How green is your building?

  • 30/08/2007

Hyderabad hitec (Hyderabad Information Technology Engineering Consultancy) city exudes all the glitz of post-liberalised India. Plush office complexes, exuberant it parks, swanky exhibition centres showcase a township riding the crest of the country economic boom. Amidst this opulence, a structure stands out: cii- Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Centre (gbc).

The building green credentials have been recognised internationally, most notably by the us Green Business Council (usgbc). The Washington-based council awarded it the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (leed) platinum rating in 2003, spurring an architectural trend in the country. There are around 100 buildings in various stages of completion in India that seek conformity with leed standards, according to gbc senior counsellor S Srinivas.

He claims gbc is a zero discharge building, a fourth of its power demands is met from solar energy, the building consumes 40 per cent less water and uses 50 per cent less electricity than a conventional structure. Spread over 2 ha, gbc has been built using flyash bricks, has rainwater harvesting channels and reed bed-based sewage treatment utility; an electric car charging station, a roof covered with gardens to insulate from heat and 25 kiloWatt (kW) capacity solar panels.

But there is a flip side to these achievements. gbc with a built up area of 20,000 sq was constructed at a cost of Rs 10 crore in 2003, which Srinivas says is around 18 times the cost of a conventional building of similar dimensions. We had to import high performance double glazed glass, floor carpets, toilet cleaner (which it still imports) and gadgets like building management system (bms) to meet usgbcstandards for platinum rating, he explains.

That is the crux of the problem say Indian architects.

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