For a green house

By Nidhi Jamwal
Published: Wednesday 15 October 2008

after Pune, which is reaping the benefits of an eco-housing scheme launched last year, Mumbai now can do the same. The decks stand cleared for the launch of an eco-housing scheme in Mumbai, which offers financial incentives to both builders and consumers.

Prepared by Pune-based Science and Technology Park and recently adopted by the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (mcgm), the scheme will certify green residential complexes, both new constructions and retrofitted buildings.

"This scheme has been tailor-made keeping in mind Mumbai's local conditions. It is for the first time that a separate criteria for rating of residential buildings in India have been listed. Till now the thrust was more on commercial buildings," says Rajendra Jagdale, director general of Science and Technology Park.

mcgm has now requested the state urban development department to suitably amend the Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning Act, 1966, after which this eco-housing scheme can become operational. Rajesh Tope, minister of state for urban development told Down To Earth that the act would be amended soon.

The scheme has 83 parameters such as nature of building's materials, site location, water usage, waste treatment, energy efficiency and others. After studying all the parameters, points are accorded to a housing project. A project getting 500-600 points is given a one-star rating; and a project getting 901-1,000 points is given a five-star rating. mcgm has set up an Eco-Housing Resource Conservation Cell to scrutinize and certify proposals. This certification is valid for five years.

Fiscal incentives have been proposed to bust the myth that green buildings are expensive. "For developers, we are offering a rebate on the one-time development charge they pay to the corporation. A one-star project will attract 10 per cent development charge rebate, going up to a maximum of 50 per cent discount for a five-star project. Consumers will also get concessions on property tax ranging from 10-50 per cent. These concessions will be provided in form of refund only after a project is completed and certified by us," Ashok Shintre, chief engineer (development plan), mcgm, told Down To Earth.

Builders have welcomed the move. "Such indigenous schemes coupled with fiscal incentives are the need of the hour. The construction industry is heavily polluting. Construction of 20,000 square feet area leads to over 3.5 tonnes of waste generation. Green buildings should ensure that such construction waste is reused," says Mohan Deshmukh, president of Maharashtra Chamber of Housing Industry, Mumbai.

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