The world is moving towards a greener, more eco-friendly way of living. It is therefore only natural that the space where people live and work also reflects this green evolution. The way we build has changed, and glass has made this transformation possible. For decades, architects and builders around the world have explored ways of designing the ‘nearly-Zero Energy’ building. Today, modern technology and innovative building materials has made that dream a reality. Builders are offering customers the opportunity to explore a life that’s smart, efficient, and above all, sustainable.
Green standards – IGBC and GRIHA
In India, ‘green buildings’ are rated as per two independent rating systems:
- The Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) rating system, derived from the Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) norms developed by the U.S. Green Building Council.
- The Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment (GRIHA), developed by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), rates buildings on a comprehensive scale of 34 criteria under various sections. In about a decade, India has emerged as a leading country in the adoption of Green Building norms
NBC and ECBC codes
Apart from the above, the Government of India is also enabling environmental conservation through its building codes. The National Building Code (NBC), developed by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), was introduced in 1970. After three amendments, it provides guidelines for regulating construction activities across the country today. For using glass in buildings, NBC has issued revised norms that are broadly classified under the sections:
- General requirement
- Determination of appropriate thickness
- Criteria of human impact safety
- Fire safety
- Energy & Thermal property
The Energy Conservation Building Code (ECBC), created by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) and introduced in 2007, offers three distinct compliance approaches: Prescriptive (Component-based): Each system and sub-system should comply with minimal performance requirements. Trade-off (System-based): Permitted only between building envelope components – roofs, walls, fenestration, overhangs, etc. Whole Building Performance: Evaluation is based on a computer model of the proposed design and comparing it to a standard design, with various factors taken into account.
Building green with glass
The extensive use of innovative glass products in today’s buildings has helped reduce the need for artificial lighting and thereby minimised energy consumption. Green buildings cost more to build but have substantially reduced operational costs, compared to conventional buildings. Various types of glazing solutions – internal as well as external – have made spaces more efficient while unlocking new possibilities in design and aesthetics.
Green solutions from Asahi India Glass Limited As India’s leading integrated glass company, AIS has been at the forefront of moving towards an ecofriendly future. It has pioneered innovations in glass processing technology to develop both single-glazed and double-glazed products with the best ‘green’ parameters. This is giving developers and their architects greater choice and the ability to explore possibilities. These solutions enhance the aesthetics, efficiency and economics of commercial and residential spaces, compared to traditional building materials.
The future is green
According to IGBC, of 2761 buildings registered with it in India, 516 are certified as green. By 2022, it aims to register 10 billion sq. ft. of green building projects. The idea of green buildings has now gained momentum, with greater use of green materials like glass. The environmental impact of increased construction activity has been on the agenda of Government entities and the Environment Ministry. Building code changes are in the pipeline. Construction houses are striving to obtain sustainability certifications, to ensure a better quality of life and to help conserve the environment. Living in harmony with nature is the surest way of ensuring a sustainable future for the planet. ‘Green buildings’ are helping us achieve that ideal.