GRIHA is an acronym for Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment. GRIHA is a Sanskrit word meaning – ‘Abode’. Human Habitats (buildings) interact with the environment in various ways. Throughout their life cycles, from construction to operation and then demolition, they consume resources in the form of energy, water, materials, etc. and emit wastes either directly in the form of municipal wastes or indirectly as emissions from electricity generation. GRIHA attempts to minimize a building’s resource consumption, waste generation, and overall ecological impact to within certain nationally acceptable limits / benchmarks.
Going by the old adage ‘what gets measured, gets managed’, GRIHA attempts to quantify aspects such as energy consumption, waste generation, renewable energy adoption, etc. so as to manage, control and reduce the same to the best possible extent.
GRIHA is a rating tool that helps people assesses the performance of their building against certain nationally acceptable benchmarks. It evaluates the environmental performance of a building holistically over its entire life cycle, thereby providing a definitive standard for what constitutes a ‘green building’. The rating system, based on accepted energy and environmental principles, will seek to strike a balance between the established practices and emerging concepts, both national and international.
Internationally, GRIHA has been recognized as:
- An innovative tool for sustainable development by the United Nations.
- A tool for implementing renewable energy in the building sector by ‘The Climate Reality project’- an organisation founded by Mr. Al Gore; and
- UNEP-SBCI has developed the “Common Carbon Metric” (kWhr/sq m/annum), for international building energy data collection -based on inputs from GRIHA (among others)
- GRIHA pre certification accepted by MoEF for fast track environment clearance.
- Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC), Maharashtra gives financial incentives to developers (upto 50% rebate in premium) and occupants of GRIHA compliant projects (property tax rebate).
- NOIDA Authority has notified FAR incentive for GRIHA 4 and 5 Star projects.
- Processing fee waiver from SBI for home loans.
- CPWD Plinth Area Rates have been revised as per GRIHA norms/benchmarks.
- CPWD Centre of Excellence on green buildings and GRIHA established at Ghaziabad.
- DDA, NBCC, BHEL have revised their tender documents to incorporate minimum 3 Star GRIHA compliance.
- PWD, Government of Assam and PWD Kerela have adopted GRIHA
- Cabinet of the Government of Delhi has adopted GRIHA
- Chandigarh Administration has adopted GRIHA
On a broader scale, this system, along with the activities and processes that lead up to it, will benefit the community at large with the improvement in the environment by reducing GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions, reducing energy consumption and the stress on natural resources.
Some of the benefits of a green design to a building owner, user, and the society as a whole are as follows:
- Reduced energy consumption without sacrificing the comfort levels
- Reduced destruction of natural areas, habitats, and biodiversity, and reduced soil loss from erosion etc.
- Reduced air and water pollution (with direct health benefits)
- Reduced water consumption
- Limited waste generation due to recycling and reuse
- Reduced pollution loads
- Increased user productivity
- Enhanced image and marketability
GRIHA compliance for a typical office building used for 8 hours results in 30% - 50% reduction in energy consumption compared to GRIHA benchmarks, 40 - 65 % reduction in building water consumption compared to GRIHA base case and implementation of good practices on site at no/negligible incremental cost.
It is envisaged that by the year 2015, the GRIHA footprint shall spread to 25 mn sq m registered built up area, which shall result in installation of approximately 18.5 MW of renewable energy, approximately 5000 kl of hot water generation through solar water heaters, full compliance with the Energy Conservation Building Code, energy savings approximately 40,000 million units (annually) and water savings to provide for 67,500 urban homes.