The Green Code for Buildings

 By: Nimisha Sinha
Green building is the exercise of enhancing the effectiveness along with which any of the buildings and their sites utilizes energy, water and materials, and decreasing building effects on the health of human body and the environment during the complete life cycle of the building. Green building concepts are not just confide till the building walls but have extended its arms to site planning, community and land use planning issues as well.

Human growth and development has a significant effect on the natural environment around. The factors that are responsible for the consumption of natural resources include manufacturing, design, construction and operation of the buildings in which we live and work.

There are some rating systems founded on prevailing national and international "building codes" like regular codes such as the Energy Conservation Building Code (ECBC) and the National Building Code. One of the rating systems is the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). This rating system was created by the United States Green Building Code (USGBC) and now conformed by the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC).

In India, the organization called TERI has built its own independent rating system called the Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment (GRIHA). This rating system has been supported by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Government of India.

All these rating systems assist in evaluating the green proportion of buildings with nationally/ internationally admissible standards. Normally there are ratings scales to decide whether the constructed building should be given a 5 star rating for saving the environment, or lesser such ratings.

The ECBC, as developed by the BEE under the Ministry of Power, facilitates in converting an air-conditioned building energy efficient. Although, it doesn't help out in categorizing a building as green as there are lot many factors involved other than power conservation which should be taken into account. Factors like water and waste management, renewable energy applications, low embodied energy materials usage also need to taken into consideration prior to name any building "green".

Environmental Advantages
- Enhance and protect biodiversity and ecosystems
- Enhance air and water quality
- Decreases waste streams
- Conserve and restore natural resources

Economic Advantages
- Reduce operating costs
- Improve occupant productivity
- Enhance asset value and profits
- Optimize life-cycle economic performance

Social Advantages
- Enhance occupant health and comfort
- Improve indoor air quality
- Minimize strain on local utility infrastructure
- Improve overall quality of life
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