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‘Star rating is becoming proxy for green building regulation’

Published : Nov 23, 2015, 12:49 am IST
Updated : Nov 23, 2015, 12:49 am IST

State governments and city administrations have been providing incentives to builders of green rated buildings without independent official monitoring and oversight of actual energy and resource savin

State governments and city administrations have been providing incentives to builders of green rated buildings without independent official monitoring and oversight of actual energy and resource savings in green-rated buildings, said experts.

A green building refers to a structure created using processes that are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout its life cycle i.e. from design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation and demolition.

The data was shared at a regional dialogue organised by Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) in Pune, by urban city planners, architects and other experts. Several state governments including West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Punjab among others have promised extra built-up area to developers and put the entire onus of monitoring and certification on rating agencies. Things look hopeful for Maharashtra, as two of its cities have fared better than others in managing their green buildings.

According to experts, state governments and city administrations have been providing incentives without an independent official monitoring system and oversight of actual energy and resource savings in green-rated buildings. The compliance of the green norms by the builders is based entirely on their self-reporting and rating agencies without independent official oversight. Even penalty for underperformance of these buildings is linked to self-reporting. This, according to the experts, dilutes the purpose of setting green norms. “Green rating is becoming a proxy for green building regulations without an official system of monitoring of the green credential and actual resource savings. This will result in enormous inefficiencies and resource guzzling and thus negate the benefits of green rating,” said Anumita Roy Chowdhury, the executive director of CSE.

However, Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad have bested Kolkata, Noida and Bhubaneshwar in rating and managing their green-rated buildings, said the experts. They also said there is room for much improvement. Mumbai, on the other hand, does not have any green regulation in place to monitor or rate green buildings.

Municipal bodies in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad offer discount on the premium paid by builders and rebate on property tax paid by the owner of the green rated buildings.

The amount of incentives vary according to the number of stars provided under Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment (GRIHA) rating. Even one and two star rating gets some incentive. However, this approach has its limitations . “As there is no provision for penalty for underperforming, builders cannot be held accountable. After the final rating is awarded based on the one year audit there is no further requirement of periodic audits after the building becomes operational,” said Ms Roy Chowdhury.

She also said the green regulations practised in the state should be improved so that the green buildings actually serve to save energy and resources and those who fail to comply with the norms must be penalised. “Pune, Pimpri Chinchwad and other cities of the sate designing fiscal incentives should improve this system by linking it with the actual performance of buildings in terms of energy and resource savings. It should provide for penalty for underperformance and withdraw the fiscal incentive if found to be non-performing,” she added.