A Quick Reference Guide for GRIHA

Green Buildings : The Challenge is to Achieve the benefits at an Affordable Cost.

Griha: Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment

   The usual notion that most of us carry is that constructing a green building is cumbersome and more expensive. Moreover green buildings are uglier, do not have the sophisticated looks of the houses of the 21st century. But these are all myths, the reality is a little bit of green thinking can help us live in harmony with nature. As a matter of fact, the green buildings with abundant splashes of green teach us to live in perfect harmony with nature and not against it.

   What are Green Buildings? Primarily green buildings are the ones which do not deplete the natural resources during their construction and maintenance. The green buildings are designed such that they use non-renewable resources to a minimum and even when they do, use the non-renewable energy resources with maximum efficiency. An energy efficient building would maximize the use of renewable energy resources, reuse and recycle whenever possible.

   What are Green Building rating Systems? Basically a rating system is designed to evaluate the greenness of a building, its impact on the environment during its lifetime. Usually, based on the parameters like the design, construction, operation, site selection, use of renewable energy resources, water consumption, recycling etc. Certain points are assigned to each parameter and the sum total of the points gives a star rating to the building . The building could be residential or commercial. Globally the building rating systems have primarily been voluntary and aim to increase awareness about living in harmony with nature and not against it. Globally some popular and successful rating systems are: BREEAM (Building Research Establishment’s Environmental Assessment Method developed in the UK in 1990s); CASBEE (Comprehensive Assessment System For building Environmental Efficiency developed in Japan in 2001); GBTool (developed by International Framework Committee for the Green Building Challenge used by more than 25 countries since 1998); LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design developed and piloted in the United States since 1998); HK-BEAM (The Hong Kong Building Environmental Assessment Method launched in 1996).

   Most of these international rating systems are suitable for the countries where they were developed. In India TERI (The Energy Research Institute ) developed GRIHA rating system suitable to India. The rating system applies to residential, commercial and institutional buildings and has been endorsed by the MNRE (Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, India in the year 2007). GRIHA is based on a 5 star rating system emphasizing on utilization of natural resources like sun light for optimum thermal and visual comforts. In its rating system, GRIHA encourages building designs that reduce consumption of non renewable energy sources and a building is assessed on its predicted performance over its entire life cycle through inception and operation.

The Griha Rating System

   The GRIHA rating system has an online evaluating tool. The first step is to register your project on the website: www.grihaindia.org The project should be preferably registered in the pre design phase or at the beginning of the project. Once the project is cleared by ADaRSH (the TERI Secretariat) the project owner pays a one time nonrefundable fees (upto 90% of this fees can be reimbursed by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy depending on the star rating your building gets).