Parameters will be applicable to India’s climate, geography, and land use laws

The U.S. Green Building Council was in Bangalore last week to tie up an extra local stamping to its international LEED rating, making it more relevant to India. “Our multi-city trip to India will showcase our commitment to the Indian market to make LEED more pertinent to Indian conditions,” said Mahesh Ramanujam, COO, U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). The event saw the release of “alternative compliance paths” for LEED, for making the system more applicable to India’s regional climate, geography, land use laws and more. “USGBC and TERI have plans to work together in the field of building performance, by addressing existing buildings in India and working on a LEED Dynamic Plaque that measures a building in real time, but regionalised for India,” said Scot Horst, senior vice-president, for LEED, USGBC, who was also present at the occasion.

LEED is described as being global, regional and local, in that it is said to be customised and regionalised for various countries and climates. Says Mr. Ramanujam, “From a global perspective, LEED buildings can be compared across the globe — a LEED Gold certified building in India is the same level and high quality structure as a LEED Gold building in the U.S., in China or anywhere else. On a local level, it takes into account climate, geography, water, land use laws and more with regional priority credits.”

So how does LEED differ from TERI’s GRIHA rating? “The main difference is that GRIHA is a local rating system and LEED is a global system. USGBC has long supported the use of local and regional rating systems for projects across the globe. Our partnership with TERI ensures that the GRIHA rating system with advanced mechanisms is crucial in regionalising LEED in India and Southeast Asia. We are also exploring paths for dual certification with both GRIHA and TERI for green building projects in India,” said Mr. Ramanujam.

About the cost factor, Mr. Scot Horst stressed that in such ratings the investment is highlighted. “With rating systems integrated into the development process of a building, pursuing green does not necessarily cost more.” Investments made in green buildings, in the end, reduces the overall costs associated with the building, he says, spelling out that the average certification costs for commercial buildings comes at $ 3,000 or Rs. 180,000.

USGBC’s online tool (LEEDonline.com to register) guides projects from start to finish, said Mr. Ramanujam. There are more than 200,000 trained professionals in the LEED process who sit with projects teams to help in the certification.