Published On: Sat, Mar 16th, 2013

GRIHA: A system for Green Ghar

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By Solar Times Bureau.

Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment (GRIHA), has been developed which is suitable for all kinds of building in different climatic zones of the country. The system was initially conceived and developed by TERI (The Energy & Resource Institute) as TERI-GRIHA, which has been modified to GRIHA as National Rating System after incorporating various modifications suggested by a group of architects and experts. It was adopted as the national rating system for green buildings by the Government of India in 2007. The purpose of this system is to spread green revolution by reducing the consumption of resources in buildings. From the construction of buildings to its demolition, the consumption of resources in the form of energy, water, materials, etc. is very high. To prevent the wastage of resources it was very necessary to take effective measures to control the consumption. GRIHA was established as a solution to this issue, it will minimize the consumption of building’s resources, wastage generated to the limit of government limits. It controls the consumption and wastage and at the same time encourages consuming renewable energy resources, in order to maintain the balance between consumption and reduction.

GRIHA is a green building ‘design evaluation system’- a tool to design, operate, evaluate and maintain resource efficient ‘healthy’ and ‘intelligent’. It encourages the concept of green buildings in people’s mind, to opt eco-friendly environment. It rates buildings on the basis of the greenness; taking in consideration the quantitative and qualitative criteria assesses the performance of their building against certain nationally acceptable benchmarks. It considers a buildings performance towards environment and its preservation of resources, during its entire life cycle and all the other effective measures that applies the standard of ‘Green Building’.  Along with this rating is also based on the energy and environmental principles of both nation and international. The rating is applied to all types of buildings newly constructed residential or commercial complexes, offices, retail spaces, institutional buildings, hotels, hospital buildings, healthcare facilities and multi-family high-rise buildings. There are two committees constituted in the ministry one National Advisory Council (NAC) and another Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), which provides advice, directions, modification and constant up gradation of GRIHA frameworks. The rating system of GRIHA assess on the environmental performance of buildings on a scale of 0-104 points with a minimum of 50 points required for a building to be rated under GRIHA. On the basis of number of points scored, a building can be rated between 1 & 5 stars, 1 star being the lowest and 5 star being the highest level of environmental performance.

The need for establishment of GRIHA was because of the, rapid increase in Indian population and growth of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has given rise to an enormous demand for buildings with a subsequent pressure on availability of resources. Another key challenge for the built-environment of Indian cities is the diminishing availability of water for urban areas. In order to be sustainable, the environmental pressures of increased demand for resources coupled with a rapidly changing climate are being addressed by policy makers at various levels. Several policy and regulatory mechanisms to address the urban challenges, implemented through national plans and programmes have been devised. The Ministries and agencies at the Centre have designed frameworks such as the Environmental Clearance to ensure efficiency in resource use for large projects (i.e. more than 20,000 sq m built up area), the Energy Conservation Building Code (ECBC) applicable to air conditioned commercial buildings with connected load more than 100 kW and the Solar Buildings Programme for Energy Efficient Buildings, for implementation by the designated State agencies and municipal bodies.

Features of GRIHA:

The purpose of the system is to identify, rate and help to develop ‘Green Buildings’, which are designed and evaluated to maintain resources. The stages of the system to identify the evaluation are:

  • Pre construction Stage: This is the initial state of construction, which comprises intra and inter-site issues like selection of type of soil, kind of land and land features, location, availability of public transport and its other geographical features.       
  • Building planning and construction stages: The second stage considers the resources management and greenery; the resources selected are land, water, energy, air and greenery.
  • Building operation and maintenance stage: The third and the last stage focuses on the maintenance and operation of the building systems and monitoring its consumption of resources and energy, health and environment

Benefits of GRIHA:

On a broader scale, this system, along with the activities and processes that lead up to it, will benefit the community at large with the improvement in the environment by reducing GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions, reducing energy consumption and the stress on natural resources.

Some of the benefits of a green design to a building owner, user, and the society as a whole are as follows:

  • Reduced energy consumption without sacrificing the comfort levels
  • Reduced destruction of natural areas, habitats, and biodiversity, and reduced soil loss from erosion etc.
  • Reduced air and water pollution (with direct health benefits)
  • Reduced water consumption
  • Limited waste generation due to recycling and reuse
  • Reduced pollution loads
  • Increased user productivity
  • Enhanced image and marketability
  •  Re-Sale value of such properties is higher
  • Tax benefit is available on general tax and property tax on such properties.
  • Establishment of GRIHA increases employment in the architecture field and it encourages innovative concepts in this field.

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