Turning our buildings green with GRIHA

Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad in Maharashtra set an example for all cities to promote sustainable habitats

'Urbanization is the norm of the day. We cannot reverse it. So going green is the only option. As developers, it is our duty to the next generation', says Sandeep Sonigra, founder member of the Orange County Group in Pune. While Sandeep was always environmentally conscious in his work, his ideas found a clear direction when he first came to know about GRIHA.

GRIHA is India's National Rating System for green buildings. It measures the environmental performance of a building based on a set of criteria. On the basis of their score, buildings are awarded between 1 to 5 stars.

This video brings out the voices of developers, residents and city authorities in Pune who have adopted GRIHA rated buildings and have found it to be valuable in their own contexts.

Sandeep decided to follow the GRIHA rating system in 2013 with Royal Orange County- an apartment building complex of over 200 flats. The complex is built using sustainable materials; it generates 120 kilowatt peak of solar power, treats 250 kilolitres of sewage through a low-maintenance natural STP, and has a rainwater harvesting capacity of 12 lakh litres. It is one of the first residential projects in India targeting a 5-star GRIHA rating.

The residents of Royal Orange County obviously feel the difference in their quality of life and also their economics. Thanks to solar energy, their monthly electricity bills are as little as Rs 150-200/-.

However, for green buildings to be built on scale, their value needs to be understood at a city level. The municipal corporation of Pimpri Chinchwad, a newly developing city, on the outskirts of Pune is among the first civic bodies in India to adopt GRIHA. It provides a range of incentives to both developers and residents to promote the adoption of green buildings.

Speaking about PCMC's adoption of GRIHA, Mr. Shravan Hardikar, Commissioner, PCMC, says, "GRIHA helps us to make city much more carbon neutral and hence as city corporations we have decided to give some of the incentives through property tax rebate or through reduction in development charges for the developers who are coming for certification for green buildings. GRIHA is one of the best tools. It is simpler, it is indigenous and easy to implement. If we have to move towards sustainability, greener material, greener design technologies will have to be used for newer construction. GRIHA being indigenous, I think it is much better to be used.

Other significant GRIHA rated buildings in Pune and its suburbs include the Palladio Apartment Complex, the Pimpri Chinchwad New Town Development Authority building and the VVIP Circuit House of Pune.

In 2018, the Public Works Department of Maharashtra mandated all upcoming government buildings and retrofitting of existing buildings to comply with green building concepts and to be rated by the GRIHA council.

Across India, GRIHA buildings are now spread over 55 million sqm.

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