Staff Reporter

Meet discusses ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

KOCHI: Incorporating energy-efficiency measures in buildings has the potential to save up to 50 per cent energy, since buildings are responsible for 40 per cent of the total greenhouse gas emissions.

For existing buildings, the savings potential through alterations and energy-efficient fittings is between 20 and 25 per cent. Even non air-conditioned buildings can go green, by making optimal use of wind and daylight and by adopting other environment-friendly measures. These were stated at ‘Go Green' – a seminar-cum-exhibition on green buildings, organised here on Friday by the Rotary Club of Thripunithura and KREEPA, as part of their Akshaya Vikas Project.

Making a presentation, Siva Kishan, chief executive officer of GRIHA – Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment (which is the national rating system for green buildings), said the Energy Conservation Building Code regulates the usage of power in new buildings. “Green-rating mechanisms have been able to sensitise the construction industry to the benefits of integrated design and resource efficiency, from both the economic and environmental perspective. A rating system for India must respond to the country's diversity and help develop sensible solutions relevant to different building projects.”

In her presentation on ‘Green buildings – the potential to earn carbon credits,' Mayurika Chakraborthy, senior consultant with Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu India, said that less power consumption for lighting, air-conditioning, etc., would mean lesser usage of electricity from the thermal-power dominated power grid. “This in turn means an equivalent reduction in the amount of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide that are released from fossil fuels. This makes a green building eligible to earn carbon credits.”

Guruprakash Sastry, manager (Green Initiatives) of Infosys, said the IT firm has been aggressively going ahead with its plan to design all its buildings as green buildings, to optimise energy performance and occupant comfort. “Sustainable buildings and saving every percentage of electricity and water make business sense and reduces expenses, especially when the annual electricity bills exceed Rs.120 crore and the water consumption is over 3 billion litres.”

Quoting Winston Churchill, Sathiaram Ram of IGBC, Hyderabad, said, “We shape our buildings. Thereafter, they shape us.” Buildings consume more energy than industry and vehicles. The green concept must become part of society's DNA. Even a 100-sq ft building can make a difference in shaping a better world. The intangible benefits of green buildings include better working/living atmosphere, he said and cited how a 20,000 sq ft green building saved Rs.9 lakh a year.

“India also has a great opportunity to export green-building technologies. Already, India has 508 green buildings spread over 358 million square ft area,” Mr. Ram said.

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