Not every country has a centre dedicated to energy, that too started 39 years ago, which makes TERI unique, feels Sathya Prakash Varanashi
India has been a nation of institutions and many of them like IISc. (Indian Institute of Science); IITs (Indian Institutes of Technology) and others have made our country proud, being on par with many reputed institutes abroad. Likewise, in the sustainable building sector, we have The Energy and Resources Institute – popularly called as TERI. Not every nation has a centre dedicated to energy, that too started 39 years ago, which makes TERI very unique. Sustainable development has been among its focus now for over 30 years. It is a source of information on energy efficient ideas, and all that we need to do is to log in and start applying the ideas.
The mandate of TERI is vast, covering energy, industry, rural requirements, urban issues, building sector, sustainable development and so on, innovating in India for India, despite drawing upon the best practices from different nations. Besides gathering global data and ideas, it also has its own publications, guidebooks, project case studies and seminar papers available for those interested. TERI is among the few institutions that have walked the talk – it has actually built office buildings, research facilities, University campus and retreats in many cities, demonstrating the practical application of energy conservation measures and ecological benefits of what it propagates.
Among the varied activities of TERI, the one immediately useful to anyone planning to undertake a construction is its rating system. The idea of rating a building is like a student getting examination marks – the building is judged against many project parameters to see how it fares and thereupon also be able to evaluate how it may perform during its operational years. The TERI rating system, known as GRIHA, is today accepted by the Government as the national system to evaluate the environmental performance of a building holistically over its entire life cycle, thereby providing a definitive standard for what constitutes a green building.
Both a guideline to follow and a criteria to evaluate, it looks at protecting the land, enriching the soil, climatically effective designs, resource efficient construction, conserving water, reducing power needs, promoting low energy materials, reducing waste, treating waste water, ease of maintenance, reduced life cycle costs and such others. There are 100 points allocated against varied items wherein more than 50 scores gets one to five-star rating; higher the score more the stars. The list of concepts, tasks to do and approach to take act like a checklist of specific actions, hence are worthy of being referred to, even if one does not intend to apply for certification.
There have been frequent comments about how researched ideas do not move from the lab to the land. To mitigate such a scene, TERI has taken many efforts towards publications, seminars and Government partnerships, besides acting as a consultant. India is among the few nations with individuals and institutions focusing on sustainability and its time we take the benefit of them.