Is India’s building footprint green enough? Rating agencies are effusive in their scores and have ranked India third behind Canada, with China at the top, as revealed by the Green Building Council’s LEED certification. But the nation has a lot to do in matters of environmental issues. The US is not included in the list.
One of the major reasons for the dominant position of India’s building footprint is its aggressive plans to expand access to electricity, its rapid urbanization, and its explosive economic growth forecasts.
There has also been an increased focus on environmental awareness in India. The country has made some headway in alleviating the high levels of water and air pollution in urban and semi-urban areas.
The nation also has a certification program of its own to determine India’s building footprint. It is under the guidance of the Confederation of Indian Industries and is known as the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC).
Industry insiders claim that if all the various certifications are added up, India’s building footprint would have a green certification of 12 to 13 billion sq. ft.
India’s Building Footprint Reports Lack Authenticity And Monitoring
Impressive figures, but they do not constitute even 5% of the nation’s total construction. There are yawning gaps in the whole process that need to be urgently looked into.
India’s building footprint that is rated by agencies is a vital tool for builders, corporations, governments to showcase achievements at a sustainable level. The ratings are convenient for the sellers to highlight their guarantee of sustainability.
The high performance and energy excellence that these interests highlight are based on a one-time certification. India’s building footprint is neither measured continually for sustainability in the use of water or energy. The certificate highlights a reduction of 20-30% of energy consumption and 30-50% of water-saving.
But with no monitoring and targets, certifications are unreliable, unless it is accompanied by annual audits certified by independent agencies. Even the top developers care little for annual appraisals or audits to determine building performance. So certificates to determine India’s building footprint are generally not worth the paper they are printed on.
It is far worse for second-tier builders where certification is given by local agencies. While there is some push on the conservation of energy, other facets of the environment, including waste, water, and energy management, are ignored. A building’s embodied carbon is ignored. India’s building footprint concerning the emissions released in manufacturing of the materials used, such as cement and steel, is ignored.
India’s building footprint thus remains certified only on paper and the reality remains hidden in reams of reports that are little more than hogwash.