India has two competing systems to rate how green a building really is. There is the energy compliance certificate issued by the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC or LEED India) and the Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment (GRIHA). The former is benchmarked with global standards while the latter is home-grown.
LEED is the short form for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, whose standards are backed by the Confederation of Indian Industry and has been in use in India since 2001. Meanwhile GRIHA officials claim that their test is more suited to Indian realities.
This has split the Indian developers down the middle as the two green rating agencies hardsell the advantages of their respective building certification methods.
GRIHA officials says that GRIHA is an easy, yet comprehensive rating system designed for India whereas The LEED India rating is primarily based on per capita energy consumption in developed nations like the US which does not work in India since India’s per capita energy consumption is very low compared to developed nations. One more difference being that The International codes usually take a hypothetical case while GRIHA works with an absolute number, which is easily understood.
Currently The MNRE has made it mandatory for government buildings to obtain a GRIHA rating as a precondition for departments to get subsidies and other financial assistance for green development. There are more than 50 projects being built across India based on GRIHA guidelines compared to first-mover advantage that IGBC has enjoyed with 604 buildings registered with it.
So how are the Indian developers choosing the rating agencies?
Many developers tilt towards the LEED India ratings. IGBC has higher exposure to the West, making it more acceptable to multinationals who are prime buyers/investors of properties.
But GRIHA has its own band of supporters. Ansal Properties has tied up with GRIHA for their green project in Gurgaon and the reason put forward were that GRIHA is more suited to Indian climate. Also unlike LEED, it does not promote usage of certain products like glass and air-conditioning equipment.
The objective of both the organizations is to encourage environment-friendly buildings. But since the two systems are based on different parameters, there is a possibility of the two systems rating the same buildings differently.
Can GRIHA be the home-grown challenger to LEED? Or should the Government take the best of two and come out with a new rating system suitable for Indian conditions?
Time will give us the answer. But currently two rating systems are confusing the developers over the certification of their projects and buildings.
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