Go­ing green is a mat­ter of sur­vival

Giv­ing the green sig­nal to con­struc­tion projects is a cum­ber­some process, but it can be made faster through GRIHA, which of­fers pre-cer­ti­fi­ca­tion that is recog­nised by the en­vi­ron­ment min­istry

HT Estates - - HTESTATES - Mili Ma­jum­dar

Trans­parency, ac­count­abil­ity and cor­rup­tion- free trans­ac­tions dom­i­nate po­lit­i­cal and so­cial agenda in present times. The newly in­tro­duced real es­tate bill also at­tempts to pro­tect con­sumer rights, and strengthen the de­bate around the need to dis­close cor­rect in­for­ma­tion on de­liv­ery time, ar­eas sold and so on. The real es­tate sec­tor has been the cen­tre point of sev­eral de­bates and con­tro­ver­sies.

There is a con­stant tus­sle be­tween bal­anc­ing the en­vi­ron­ment and de­vel­op­ment agenda, while meet­ing con­sumer needs and as­pi­ra­tions. En­vi­ron­ment clear­ance of con­struc­tion projects is a sore point that ev­ery de­vel­oper and builder laments about. A builder/de­vel­oper is ex­pected to en­sure that ev­ery res­i­dent has sus­tain­able source of drink­ing wa­ter, has ac­cess to elec­tric­ity and safe and healthy liv­ing. Of­ten these needs may be com­pro­mised by sheer choice of lo­ca­tion that may have lit­tle or no sup­ply of wa­ter, may have re­mote ac­cess to ba­sic in­fra­struc­ture pro­vi­sion or may have er­ratic and un­re­li­able power sup­ply.

Green/en­vi­ron­men­tal con­sid­er­a­tion is a mat­ter of sur­vival and there should be no choice but to ad­here to the mea­sures that prom­ise sus­tain­able and healthy liv­ing in our homes. The process, how­ever may be made faster, trans­par­ent and more ob­jec­tively as­sess­able. GRIHA (Green Rat­ing for In­te­grated Habi­tat As­sess­ment) of­fers pre­cer­ti­fi­ca­tion that is recog­nised by the min­istry of en­vi­ron­ment and forests at the cen­tre and state level for faster clear­ance of projects. This is what GRIHA does :

GRIHA ( www. gri­hain­dia. org) is an indige­nous rat­ing sys­tem for de­sign, eval­u­a­tion and rat­ing of green build­ings in In­dia. It has been en­dorsed by the gov­ern­ment of In­dia and is in­creas­ingly be­ing adopted as an in­stru­ment for in­cen­tivis­ing greener and cleaner habi­tats. Its 100-point rat­ing sys­tem spread over 34 cri­te­ria ad­dresses en­vi­ron­men­tal, en­ergy, so­cial and health is­sues that are essen­tial for a good build­ing/habi­tat. It is im­por­tant to un­der­stand that green is good and not a bur­den. Pro­vi­sion for sus­tain­able and clean wa­ter for daily needs is good for us and re­quires plan­ning to en­sure that.

In ad­di­tion to en­sur­ing re­li­able source, avoid­ing wastage and en­sur­ing its pru­dent use by putting in low flow fix­tures and fit­tings, or us­ing lesser wa­ter to main­tain green­ery around our build­ings helps us in the long run. Rain­wa­ter har­vest­ing and waste wa­ter treat­ment sys­tems need ut­most at­ten­tion and care­ful de­tail­ing. Plan­ning and in­stal­la­tion should be fol­lowed through by ef­fi­cient and life­long main­te­nance. It is in fact detri­men­tal if these sys­tems are not main­tained. It is of­ten ob­served that rain­wa­ter har­vest­ing pits breed mos­qui­toes and in­sects if not cleaned and main­tained. It is much bet­ter not to put in a sys­tem than not main­tain­ing it af­ter in­stal­la­tion.

Sewage treat­ment plants and ef­flu­ent treat­ment plants need main­te­nance and it is i mpor­tant t o work out an ap­pro­pri­ate sys­tem for fi­nanc­ing its main­te­nance and up­keep through its life. Ev­ery sys­tem that op­er­ates on me­chan­i­cal and elec­tri­cal parts need main­te­nance. Sys­tems the are heart and soul of build­ings. We have to main­tain sys­tems for air-con­di­tion­ing, wa­ter treat­ment, waste wa­ter treat­ment, rain­wa­ter har­vest­ing to en­sure their proper func­tion­ing over the years. Re­al­is­ing the need to en­sure trans­parency and per­for­mance, GRIHA em­beds a per­for­mance­based rat­ing that not only meets the rat­ing re­quire­ments, but en­sures seam­less in­te­gra­tion with en­vi­ron­men­tal reg­u­la­tions.

For ex­am­ple, meet­ing GRIHA re­quire­ments would nat­u­rally ful­fill re­quire­ments of en­vi­ron­men­tal clear­ance (EC) and other codes and stan­dards such as the En­ergy Con­ser­va­tion Build­ing Code of In­dia or the Na­tional Build­ing code of In­dia. GRIHA pre­cer­ti­fi­ca­tion thus, looks into re­quire­ment of EC and pre-cer­ti­fies a project based on re­quire­ments of EC and GRIHA rat­ing.

How­ever, one needs to un­der­stand the dif­fer­ence be­tween rat­ing and EC. There is fun­da­men­tally a dif­fer­ence be­tween green rat­ing and en­vi­ron­men­tal clear­ance. While the for­mer is a vol­un­tary sys­tem, the lat­ter is a manda­tory re­quire­ment. Typ­i­cally, rat­ing sys­tems have pro­vi­sions of vol­un­tary and graded per­for­mance re­quire­ment.

To cite an ex­am­ple, green rat­ing may ex­empt a project from not putting in a waste wa­ter treat­ment sys­tem and thus sac­ri­fic­ing the points as­signed to it in the frame­work of the rat­ing sys­tem. How­ever, pro­vi­sion of waste wa­ter treat­ment is a manda­tory re­quire­ment as per en­vi­ron­men­tal clear­ance (for projects that need EC). GRIHA pre-cer­ti­fi­ca­tion that is linked to EC, en­sures checks and bal­ances with re­spect to re­quire­ments of EC. All cri­te­ria that are manda­to­rily re­quired to be ful­filled as per EC are re­viewed and con­sid­ered while pre-cer­ti­fy­ing a project as per GRIHA.

Thus, GRIHA pre-cer­ti­fi­ca­tion helps the de­vel­oper to face the EC com­mit­tee in a more pre­pared way. Fur­ther to the process, site com­pli­ance is cru­cial to fu­ture per­for­mance of any sys­tem. Of­ten sev­eral cru­cial is­sues are over­looked dur­ing the con­struc­tion process.

Take the ex­am­ple of overdeck roof in­su­la­tion. Roof in­su­la­tion is done as a mea­sure to re­duce heat gains through the roof. The key to ef­fec­tive in­su­la­tion is its proper lay­ing and in­stal­la­tion and wa­ter proof­ing. In­su­la­tion may eas­ily lose its prop­erty i f wa­ter seeps t hrough i t . Punc­tur­ing an in­su­lated roof shall de­stroy all its in­su­lat­ing prop­erty. Thus, proper com­mis­sion­ing and main­te­nance is cru­cial if you re­ally in­tend to ben­e­fit from any green mea­sure.

Of­ten we blame so­lar wa­ter heat­ing sys­tems for not func­tion­ing prop­erly. Pan­els need to be cleaned reg­u­larly and pip­ing sys­tems need proper in­su­la­tion and main­te­nance if we want it to func­tion prop­erly.

GRIHA rat­ing sys­tem is a per­for­mance-based green build­ing rat­ing sys­tem that at­tempts to pro­vide a com­pre­hen­sive ap­proach to­wards achiev­ing best per­for­mance from green mea­sures. It ad­dresses our coun­tryspe­cific en­vi­ron­men­tal is­sues in a prag­matic and doable man­ner. Due dili­gence and trans­parency in process is the back­bone of the sys­tem.

The rat­ing i s backed by fa­cil­i­ta­tion sup­port of­fered by trained pro­fes­sion­als who have ex­ten­sive ex­pe­ri­ence in de­sign and op­er­at­ing green build­ings. Green rat­ing should not be per­ceived as an ad­di­tional layer of ser­vices be­ing ren­dered for a build­ing. Rather it is a com­ple­ment­ing process that fa­cil­i­tates an in­te­grated de­sign that re­sults in a good and func­tional build­ing that de­liv­ers its func­tion, en­sures en­vi­ron­men­tal sus­tain­abil­ity, is en­ergy and wa­ter ef­fi­cient and saves cost over its life cy­cle.

En­vi­ron­ment clear­ance and com­pli­ance also gives sim­i­lar re­sults and should be per­ceived and fol­lowed in true spirit of the in­tent, rather than be­ing per­ceived as a hur­dle in the de­vel­op­ment process.

THINKSTOCK

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