While there is a lot of clamour regarding our responsibility towards  decreasing the carbon print and construction of more Green office buildings in Delhi and other parts of the world, unfortunately, there is a widespread lack of information regarding the same. 

Most people in Delhi, if you ask them what comes to their mind when they hear “green building” the answer would be a building covered with a lot of greenery, both vertically and horizontally. However, there is much more to it than what meets the eye. Well, this time  literally 😊 .  In fact a complex planted with lush greenery, when evaluated on the parameters of a Green office Building in Delhi, would lag far behind a building which has taken a small initiative like changing the lighting, from the normal bulbs to LED bulbs ( which, on the face of it, has nothing to do with greenery or plantation etc).So while having greenery in the complex would definitely help but the concept of Green Buildings is more about “sustainable development” or a development with optimal use of natural resources.

Now we get on to the real challenge, Why do we not have enough green office buildings in Delhi ?  Leaving aside the small reasons, the biggest and most challenging is the misgivings about its cost implications . Most people think that constructing a green building is a very costly affair so they shy away from putting that extra money. However, they forget to keep in consideration that a green building can easily save more than the money invested ( towards fulfilling requirements of green certification) within the first  2-3 yrs of building operations through the savings in electricity, water and maintenance bills. After that it is all your earnings .

 

Another important factor to be remembered here is that a GRIHA or LEED etc certified green office building in Delhi does not just get leased much easily but also commands a much higher rental because of a spurt in the demand of Geen office buildings in Delhi from most of the big, MNC as well as indian corporate, clients because of either their commitments towards environmental causes or under CSR initiative.

 

Let us now look at which are the major areas of opportunity where we can introduce technological advancements in a building, starting from the construction stage to completion and further during its operations, and replace current infrastructure with environment friendly alternatives to get more and more buildings to qualify as a certified Green Office building in Delhi.

 

1 Architecture- 

It is very important that at the onset such elements be ingrained in planning the structure that it adherences to climate-based layouts and designs to minimise energy consumption and promote maximum use of natural lighting and optimum indoor air quality and reduced co2 emissions.

 

 2 Building Material – 

Instead of the commonly used brick and mortar there is a lot of green construction material which is recyclable and is devoid of any contamination must be used, like use of fly ash blocks for walls and slabs to maximise use of recycled material, paints with toxins in them, or materials that harm the environment, should be avoided. Minimising use of burnt bricks and any imported stones, aluminium and the wood should be certified. Apart from this, over the years  renewable bamboo and rubber wood is also being used extensively.

3 Electricity- 

It is one of the biggest areas of concern for environmentalists and there are multiple innovations around the same to ensure optimal use of natural resources and minimising use of conventional electricity.  Following can be particularly useful.

 

  1. a) Using renewable energy – Solar panels to be installed on roof tops, atop open parkings and outdoor lighting poles. This energy should not be used just for lighting  but also used for heating water 
  2. b) Using LED instead of conventional bulbs
  3. c) Use of automation by putting motion sensing lights, ambient light sensors in indoor and outdoor lights , motion sensors for escalators etc are few to name.
  4. d) Smart BMS for lifts etc to ensure optimal electricity use.

 

4) Water – 

Two most popular and easily adaptable systems even for an existing structure are Rain water harvesting and use of a water treatment plant. A building must ensure that all the water being used in toilets and gardening should be recycled. 

 

5)Energy Efficiency – 

The design should be such that the building’s glass facade should be insulated and double glazed which should help reduce the transmission of heat. Instead of central air conditioning systems , more efficient systems like VRV etc should be adapted . Instead of cooling/ heating  through gas a chilled/ hot water based system should be implemented.           

 

6) Waste management- 

Along with waste water recycling similar measures should be employed to ensure reduction of non-biodegradable waste.

 

7) Air Quality and Overall well being of occupants-  

 

Indoor spaces need to have efficient ventilation designs for good air quality. The design structures should allow cross-ventilation and free flow of air. Indoor pollution is quite harmful to health and is said to be much more intense than outdoor pollution. Since an occupant is expected to spend a lot of time indoors, the air quality impacts health and well-being. Apart from healthy air quality, efforts are also required to maintain suitable temperature with proper daylight in all the areas of the unit. Similarly, visual appeal and aesthetics are an important part of a green design. Access to sufficient daylight cuts down energy costs and positively impacts the health of the occupants

 

8) Ecological consideration and development of smart cities-

Environmental impacts should be considered while planning the layouts. The native ecology should not be damaged and, if possible, should be conserved. Site selection is not just crucial for the kind of soil and local flora; it also takes into account factors like transport and pollution generated by employees while travelling to the workplace. Efforts should be made to put in place policies to promote smart cities with walk to work culture and also to promote robust public transport systems where employees have to travel long distances.

There are multiple Green Building certifications working across the world and within them there are  different levels of certification based on the number of parameters a building qualifies. For example if we talk about the most common certification system LEED rating awarded by USGBC , a LEED Platinum certified building generally qualifies under most of the parameters and has credit points upwards of 80 ( maximum being 100 ) , on the other hand to simply qualify for a GREEN CERTIFICATE a building needs just 40 points under LEED.. 

We hope to see more and more new constructions qualifying for not just a Green Certificate but the platinum category, enabling us to offer more healthier , productive, energy and resource efficient office spaces to work, play, learn and earn to our patrons.

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