It is important to look into the spirit of green buildings and thereupon develop the criteria specific to the area. A look at the working of the IGBC.
Green was initially associated with ecologists with their struggle to save forests, besides connoting any nature friendly activity. It was when the U.S. Green Building Council was born that the word was possibly borrowed for the first time by the construction industry and soon got accepted all over. India included, many countries started their own Green Building Councils and today the Indian unit, called in short IGBC, is among the world leaders in promoting green buildings.
The total area coming under the purview of IGBC has been increasing rapidly, thanks to the efforts of its office-bearers and industry acceptance. From the building sector, now it has expanded to cover landscape, cities, industries and homes.
How it works
The green building movement emerged as an action-focussed agenda to mitigate depleting resources, energy consumption, life cycle costs, production of waste and such others. Accordingly, IGBC has enlisted ideas that consume less, save money, do less harm to nature and create a better future. Initially it was more applicable to the high-end energy-guzzling public buildings, but of late it is covering even individual houses. Based on the points gained by a building under varied headings, a certificate called LEED is issued to recognise the contribution of the building. IGBC also conducts examinations, short courses, conferences and publishes guidebooks disseminating data.
The idea behind the rating
The major achievement of IGBC has been in reducing energy consumption in large urban structures. It also has a wealth of information about thousands of green buildings from around the world for consultants to learn from. The periodic training programmes and workshops have spread the best practices far and wide. A large pool of accredited professionals is now available for specific consultation to ensure the buildings adhere to IGBC green building norms. Many people believe that individually architects and engineers are not good writers, but collectively in an institutionalised set-up, their knowledge gets spread out.
Lack of focus
Incidentally what matters more is not the word, but the associated action. For long we heard the term ‘eco-friendly architecture’, which continues to be valid even today. However, it did not focus on tangible data based on measurements and quantifications.
Without the factual data, it is difficult to state the realities or monitor them. IGBC believes in such a methodical approach. The council website has all relevant information, so anyone can benefit from this storehouse of information and experience.
In a vast nation like India with a wide range of site contexts, benchmarking any approach as the standard is impossible, including those of IGBC. As such, it is important to look into the spirit of green buildings and thereupon develop the criteria specific to the area, be it Kashmir or Kanyakumari.