Promoting green buildings and sustainability in the built sector that is local to the Indian context
For last several years, there has been a commotion across the globe regarding climate change and growing carbon footprints. However, there are very few people or organizations that have done something to eliminate or assuage the root cause of the issue. Today, we are going to talk about an organization– GRIHA Council – which is doing exemplary work to evaluate reductions in emission intensity from the habitat sector.Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment (GRIHA) Council is an autonomous, not for profit society set up in 2007, jointly by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) and Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), Government of India, to promote and administer the development of sustainable buildings and habitats in India through GRIHA.
GRIHA Council is primarily a rating body for buildings, encompassing the different stages of a built project, right from conception to its operation & maintenance. Any typology of project with habitable spaces can be rated under GRIHA’s diverse portfolio of relevant rating variants. The GRIHA rating and its variants are in alignment with different national regulatory framework and policies, which are constantly updated to maintain stride with the changing market scenarios to incorporate newer and sustainable trends. GRIHA Council has Certification programmes as well to assess projects based on their water, energyor carbon footprint individually.GRIHA also works extensively on capacity building and outreach activities to sensitize and spread awareness on sustainable buildings in the country.
GRIHA was developed with the intent to promote green buildings and sustainability in the built sector that is local to the Indian context and this has always been the core of all operations that GRIHA undertakes. Green buildings minimize their overall impact on the environment by incorporating judicious consumption of energy, water and other resources. Apart from optimizing resource consumption, a well-designed building also enhances occupant health and reduces waste, pollution, carbon dioxide emissions, operational costs, which in turn reduces the stress on environmental degradation.
In stride with the industry trends
GRIHA attempts to quantify aspects such as energy and water consumption, waste generation, renewable energy adoption, etc. so as to manage, control and reduce the same to the best possible extent. One key goal of the organization along with implementation of sustainable buildings is also to remain relevant. It is crucial to maintain the stride of the changing trends of the market and ensure implementation of sustainability in habitats by incorporating these shifts.
During its inception, sustainable buildings were just picking up attention in the mainstream construction industry over a decade ago. It was difficult to reach out and generate interest due to lack of awareness, incremental project costs, lack of incentives, etc. The traction increased when incentives and tax rebates were introduced by the governments. But today, they receive so many queries, interest and registrations even if there are no tangible or immediately calculable benefits of building green, because people are aware of the long-term benefits now.
Also, one key USP of GRIHA Council that attracts people is that it is a homegrown rating. GRIHA is very contextual and directly addresses the issues that are relevant to the Indian scenario. It has been recognized as an indigenous rating system developed in India and announced as a part of the mitigation strategy for combating climate change in the document submitted at COP 21 as a part of India’s Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) submitted to UNFCCC by the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change (MoEFCC).
Recently at COP26, our Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi, committed to India achieving carbon neutrality by 2070. The built environment accounts for a major share of the carbon emissions, and as such its contributions cannot be neglected. Keeping in line with the vision, GRIHA Council had launched a Decarbonizing Habitats Programmeto enable an organization, company or industry to estimate its current carbon footprint and adopt cost effective strategies that will help in reducing the footprint in the future.
Seasoned expertise of Ms. Shabnam Bassi
Keeping in mind its future plans, GRIHA is being aptly run under the seasoned expertise ofMs. Shabnam Bassi, the Deputy CEO of GRIHA Council. Ms. Bassi isa program and project management professional with a bachelor’s degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering.Prior to joining GRIHA Council, she has worked with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for nearly 5 years, where she was the key personin developing rules and regulation for ECBC implementation to promote energy efficiencyin the buildings sector in the country by coordinating with the Central, State and Municipal bodies to develop framework to strengthen and facilitate ECBC integration.
She has also worked with the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) for 5 years, where she was associated with the schemes related to promotion and implementation of energy efficiency in commercial buildings through adoption of the ECBC. Ms. Bassi is an experienced leader with a demonstrated history of working in the international affairs industry with expertise in differentareas of sustainable development and capacity building. She had joined GRIHA Council in 2017 and since then has worked in various capacities and extended her guiding support to lead the teamat GRIHA and meet the vision that the organization aspires for.
Apart from serving as the deputy CEO, Ms. Bassi is also acting as the secretary and treasurer for GRIHA Council. All the overarching decisions under these brackets have to be signed off from the CEOs desk. Her role encompasses a multifaceted array of responsibilities from dealing with clients for crucial decisions, to managing the entire division with regards to administrative leadership, lending knowhow on technical developments, building the organization’s vision and pathway to the goal, to handling and maintaining professional ties with various stakeholders.
GRIHA Council and its valuable associations
GRIHA Council has a long list of clientele of repute ranging from various departments of the central and state governments, multilateral and bilateral agencies, developers, consultants, colleges, universities, and studentswith whom they have developed a long-standing and continued association over the years of working together.
From the government sector, to name a very few, all upcoming and new projects of AIIMS, IIM,IIT, IIIT, JIPMER, IOCL, IISc, AAI, LIC, Atal Akshay Urja Bhavan, UIDAI office, Indira Paryavaran Bhawan (MoEFCC head office), HAL, various state and district hospitals, transit terminals, defence ministry projects, etc. are registered, and some already rated, under GRIHA. The highly talked about landmark Central Vista project, is also registered to be rated under GRIHA. There have been MoUs signed with various government departments and some among the recent ones are with Public Works Department (PWD) Maharashtra, Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB), Bhopal Smart City Development Corporation Limited (BSCDCL),etc.
GRIHA has bilateral and multilateral partnerships with GIZ, Norwegian and Danish Embassies, UNSW Sydney, etc.Among the private stakeholders, companies like ITC, DLF, Mahindra, Godrej, Titan, Muthoot, M3M, Vatika, APIL, Sattva, Ansals, etc. are some of the prominent names with multiple projects that are associated with GRIHA. The footprints of GRIHA buildings in the country currently stand at 52502869 sqm. with over 2280 registered projects.
Apart from this, they are associated with SUNREF, IIA, various institutes and universities like SRM Chennai, RAC Coimbatore,SREC Coimbatore, SJB Bangalore, VESCO Chembur, Chandigarh University, DIT Dehradun, etc.They have over 860 Certified Professionals and 43 Evaluators. An MoU was recently signed with Sheffield Hallam University, UK to enable collaboration on projects which improve quality of life in domestic spaces.
It is about time green buildings are looked at as conventional and that should become the norm for any development. To ensure that building green is a mainstream practice in the country, awareness and initiatives have to be in unison. To bring various stakeholders on a common platform, GRIHA Council is hosting its flagship event, The 14thGRIHA SUMMIT, on 15-16 December 2022, around the theme Towards Net Positive Habitats, which is centered around taking action to achieve the COP 26 commitments of India. There will be deliberations on various topics around the theme by eminent speakers during the 2-day event.
GRIHA Council invites you to attend the summit and interact with the industry experts at the India Habitat Centre, Lodhi Road, New Delhi.