Friday, 5 February 2016


A Green building focuses on increasing the efficiency of resource use – energy, water, and materials – while reducing building impact on human health and the environment during the building’s lifecycle, through better sitting, design, construction, operation, maintenance, and removal. Green Buildings should be designed and operated to reduce the overall impact of the built environment on its surroundings.
Why Green Buildings Are Good
Green, the iconic color of plants, is the symbol for sustainability in buildings. Green is good for the facility’s triple bottom line (people, planet, and profit). Green buildings are:
  1. Good for occupants (healthier and more comfortable working space)
  2. Good for our environment (reduced resource depletion and higher sustainability, which helps preserve the earth for future generations).
  3. Good for business (higher employee productivity, lower energy and life cycle costs, higher client attraction/retention, higher resale value, and enhanced public relations).
.Many people mentally equate green buildings with energy savings. Reducing energy use is indeed one critically important aspect of sustainability. However, being “green” is actually more comprehensive than “just” saving energy. Green buildings (compared to traditional buildings) have reduced environmental footprints while still enhancing the indoor environmental quality (IEQ) for the occupants. Green means getting more with less—more quality of life for building occupants while using less planetary resources.
Top 5 reasons why to opt for a GREEN BUILDING
  1.  Green buildings are designed to save energy and resources, recycle materials and minimize the emission of toxic substances throughout its life cycle.
  2. Green buildings harmonize with the local climate, traditions, culture and the surrounding environment.
  3. Green buildings are able to sustain and improve the quality of human life whilst maintaining the capacity of the ecosystem at local and global levels.
  4. Green buildings make efficient use of resources; have significant operational savings and increases workplace productivity.
  5. Building green sends the right message about a company or organization – that it is well run, responsible, and committed to the future.
Masters believes that as we live in one world, we have a collective responsibility to work together to achieve change around the globe. Green buildings don't just make sound ecological and environmental sense - they make would economic sense too.
Countries throughout the globe have adopted various approaches and strategies for addressing climate change and driving sustainable development.
Some Sustainable Living Tips by Masters
  1. Turn off the lights, air-conditioning and television and reduce unnecessary electrical use.
  2. Try alternative Green renewable energy for some or all of your electricity
  3. Use energy-efficient lighting appliances and hot water services
  4. Walk, cycle or use public transport where possible.
  5. If you use a car, try to car pool with friends or co-workers.
  6. Optimise car use activities to reduce your car trips.
  7. Consider the option to live, learn work and play within the community or locality of your home.
  8. Consider buying a fuel efficient car and service it regularly.
  9. Consider living in an area that has public transport options.
  10. Avoid excess packaging and use a reusable bag when shopping.
  11. Recycle packaging and bags.
  12. Donate unwanted items to charities.
  13. Use compost systems or worm farms for food scraps and garden wastes.
  14. Correctly dispose of household hazardous wastes and batteries.
  15. Do not litter or discharge wastes into the waterways and surroundings.
  16. Reduce wasteful water use, i.e. have shorter showers, self-closing taps.
  17. Fix faulty plumbing and install water-wise showers and taps.
  18. Consider changing to low-water-use appliances such as washing machines and toilets.
  19. Grow a water-wise garden.
  20. Consider installing a rainwater tank for watering the garden or external cleaning purposes.
  21. Don’t throw rubbish into drains and waterways.
  22. Implement soil erosion and proper drainage to areas where earth has been disturbed to prevent siltation of waterways.
  23. Preserve and maintain natural water courses and catchment areas
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Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Maharashtra govt approves off-grid energy policy

Maharashtra Cabinet on Monday approved integrated solar off-grid energy policy to encourage use of new and renewable energy. The policy aims to enhance use of green energy to preserve environment and curb the burgeoning issue of waste disposal.

The policy envisages use of more solar products, bio gas and bio fertilizer plants in housing societies, government and private offices and other establishments. Decentralized micro grid projects will be initially set up in two non electrified villages on pilot basis in two years on 100% government subsidy.

A government official told Business Standard, "The policy hopes to save 240 million units of power in a year by producing 200 MW energy through solar equipment on rooftop. The government will spend Rs 1,600 crore in five years for the proposed off grid projects in private and public sector."

He informed that the government will 100% subsidy to generate 150 MW in five years (30 MW each year)  through a combination of generation sets of 1 to 50 kilowatt capacity on rooftop and on land on government properties.

The government will give 20% subsidy for the generation of 50 MW (10 MW each year) on private properties.

Further, additional Rs 500 crore will be spent on promoting solar cookers in government and private organizations while Rs 16 crore are earmarked for the generation of 4,000 kilowatt through bio gas.

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Eco-Friendly Buildings: Here’s Why Green is the New Black


What makes a building green? Is it the way we build, or the actual design of our buildings or is it both? And who certifies that a building is actually living up to this label?
In this article, we look at “green” buildings and how they’re being seen as the future of urban construction in India. Simply put, green buildings are those which are “designed, constructed and operated” in a manner that is sensitive to local conditions and which mitigates its environmental footprint.
Ideally, any effort to make a building green should start right from the pre-construction stages and continue throughout the life cycle of the building. Any such construction would need to have good waste management practices, use local materials and methods, and be resource, energy and water efficient.
Thus, they might draw upon indigenous know-how (for example, ikora buildings in seismic zones), have a green roof, harvest rainwater, install rooftop solar systems, recycle fly-ash from the construction waste and have “smart” sensor controlled lighting and water systems.

Who Rates These Green Credentials? 

Broadly speaking, the main governmental certification for a green building is the Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment (GRIHA) rating system. This assesses buildings on 34 criteria (including renewable energy, recycling, water use) and awards points out of 100 – a building must be awarded more than 50 points in order to carry a GRIHA certification. Based on their score, buildings are awarded between 1 and 5 stars.
The GRIHA system is guided by the 5 Rs:
  • Refuse blind adoption of non-local materials and construction processes.
  • Reduce dependence on energy-intensive methods and materials.
  • Reuse materials and knowledge to reduce building and maintenance costs.
  • Recycle waste from the construction and operation of the building.
  • Reinvent and innovate best practices in the sector.
Apart from GRIHA, there are two other rating systems for a building’s green credentials in vogue in India – the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification by the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) and the Star rating by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency.
Why Are Buildings Going Green? 

 Solar energy at home. (Photo: iStockphoto) 

Going green makes sense on several levels – a well-designed green building could lead to lower operating and maintenance costs over its life-cycle and satisfy the aspirations of environmentally conscious users. Mitigating environmental impacts and providing a healthy place to work and live makes such buildings both Eco-friendly and smart.
Thus, while the initial investment costs for green buildings might in some cases be up to 20 percent higher, these costs are paid off in diminished operating costs over an average of 3 to 5 years.

Building green ensures that our cities will remain healthy and sustainable. (Photo: iStockphoto)

In addition, as India focuses on smart cities, several states have begun considering mandatory energy conservation and green building codes in addition to offering sops for green construction. For example, cities like Noida and Pune offer both property tax benefits and additional building construction space (by giving 5 percent extra Floor Space Index) for green construction.

There are benefits for citizens too – integrating waste management, renewable energy and water recycling into the building design could help reduce dust and garbage, bring down energy costs and mitigate water shortages. As our urban populations surge, our buildings must respond to this boom instead of growing in a messy and haphazard manner.
On average, construction contributes to over 10 percent of India’s GDP and with urban populations set to double within a few years, building green ensures that our cities will remain healthy and sustainable. The need of the hour is to ensure that there is a robust system certifying green credentials as well as active participation by the government, builders and citizens in order to build structures that are both Eco-friendly and responsive to citizen needs.

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Monday, 1 February 2016

Delhi, Pune & 18 others make the cut for Smart City project

Bhubaneswar Is No. 1, None From Mumbai Region

Lutyens' zone, already the nation's envy for the benefits it enjoys, has made it to the list of 20 cities which are to be turned into Smart Cities as part of the Modi government's ambitious urban modernization programme. The list released on Thursday saw Bhubaneswar emerge on top with a Rs 4,500 crore plan to retrofit and redevelop 985 acres around the railway station with modern amenities.
The race for inclusion in the Smart City league--a concept centred on provision of basic amenities such as 24X7 power and drinking water supply as well as contemporary attributes like e-governance and IT infrastructure--saw Madhya Pradesh bagging the maximum three spots, while populous states such as UP , Bengal and Bihar failed to make it in the first round. Varanasi, the PM's own Lok Sabha constituency , failed to make the grade, finishing with the second most disappointing score among 97 contenders.
All the 4 entries from Mumbai--Greater Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Thane and Kalyan-Dombivli--could not make the cut either. New Kolkata, Gandhinagar and Vadodara also missed out.
For the national capital, initially, the scheme will be focused on “retrofitting“ 550 acres in and around Connaught Place in what will mark a big push to the historical shopping district which has just overcome decades of decay to re-emerge as a hot spot. In all, 23 states failed to find a place, something which do es not address the concern about urbanization deficit and led Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu to give them a second shot by April.Each state will submit the improved proposal of their highest ranking cities for this round of selection. By 2017, the Centre intends to identify 100 cities to be taken up for the programme.
The 20 cities which feature in the first list are expected to spend almost Rs 51,000 crore to upgrade the quality of life--a generous step-up of allocation of funds for upgradation of a significant urban swathe even if some of the projects would have possibly been taken up in normal course.
The concept of Smart City marks a big departure from the traditional municipal body-led model of urban development to one marked by corporate features such as a CEO who can even be drafted from the private sector and will have job security , a special purpose vehicle route for raising funds and execution of the development plan.
Unlike in the past, when the burden of development was on the states and the Centre, this time over 60% of the resources are proposed to be generated by the cities concerned. The selection of cities has been influenced by their capacity to deliver as determined on the basis of their past performance and financial strength.
Importantly , only one of the 20, Kochi, will focus on taking up a green project. This might mean the revival of the localities which are groaning under burgeoning population and are hamstrung by woefully inadequate infrastructure for current and future requirements.
The selected cities will get Central funding of Rs 500 crore each in the next five years and states will put up an equal amount to kick-start the project roll-out. Almost 60% of the investment will come in the form of private investment and innovative mechanism that the cities will adopt.
To begin with only selected areas in the cities proposed by the municipal bodies will be developed or redeveloped within two to five years. “These will work as catalysts and will become lighthouse to expand similar projects or work to make cities better,“ Naidu said.
Congratulating the win ners, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, “I wish the cities the very best as they move forward with implementation and transform urban India.“
Sources said since this is one of major flagship projects announced by the PM, cabinet secretary P K Sinha will interact with all the chief secretaries and Smart City mission heads besides the 97 municipal commissioners on Friday for effec tive roll-out of the mission.
The cities have been selected through a transparent mechanism of scoring and through an open challenge, the first of its kind in India and possibly in the world. “It is also the first time that the government is investing funds in urban development on the basis of a competitive selection,“ an urban development ministry spokesperson said.



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