ravleen Kaur
Nov 30, 2007 | From the print edition

How efficient? No proper evalu (Credit: JOHN)griha, a rating system for green buildings developed by The Energy and Resources Institute ( teri ), has been formalized as the first national rating system. teri signed a memorandum of understanding with the Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy to this effect on November 1.

Mili Majumdar, area convenor, griha, says the rating system has been designed to suit Indian conditions and in particular for non air-conditioned buildings, unlike international rating systems like us -based Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (leed), which is designed for energy efficiency measures in air-conditioned buildings only.But V Raghuraman, principal adviser and chief co-ordinator, energy environment and natural resources, Confederation of Indian Industry, says, " leed is far ahead of griha. A rating system is not just about energy consumption of a building but many other things like recycling and natural habitat. There are 30 buildings certified with leed under India."

griha has 32 criteria for rating buildings, with a total of 100 points. A building needs to score at least 50 to apply for certification. Preserving landscape during construction; soil conservation after construction; reducing air pollution are some of the qualifying criteria. Buildings will also need to quantify energy consumption in absolute terms and not percentages alone.

But a leed -accredited professional from Delhi says the "social" aspect, which is "most important", is missing in griha-- and leed as well. "The basic issues are same in most rating systems. The Japanese system takes into account rehabilitation of displaced people; accessibility for the old or people with special needs. Rating should look at the reuse of old buildings by developing them rather than making new ones, especially for rehabilitation," he said. Arvind Krishnan, Department of Architecture, School of Planning and Architecture, Delhi, agrees, "The challenge is to generate typology of buildings and urban form in its three dimensional configuration--environmentally, socially and economically sustainable. But none of the rating systems can help generate such typologies."

griha does list minimum disruption of natural ecosystem as a rating criterion. But then the system has agreed to rate the Commonwealth Games Village coming up on the bed of the Yamuna river in Delhi. Experts at teri pass the buck. "Selection of the site is under the control of the urban planning department. Our job is to minimize losses on the site," Majumdar says.

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