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Green home certification: The requirements and benefits

The concept of green homes - meaning environmentally sustainable residential spaces - is still an emerging trend in India, but awareness about this exciting new way of life is rapidly gaining ground.

The concept of green homes - meaning environmentally sustainable residential spaces - is still an emerging trend in India, but awareness about this exciting new way of life is rapidly gaining ground.

Buildings account for almost 40% of the country's overall energy consumption, and more than 60% of all buildings being developed in India are residential projects. It certainly requires a leap of intelligence to understand where we are headed at this rate, but the Indian market response for green residential buildings is increasing with every passing year.

Not surprisingly, Pune - the Oxford of the East - has become one of the leaders of this new movement. Thanks to the city's high intellectual acceptance quotient, it is fast emerging as Maharashtra's primary 'green living' city. This is a proud fact for Pune, since accepting green homes as a way of life is not something that is geared to come naturally to Indian home buyers One reason for this is lack of a clearer understanding of green homes; another is the fact that such homes are perceived to be a lot more expensive.

The fact is that green homes - both in terms of their construction and their use - are one of the clearest and most available means to reducing environmentally harmful waste, tackling water and energy insufficiency, reducing the consumption of fossil fuels by lowered commuting and improving health.

As a matter of fact, building sustainable residential projects is the only real way forward for ushering Indian real estate into a new Era of Sustainability. More and more Indian developers are now looking for official green certification of their projects via the IGBC (Indian Green Building Council) Green Homes Rating System.


What is IGBC certification and how is it obtained?

This unique rating programme for Indian residential sector has been developed in accordance with well-defined principles of environmental preservation and increased energy efficiency.

Contrary to common belief, IGBC certification is not a Draconian system which is next to impossible to obtain. However, it does demand a highly disciplined development approach that is aimed towards delivering environmentally sustainable projects.

To get IGBC certification, a developer of a multi-storey residential project needs to meet certain mandatory requirements and obtain a certain amount of 'green' credits. Projects can qualify for precertification once the developers in question have incorporated IGBC requirements in the project’s design and submitted the relevant documents to IGBC.

The final IGBC certification is awarded once the project is complete. The process is fairly simple and straightforward, but it is also very thorough. When a developer registers his project under the IGBC Green Homes Rating System, he is making a commitment to ensure that the project will conform to all IGBC requirements.

At every step of project completion, he is required to submit all supporting documents. In fact, IGBC stipulates that documentation must be submitted both at the design stage and at every phase of construction.

Basically, the documentation that needs to be made available to IGBC for pre-certification of a residential project must include information on how and to what degree the developer intends to adhere to the prescribed certification norms.

According to the degree of compliance, IGBC awards a rating. This rating may differ from the rating given at the stage of completion, since the developer needs to offer clear proof that the rating norm he initially committed to have indeed been followed. Once a developer applies for pre-certification with IGBC, the agency will review the project's conformance to the certification requirements every six months.


Is it worth it?
We certainly think so, and we are not alone. It is true that there is a premium of around 5% attached to certified green homes which buyers are required to pay. However, this premium is not proving to be a big deterrent to Pune's new and highly informed home buyers. The extra cost is recovered by the end user in as little as three years. In fact, there are immediate, sustained and very tangible benefits in terms of the savings generated by reduced water and energy consumption, lower medical costs due to significantly healthier living environment and an overall improved life experience for the whole family.
One also needs to factor in the added appreciation value - ten years from now, green homes will have the highest resale value on the residential property market. Those who invest in green homes today are going to see the value of their investments multiplied by a factor which normal projects will not be able to match.

About Amit Enterprises:

Amit Enterprises Housing Ltd. is a ISO 9001:2008 certified residential development company based in Pune. Two of AEHL's latest projects in Pune are well on the way for final Platinum certification by the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC).

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First Published on Oct 8, 2012 11:34 am
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