Press Releases

  • Green buildings have enormous potential to combat climate change

    4 February 2009

    Rapid urbanisation and construction of buildings have impacted the environment and contributed to climate change. As one of the fastest growing construction sectors in the world, India has put enormous pressure on natural resource use materials, water, and energy) and led to localised accumulation of waste from construction and the use of buildings. To popularise the concept of sustainable buildings, The Energy & Resources Institute (TERI) along with UNEP and the Marrakech Task Force on Sustainable buildings & Construction organised a discussion on "Sustainable Buildings & Construction for India: Policies, Practices and Performance" as a part of ninth DSDS (Delhi Sustainable Development Summit). Present on the occasion were, Dr. Peter Graham, Coordinator Sustainable Buildings & Construction Initiative, UNEP, Dr. R K Pachauri, Director General, TERI, Dr. Leena Srivastava, Executive Director, TERI, Mr. Deepak Gupta, Secretary Ministry of New and Renewable Energy and Mr. Karan Grover.

    Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Peter Graham, Coordinator Sustainable Buildings & Construction Initiative, UNEP said,"sustainable building is an approach that creates net positive social, economic and environmental efforts. Huge savings in energy consumption and green house gas emission are possible at zero cost to economies when sustainable buildings are promoted with the right policy. The bottom line is that countries which don't promote sustainable buildings are missing the opportunity to improve the environment, create jobs and save money."

    The sustainable buildings agenda currently receives limited attention. Related governmental initiatives refer sustainability performance as an 'add-on' component to building developments. While there are some local initiatives promoting sustainable buildings which include research, pilot or advocacy projects, there is no coordinated approach to address the wider sustainable buildings agenda in India. Substantial economic and environmental opportunities of sustainable buildings are therefore yet to be realized.

    Elaborating on the need of sustainable buildings in India, Dr. R K Pachauri, Director General, TERI, said, "Given the growth of the economy and the Indian population, building activities would continue at a high level. This could lock us into large consumption of energy unless we design and construct buildings that are energy efficient and conserve natural resources"

    Elaborating on this initiative Mr. Deepak Gupta, Secretary MNRE said that "Building rating systems are now becoming quite effective in raising awareness and popularizing energy efficient and green building designs. Our ministry is of the firm view that the indigenous system called GRIHA developed along with TERI is the real need for the country."

    The UNEP "Sustainable Building Construction Initiative is an extremely important action that promises bring together various stakeholders onto a common platform to share expertise and facilitate the common cause of reducing energy and environmental footprint of buildings".

    The discussion addressed various issues and brought together key stakeholders in the private and public sectors. The participants identified the barriers and opportunities for achieving a market transformation towards sustainable buildings in India. The outputs were threefold:

    1. An improved network and cooperation among Indian stakeholders and between the Indian and international sustainable buildings communities.
    2. Identified opportunities for international cooperation and support to the sustainable buildings agenda in India.
    3. A draft sustainable buildings agenda identified needs, opportunities and key actors for realising the above market transformation at the national level.