A Graduate from L.S. Raheja School of Architecture, Namita's passion lies in design and writing. Her education in the field of architecture has her inquisitive on sensitive design practices and psychological factors that influence design. The psychology influencing design and its power to ameliorate the lives of the people and the impact on the planet, in general, is what drives her curiosity.

With the rising ecological consciousness, more and more real estate firms have been attempting to be sustainable. 

Did you know, the certification of a sustainable building comes with benefits? 

Designing sensitively to the ecological context can not only increase your savings in the long run but enable you to tax benefits as a part of the Government’s incentives as seen across states. They also entail higher real estate value. The common belief is that Green buildings are costlier than normal buildings- this may be true in the initial costs accrued i.e while the building is being made, it’s proven to increase savings-energy and monetary in the long run. Organisations such as LEED, Griha, BEE-TERI, IGBC  have been established to emphasise and encourage concepts of green building. 

Rounding up the top 10 most sustainable buildings in India  across various categories proving that sustainable design can and should be part of every day mandates 

1. Suzlon One Earth

Suzlon One Earth is an office building in Pune designed by Ar. Charles Christopher Benninger. Sprawled across 10 acres, One Earth is amongst the earliest LEED-rated buildings in India and stands first in the state of Maharashtra, obtaining a LEED- Platinum rating of 57 points in 2010 and a GRIHA Five Star rating with 96 points. One Earth is India’s first 100% energy campus. An on-site sewage treatment plant recycles 100% rainwater, and a 100% of greywater is recycled into air-cooling and landscaping systems attesting to One Earth’s water-efficiency. Smart solutions like Low-E glass for the buildings, low energy LED lighting, HVAC systems that filter and cool air before resupplying them to ACs to reduce the load on ACs etc., are features that optimize energy consumption, giving the building its ratings. 

2.CII – Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Center, Hyderabad

The Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Center – (CII) in Hyderabad is a commercial building designed by Ar. Karan Grover designed in 2004 with an area of 20,000 sq.ft

It was awarded a certification of LEED-Platinum for New Construction(NC) v 2.0 in 2003 is the first in both categories- India and outside the US. The buildings use passive design techniques to minimise the use of energy by orienting the structure towards the wind. The most striking feature of the building is the vegetated roofs.  They cover 55-60% of the building’s roof and the remaining is covered with solar photovoltaic having a 24kW capacity. The power generated by feeding it to the grid accounts to 20 % of the building’s total energy cost is met while insulating the building from heat.  The implementation of zero discharge design includes recycled water from the building is used for irrigation. To move warm air out through the top of the building has two windcatchers or wind towers. Local materials were used for construction. A pioneer, the Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Center paved the way for the growth of sustainable buildings in the country.

3. ITC Grand Chola

ITC Chola in Chennai received a LEED Platinum for New Construction category in 2012. Being the largest hotel to receive the award, it prides itself to be Carbon Positive, Water Positive and Waste Recycling Positive. Apart from the use of solar energy, sustainable building materials, there is an attempt to have Zero Discharge Into Sewers status- no waste-water will be discharged into sewers. Their use of sewage treatment plants, treat waste-water to almost potable quality water. The treated water is used for horticulture, cooling towers extending to the additional waste-water into the neighbouring golf course (The Madras Golf Course). Green roofs and external areas utilise stormwater catchment. Additionally, 100% of their electrical energy demands are powered by a self-owned wind farm carrying capacity of 12.6MWKundadam, near Coimbatore, the excess of which is contributed to the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board.

4. Infosys

Infosys Campus is known to be one of the most eco-friendly campuses in the world. The 450-acre campus at Pocharam has the largest building area in the office space category to be awarded a LEED India Platinum rating under Green power from the IGBC. The campus is the recipient of the second-highest number of LEED Platinum awards for a corporate. It is the first in the country to adopt the ‘Radiant Cooling’ technology. A lake is used for rainwater harvesting and a biogas plant for Waste Treatment. The Solar Powered Campus initiative meets 30% of the energy requirement by use of renewable energy.  It is powered by A 400KW solar plant that generates 7 lakh units per annum, reducing dependence on the grid. The initiative was pursued to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 9200 tons. 

5. Indira Paryavaran Bhawan

Located in Jor Bagh, New Delhi, Indira Paryavaran Bhawan is the new office building for Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF). It has been given a platinum rating by LEED under New Construction and a 5-star rating by The Energy and Research Institute’s GRIHA (Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment). The eight-storey building uses 70% less energy compared to a conventional building. Using a geothermal heat exchange system, it reduces the power required to run air conditioners. Apart from conservation methods to reduce energy load, Indira Paryavaran Bhawan also meets the remaining energy by producing energy from on-site high-efficiency solar panels having a capacity of 930kW to achieve net-zero criteria. The building has won awards such as the Adarsh/GRIHA of MNRE for demonstrating exemplary Integration of Renewable Energy Technologies.

6. Godrej Plant 13 Annexe

Built-in 2008, Godrej Plant 13 Annexe is a 24,443 sq. metre office-cum-convention centre in Mumbai designed by Rumy Shroff and Associates Architects. This is the first project in the country to be awarded the ‘Net Zero Energy Rating’ by the IGBC Rating system attaining 77 points. This rating suggests that the building is fully self-sustainable. It is powered entirely by an onsite and offsite renewable energy system. The building meets 8% of its energy demand through its Solar rooftop panels.  The building has won the following titles through its continuous measurement and control IGBC-EB Platinum Rating’ under the ‘Existing Building’ certification and the ‘BEE 5-Star Rating’ which further certifies the building to a ‘Minimum Energy Performance’. Apart from these, other green features include design, efficient HVAC systems, organic composting, rainwater harvesting and reuse and treatment for wastewater.

7. CISCO

The Cisco Smart Campus, Bangalore five LEED-Platinum certified buildings on campus spread across 2.18 million sq. ft of built-up area completed in July 2012. It scored a total of 96 from a possible 110 points. The total building’s energy consumption is being offset by green power investments amounts to over 70,00,000 kWh of green power per annum. The daylight responsive controls of all regularly occupied spaces within a radius of 15 feet of windows. To encourage cycling, provision is made for bicycle parking and shower facilities. on-site generated construction waste diverted more than 80% of the from landfill.  7.7% of the project’s material cost accounts for renewable materials. The construction process used about 21% of materials manufactured by recycling materials. Provisions are made to encourage bicycle and Shower facilities for staff, including 53% of the base building on-site parking is located underground or undercover.

8.Rajiv Gandhi International Airport 

The Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA), Hyderabad built-in 2013 is the first Asian airport to receive a LEED Silver rating for New Construction. Extended over sq.ft the airport has numerous sustainable features. Amongst these 3.97 kWh of energy savings was achieved in the last four years. It has received “Certificate of Merit in Nation Energy Conservation Award. A Sewage Treatment plant on-site treats wastewater and it is then reused for flushing and plantation. About 1.729million cubic metre per annum is the rainwater net recharge. The food waste generated from the airport is converted as compost used instead of Chemical Fertilizer. Further wastes such as paper, plastic waste, oil are sent to recyclers for reprocessing. 

9. Action for Social Advancement (ASA) Head Office / Biome Environmental Solutions

Action for Social Advancement is a 10500 sq.ft office building in Bhopal. It was built in the year 2019 by the Biome Environmental Solution. The sustainable features of this building include deep overhangs and courtyards that reduce heat gain. This reduces the dependency on external cooling agents. The bricks are made by local black cotton soil mixed with fly ash, cement and lime. Insulation for the roof was done using local brickbat Coba for waterproofing course. The energy produced by 20kVA solar PV system is installed on the rooftop. The use of rainwater harvesting provides water for four months of the year.

Further to avoid flooding, the building was raised up by a floor. The area below was converted into a wetland and stepped well. This allowed for replenishing the shallow aquifer designed on-site. 

10. Infinity, Kolkata

Infinity Benchmark in Kolkata, a 20 storey covering an area 560,000 Square Feet became the city’s first platinum-rated building designed by the firm Agrawal and Agrawal Architects.

Choice of building materials, use of polyurethane foam coating under the roof, and an energy-efficient design helped in effectively insulating from heat gain. Double glazing reduced 75% of incoming heat. About 20% of recycled materials were used in the process of building along with another 20% locally sourced.  A rainwater harvesting system along with a water treatment system minimises reliance on external water sources. Wastewater is treated and recycled for irrigation and cooling purposes. A pioneering move to promote environmentally systems was the induction of charging points for electric cars