Innovations in Green Buildings – “The GRIHA Approach”

GRIHA is India’s National Rating System for Green buildings, which has been developed by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) and endorsed by the Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE). It was developed as an indigenous building rating system particularly designed to address the climatic requirements in the country, and it promotes the use of traditional architectural techniques and is synchronized with government policies and programmes. It provides an evaluation method to design, build, operate and maintain a resource efficient built environment. It can be applied to commercial, institutional, and residential buildings. It attempts to minimize a building’s resource consumption, waste generation, and overall ecological/environmental impact by comparing them to certain nationally acceptable limits and benchmarks. The unique characteristic of this rating system is a single window process from design to rating because of its compliance with all major environmental and building codes of India. In 2009, it was mandated that all central government and public sector unit buildings be built with a minimum of GRIHA 3- star rating. As of today, over 140 projects have undertaken GRIHA registration.

To take forward the green building rating system in South India, the regional conference and exhibition on “Innovations in Green Buildings – The GRIHA Approach” was organized by ADaRSH (Association for Development and Research of Sustainable Habitats) & TERI, in Bangalore, and supported by Asahi Glass, IBM, United Technologies Corporation, Armstrong Design, Berger Paints, L&T ECC, MNRE, Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (BESCOM), Karnataka Renewable Energy Development Ltd. (KREDL), Housing and Urban Development Corporation ltd (HUDCO). The event was held at Hotel Royal Orchid and hosted over 250 delegates across the industry including architects, developers, consultants, and academicians. It was a unique opportunity for these professionals to come together and engage in lively discussions on topics related to green buildings.

GRIHA National Conference is held every year in New Delhi and is attended by the professionals from different disciplines like architecture, engineering, construction companies, financing institutes etc. This year for the first time a Regional Conference was organized in the city of Bangalore. TERI’s Southern Regional Centre in Bangalore took this vital step to spread awareness and create a movement on green buildings. The event focused on recent issues related to the GRIHA rating system.

The objectives of the conference were to:
  • Create a common platform for the major stake holders of the industry.
  • Demonstrate the advantages of an integrated design process and its impacts on building construction and operation.
  • Illustrate the financial impacts and business strategies by adopting energy efficiency in building design.
  • Develop the awareness on impact of government initiatives on achieving resource efficiency across various sectors.
  • Showcase advantages of using low-energy materials and low-cost construction strategies for construction of green buildings.

The event included talks by eminent personalities such as Dr. R K Pachauri, Director General-TERI & Chairman IPCC; Shri S.V Ranganath, Chief Secretary-Government of Karnataka; Dr A Ramachandran, Chairman-TERI, Dr. Michelle D Addington, Professor, Yale School of Architecture; Smt. Shamim Banu, Additional Chief Secretary, Department of Energy-GoK; Ar Krishna Rao Jaisim, Principal Architect, Jaisim Fountainhead and Chaiman, Indian Institute of Architects, Bangalore, Ms. Mili Majumdar, Director, Sustainable Habitat division, TERI, Mr. Pronab Dasgupta, Distinguished Fellow and Director, TERI and Ms. Minni Sastry, Area Convener, Center for Research on Sustainable Building Science , TERI.

Committing TERI's expertise towards the development of the state of Karnataka Dr. R K Pachauri, Director General-TERI & President ADaRSH in his address said, at present India is undergoing a massive development in all spheres due to rapid urbanization and lifestyle changes. With the high rates of economic growth that India is registering and is likely to achieve in the future, a major expansion in infrastructure is bound to take place in the coming years. To ensure efficient use of resources, including energy, lower levels of environmental impacts and meeting the challenge of climate change, it is essential that we carry out greening of India’ s infrastructure. To bring about a major change, ratings based on solid scientific principles, architectural techniques and methods that stand the test of times are essential. GRIHA rating is tailor-made to all conditions, which makes it suitable and practical to be used in India. I am happy that the government of Karnataka has always reiterated its commitment to achieve sustainable development in the state.

Shri S V Ranganath, Chief Secretary, Government of Karnataka addressing the crowd and lauding TERI for its work in the realm of sustainable development said, “Cities are facing the challenges of urbanization. Energy and water are crucial issues to be tackled and TERI can play a major role in addressing these challenges in cities and help chart a sustainable way forward. He also mentioned that Karnataka shall take a lead in promoting GRIHA in the state which headed a hope for GRIHA being implemented in the state. Dr. A Ramachandran, chairman of TERI mentioned that in the 12th five year plan, environmental provisions should be included in JNNRUM urban development plans.

Updates on GRIHA rating system were conveyed by Ms. Priyanka Kochhar, Programme Manager- Strategic Partnerships & Implementation, ADaRSH. Various mechanisms for implementation and the major steps towards the development of the rating system were also highlighted. SVAGRIHA, an affordable rating system has been designed as an extension for GRIHA, specifically for projects with built- up area less than 2,500 Sq.m. Guidelines and benchmarks for Green Large developments is another new development in this regard.

The conference was structured to include three technical sessions where experts discussed various issues prevalent in the green buildings industry today.

Green Buildings – Innovation in Design with Integrated Approach

The first session was on the theme of “Innovation in Design with Integrated Approach”. Dr. Michelle Addington chaired the session, and discussed the importance of integrated approach in designing for human comfort in buildings. A few case studies were shown by Dr. Hariharan on Total Zero Emissions Development (TZED)/ Low carbon buildings and by Mr. Guruprakash Sastry on the major steps taken by Infosys towards energy efficient buildings. Bangalore based architects Mr. V Vishwanath and Dr. Sujit Kumar, were the two other speakers in the session who presented their works for GRIHA compliance projects.

Policies and initiatives by local governments to achieve sustainable and resource efficient built environment

After lunch, there was a panel discussion on policies and initiatives taken by local governments to achieve sustainable and resource efficient building environment. The discussion also highlighted India’s journey on the path towards sustainable development through various case studies. The session was chaired by Smt. Shamim Banu. A special mention was given to the Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation which has already set an example by announcing mandatory compliance of their future government projects with GRIHA. Mr. Jayapaul, Senior Country Director, Building & Construction Authority, Singapore discussed about the various policies and initiatives taken by the Singapore government towards sustainable development. Ms. Mili Majumdar, Director of Sustainable Habitat Division at TERI illustrated the current scenario of sustainable buildings in India. Various approaches and enactment programmes for green buildings were highlighted in her presentation. The presentation given by Mr. PV Sreenath, Vice president of Smart planet solutions of IBM showed how the corporate sector in keen in providing solutions for intelligent buildings. Mr.N S Prasanna Kumar, MD, Karnataka Renewable Energy Development ltd mentioned the various implementation programmes and incentives given by Government of Karnataka in the renewable energy sector.

Green Buildings – Innovative Technologies & Building Materials

The conference also delved into innovative technologies and building material/ strategies being adopted in green buildings in the third session. This session that was moderated by the eminent architect Jaisim. Dr. Alokita Agarwal who is the head for green design solutions for Asahi India Glass ltd. explained about various glazing products that could provide green solutions in buildings. Mr. Sudharshan, from Wipro Eco green solutions illustrated on various approaches for making buildings energy efficient. Mr. Pradeep Kumar, Associate Director, Building Energy systems at TERI and Mr. Rajmohan from Armstrong spoke about design challenges and approaches for achieving optimised solutions in green projects. The technical sessions were concluded with an extremely engaging presentation by Ar. Jaisim which was appreciated with a standing ovation from the participants.

Green Exhibition

In parallel to the conference, a green exhibition was also organised to showcase green products/ services offered by various building industry manufacturers and stakeholders. Several of the top green product manufacturers like Armstrong, United Technologies, Berger Paints, Asahi Glass, Insuladd, Dow Corning, Akzo Nobel, Dow Chemicals and Owens Corning showcased their products in the exhibition.

Inagural Session of the conference

Inagural Session of the conference

Participants of the conference

Participants of the conference

Dr. Michelle Addington inaugurating the exhibition

Dr. R K Pachauri visiting one of the stalls


Views of the Green exhibition during the conference