The building sector in India is growing at a significant pace and is contributing immensely to the growth of the national economy. This sector has beautifully embraced green and sustainable construction practices and enabled India to be on the Global map of green buildings and the built environment. Today more and more builders and developers are taking a keen interest in offering eco-friendly options, in residential as well as commercial segments – No wonder, ‘Green Building’ is becoming exceptionally popular today. While this concept isn’t new and has been around for more than a decade, its gaining momentum only now.
This indeed is a good sign for our country, where the building sector is anticipated to quadruplicate in the next 3 decades. Integrating green techniques and concepts in the construction sector can go a long way in addressing the most prominent national concerns – namely energy efficiency, water efficiency, waste management, reduction in fossil fuel use, and conserving natural resources. More markedly, green building elements play a huge role in enhancing the occupant’s health and well-being – something that many developers have been compromising.
Considering the fact – 90% of the time people stay indoors; Indoor aesthetics, air quality, and comfort are of greatest importance to occupants. Today world over, builders and designers are exploring opportunities to construct building structures considering these key elements.
Against this background, the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) has established “Green Interiors Rating System” which details down the green interior standards for buildings including both residential and commercial structures. This rating system has been developed explicitly considering the Indian context and the National priorities. Building on this, here’s a quick rundown on Indian Green Building Council’s Green Interiors Rating System and its top 6 categories.
Indian Green Building Council – Green Interiors Rating
Indian Green Building Council ‘Green Interior’ rating program is designed to address the specific requirements of tenants-occupied commercial spaces. However, it can also be applied by owner-occupied spaces, provided they have not already addressed these in the main building. The sustainable aspects of green interior design are addressed in the IGBC Green Interiors rating system under the following categories:
1. Eco Design Approach
This category encourages designers to incorporate sustainable strategies in all angles of the design. Under eco-design approach points are credited under:
- Eco Vision for Interior Design – Encourage designers to have an eco-vision, thereby incorporating sustainable strategies in all facets of design
- Optimize Circulation Spaces – Design interiors to ensure optimum circulation space, thereby ensuring safety & wellbeing of occupants.
- Public Transportation Proximity – Encourage eco-friendly transit facility to minimize the environmental impacts associated with automobile use.
- Tenancy in Green Facility – Encourage tenants to occupy green spaces, thereby saving on resources and minimize environmental impacts.
- Commercial Lease Term (or) Ownership – Encourage long-term occupancy to reduce the materials consumption, thereby minimizing environmental impacts.
2. Water Conservation
The intent here is to minimize dependence on municipal and bore water, thereby conserving water resources. This can be done by installing water-efficient fixtures and taking ‘Beyond the Fence’ water efficiency initiatives.
3. Energy Efficiency
According to the EPA, a single ENERGY STAR qualified home can keep 4,500 lbs. of greenhouse gases out of the air each year. IGBC Green Interiors intent categorizes energy efficiency under:
- Energy Efficient Interiors – Enhance energy efficiency in the interior spaces, to optimize energy consumption and thereby reducing environmental impacts.
- Eco-friendly Refrigerants & Halons – Avoid the use of refrigerants and ozone-depleting gases thereby reducing environmental impacts.
- Energy Metering & Management – Encourage sub-metering and continuous monitoring to implement energy efficiency measures, thereby reducing environmental impacts.
- Off-site/ On-site Renewable Energy – Encourage the use of renewable energy technologies, to minimize the environmental impacts associated with fossil fuel energy use.
- Embodied Energy – Identify Materials or products with low embodied energy, to minimize the environmental impacts associated with extraction, manufacturing, and packing.
- Higher levels of energy efficiency help in reducing carbon emissions – Both from power plants and the home’s energy systems.
4. Green Interior Materials
Segregation of waste, post-occupancy is the mandatory requirement under this category. This facilitates segregation of waste at the source to prevent such waste being sent to landfills. Apart from this, below are the other prominent elements of interior materials:
- Waste Management (During Installation) – Encourage practices to manage material waste during installation, to avoid such waste being sent to landfills
- Local Materials – Encourage the use of locally available materials, thereby minimizing the associated environmental impacts
- Recycled Materials – Encourage the use of materials that have high recycled content, thereby minimizing the associated environmental impacts
- Salvaged Materials – Encourage the use of salvaged materials and products to reduce the demand for virgin materials, thereby minimizing the environmental impacts
- Eco-friendly wood-based materials – Minimize use of new wood-based products, thereby reducing impacts of deforestation
- Eco-certified Interior Furniture – Encourage the use of eco-certified interior products that consider impacts through the life cycle, thereby resulting in lower environmental impacts
- Purchase of Green Consumables – Encourage the use of green consumables in the interior space that has low impacts on human health and the environment
5. Indoor Environment
Considering the importance of good quality indoor air environment, Green Interiors pays weight to occupant well-being facilities, indoor air quality management, low-emitting materials, minimize indoor pollutant contamination, material acoustic performance, daylighting, outdoor views, indoor plantation, co2 monitoring, thermal comfort, and many more similar elements.
6. Innovation In Interior Design
Provide design teams an opportunity to innovate and implement measures that demonstrate reduced environmental impacts. Implement measures that are not addressed in the rating system but have a significant reduction in environmental impacts.
The rating takes into consideration all the possible aspects of the interior in every single phase i.e. pre-construction, construction, post-occupancy and maintenance; product specifications; transportation costs, labour inputs; and adherence to labour safety in the execution of the interiors. The guidelines provided under each mandatory requirement and credit enable the design and construction of green interiors of all sizes and types. Based on the total credits earned, different levels of green building certification are awarded to the structure. The different levels of rating awarded are:
‘Green Interiors’ rating is ideally suited but not limited to office interior fit-outs, malls, retail spaces, hotels, restaurants, resorts, IT spaces, banks, hospitals, and other buildings. The rating is applicable for both new and existing interior fit-outs.
Benefits of Green Interiors
Sustainable Interior design can bring in several benefits, the most prominent ones are listed below:
- 30% to 40% reduction in energy costs
- 20% to 30% reduction in water requirements
- Enhanced indoor air quality
- Use of non-toxic materials
- Better acoustics and ergonomics
- Improved health and well-being of occupants
Ultimately all of these are great for human’s well-being and the environment as a whole.
Indian Green Building Council ‘Green Interiors’ rating system is acquiring an excellent response. In the future, this green rating will go a long way in building a greener and healthier India. Not just for the occupants, Green Interiors will also open up new growth opportunities for the builders, architects, and designers.
Information collected & curated from IGBC India website
Article is authored by a Building Expert from Wienerberger India
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