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Construction Insights November 2023: India

20 November 2023
India is actively working towards creating sustainable urban environments by embracing inventive green building approaches. 

Green building innovations in India: Paving the way for sustainable urban environments

In recent years, India has witnessed a notable surge in the adoption of green building innovations, signifying a profound change in the construction and urban development sector. As environmental sustainability gains increasing recognition and the urgent requirement to counter the negative consequences of rapid urbanization becomes apparent, India is actively working towards creating sustainable urban environments by embracing inventive green building approaches. 

The building and construction industry is responsible for 35-40% of energy consumption and carbon emissions. In an attempt to promote energy conservation and capitalize on building energy savings opportunities, the Government of India through the Ministry of Power developed the Energy Conservation Building Code (“ECBC”) for commercial buildings. The State’s role is to notify, adopt, and implement the ECBC. ECBC is presently mandatory for ‘commercial buildings’ in 25 States and Union Territories.

However, there is no all-encompassing and effective green building code in India. The Green Building Code in India is essentially derived from State by-laws, the National Building Code of India (“NBC”), ECBC, and criteria set forth by rating programs like Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design-India (“LEED-India”). It also encompasses the guidelines presented by the Indian Green Building Council (“IGBC”), the Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment (“GRIHA”) devised by The Energy and Resources Institute (“TERI”), and numerous other certification bodies, particularly catering to the residential sector. 

IGBC, which introduced the LEED-India certification, is one of India’s earliest green building certification systems, providing a framework for the construction of eco-friendly, cost-effective, and sustainable buildings. As of August 2023, India boasts impressive LEED-India statistics with 4,674 participating projects covering over 2.92 billion square feet and 1,664 LEED-India professionals, according to the Green Business Certification Inc. (“GBCI”).

In the realm of green building incentives in India, apart from LEED-India, various complementary certifications are administered by GBCI. Numerous State and Central government agencies in India are increasingly prioritizing green buildings to promote energy conservation measures, and many States are providing incentives for green certifications. These incentives are designed to enhance the financial viability of LEED-India-certified projects and encourage private-sector investments in sustainable building practices.

The Government of India is offering several incentives to promote green building and LEED-India certifications, including tax benefits, and low-interest loans through the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency. These measures would collectively foster the growth of eco-friendly and sustainable building practices in India, aligning with the nation’s vision for a greener, more sustainable future.

For further information contact: Bomi Daruwala, Partner, Vaish Law - India

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