GRIHA for Large Developments


With increasing urbanization, economic growth, and the rising consumption pattern in India, there has been an increasing trend to consume more natural resources per capita. Higher incomes have given rise to greater demand for better standards of living, thereby adding to the already significant stress on the environment and various other natural resources. This results in an ever widening gap between demand and supply for electricity, potable water, and many other things. According to the 12th Five Year Plan, released by the Planning Commission of the Government of India, nearly 285 million people were living in urban agglomerations. This number increased to almost 380 million in the year 2011 and the projections are that by 2030, almost 600 million people will be living in urban areas. Increasing population coupled with continued urbanization is likely to result in the emergence of about 60-70 cities with population of more than a million by 2030. In the past five years, the Central government has focused a lot on the development of SEZs, educational campuses, and new townships. Even the private construction sector has now begun developing large-scale projects that offer multiple product options as a part of a single package. So, for instance, a housing project may offer lifestyle facilities such as on campus club-houses, gymnasia, swimming pools, convenience stores, etc. There are an increasing numbers of such large developments coming up in the country. These comprise the following:

  • 1. Large (mixed–use) townships:
    • Housing complex by builders
    • Housing complexes by urban development organizations
    • Housing board and Public Sector Undertaking Townships
    • Plotted developments with part construction by the developer
  • 2. Educational and institutional campuses
  • 3. Medical colleges and Hospital complexes (eg: AIIMS)
  • 4. Special economic zones
  • 5. Special economic zones

When a large project is planned and implemented, it comprises multiple buildings and other infrastructural facilities, on a single site. Environmental Performance Assessment for such projects should go beyond the environmental design of each building, and calls for assessment of larger environmental issues, and their effects that are brought out by the built environment. Emergence of these new large-scale developments/ townships/ neighbourhoods and the growth of the older ones are bringing in complex changes to ecology, natural resources and environment at local, regional, and global scales. It is high time we pay heed to our planning practices and guidelines that are followed to plan our cities and make them in such a way that they promote sustainable development with lesser impact on environment.


GRIHA Council, in association with The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) and the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), has launched the Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment (GRIHA) and Simple Versatile Affordable GRIHA (SVA GRIHA), in order to address and promote green buildings in India. However, a need was felt to create a framework to assess the environmental performance of larger developments, the singular units which together make up cities – neighbourhood/townships – and with this focus; GRIHA Council along with TERI has developed a rating system for large developments titled – GRIHA LD (Large Developments). The intent of GRIHA LD is to provide a consolidated framework for assessment of environmental impacts of large scale developments.

Qualification for rating
All projects which satisfy either of the following two thresholds may apply for a GRIHA LD rating:

  • Total site area greater than or equal to 50 hectares.

All sites in their native state sustain various ecological cycles and do not have any detrimental impact on their surroundings. Construction leads to disruption of various cycles as well as exerts demand for various resources like energy, water, etc. Therefore, conventional construction practices have a detrimental impact on their surroundings. In the framework of GRIHA LD, projects which reduce their detrimental impact on the surroundings to the minimum and attempt to become self-sufficient in aspects like energy, water, etc., will be given the highest rating. Therefore, the lower the negative impact of a development on its surrounding, the better the GRIHA LD star rating.

In GRIHA LD the development will be evaluated in six different sections as listed below:

  • Site Planning
  • Energy
  • Water and waste water
  • Solid waste management
  • Transport
  • Social

Each section comprises two parts: Quantitative and Qualitative. Each section will be evaluated on quantitative (except Social) parameters as well as qualitative. In the section on Social, since there are no quantitative parameters, the evaluation will be done based on only qualitative parameters.


Finally the net impact on quantitative and qualitative parameters (In and Iq respectively) will be totalled and compared against the base case impact of 100 per cent. The following formula will be used for the same:.

It = In (design case) + Iq (design case) x 100
In (base case) + Iq (base case)

Overall Impact - It Rating

Master Plan rating – Rs 3.25 lakh (Fee USD - 4500)

Site Area Fees Fee USD
1 – 50 hectare Rs 3,00,000 per phase 4000
For every hectare above 50 Rs 5,500 per hectare 75/ hectare

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