The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu today appealed to the Finance Commissions and local bodies to encourage green buildings through various measures including tax incentives. He also wanted all states to create online portals to provide single window clearance to green buildings.
Virtually inaugurating the 12th GRIHA (Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment) Summit, organised by the GRIHA Council from Hyderabad today, the Vice President said that India has the potential to lead the Global Green Building Movement and emphasised the need to promote green building concept by both the private sector and the government. Recognizing that there is a lack of awareness among people about the green building concept, he also called for the launch of a mass media campaign on the advantages of building green homes. “Green buildings movement should become people’s movement”, VP said.
Quoting the World Green Building Council data, the Vice President said that buildings and construction account for 39% of energy-related CO2 emissions in the world and called for accelerating the process of total de-carbonization of the built environment.
Noting that “Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan” envisions making India self-reliant in all spheres, the Vice President re-emphasised the need for sustainable development and wanted awareness to be increased among the people in this regard.
Calling buildings as one of the major contributors of greenhouse gas emissions, Shri Naidu said that there is a need for concerted and coordinated efforts from all stakeholders to ensure that the buildings are environment-friendly and energy & resource-efficient. “The construction material we use today should be sustainable—it should not in any way jeopardize the ability of future generations to meet their needs”, he added.
He expressed happiness over several government and private bodies committing to build their future buildings greener. The Vice President wanted every future building to go green mandatorily and said that this should apply to all kinds of building. Not only new buildings, the existing buildings too have to be retrofitted to make them environment-friendly, he added.
Observing that our ancient civilisational values teach us to live in harmony with nature, the Vice President called for revisiting our traditional and nature-friendly house designs refined over thousands of years by our ancestors. “Unfortunately, our modern structures are such that no sparrow can come and make a nest in our house. This is not our culture” he said.
Warning that climate change is real and impacting us, Shri Naidu called for a balance between economic development and environmental protection. Economy and ecology can coexist if one respects nature, he said.
He said that the current year has been a tumultuous one due to COVID-19 pandemic and a number of natural calamities in the form of floods, droughts and other extreme weather events. Thus, there is an absolute need to reorient our approach to development as the decisions we make today will have repercussions far beyond our own lifetimes, he warned.
Noting that least half of the country’s population will live in towns and cities by 2050, the Vice President said that this will create a lot of pressure on housing sector and green solutions will have to be developed to meet the emerging needs.
Opining that the roof cooling should be an area of priority for all, Shri Naidu mentioned that in India, over 60 percent of roofs are made from metal, asbestos, and concrete – thus trapping heat inside buildings and contributing to heat island effect in urban areas. Observing that cool roofs offer a simple and a cost-effective solution that can lower indoor temperatures by 2 to 4 degrees Celsius as compared to traditional roofs, the Vice President said that these can be very effective for low-income households and slums in urban areas. Stating that need for air conditioners is expected to rise substantially with improvement in living standards and rise in temperatures due to global warming, he said that Cool roofs can reduce the heat stress in homes and offices and bring down the dependence on air conditioners. Simple techniques such as lime-based paint, reflective coatings or membranes can reflect the sunlight and reduce heat absorption, he added.
Emphasising the need to utilize light and air that is naturally available to us, Shri Naidu said that Covid-19 pandemic has taught us the importance of good air circulation in the buildings reducing the infection rate.
Observing that the implementation of Bureau of Energy Efficiency’s Energy Conservation Building Code (ECBC) has not been uniform across the nation, Shri Naidu appreciated the states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh for taking a lead in this regard.
He suggested for capacity building at the local level through customized training programs for the architects, engineers, government officials, and builders in energy-efficient buildings.
Praising the work done by GRIHA, VP said that since its inception, it has been a catalyst for the widespread adoption of green development in India and congratulated GRIHA Council on the launch of the upgraded version of its rating system, the GRIHA Version 2019. He also expressed happiness over the fact that despite the pandemic, GRIHA Council has continued in its endeavours to promote the sustainability agenda and has developed the Building Fitness Indicator (BFI) tool – a free-to-use self-assessment tool that allows organizations to measure the preparedness of workplaces to prevent exposure to COVID-19.
On this occasion, the Vice President also launched three e-publications of GRIHA Council namely – 30 Stories Beyond Buildings, Shashwat Magazine and Version 2019 Manual of the Council.
Union Urban Development Minister, Shri Hardeep Singh Puri, President of GRIHA Council, Dr. Ajay Mathur and CEO, GRIHA Council, Shri Sanjay Seth were among the dignitaries who participated in the virtual event.