‘Green’ Building Rating Systems in India

‘Green’ Building Rating Systems in India

‘Green’ Building Rating Systems in India

In India, the Green Building Code is a mix of many of codes and standards contained in the by-laws of the National Building Code, the Energy Conservation Building Code (ECBC) and in the norms set by the ratings programs, such as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design-India (LEED-India), the standards and guidelines put down for the residential sector by the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC), TERI-GRIHA and other such certifications as well as Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE). Basic and general guidelines for efficient energy usage in the National Building Code (NBC) do exist, but they are merely guidelines.

A green building is one, which uses less water, optimizes energy efficiency, conserves natural resources, generates less waste and provides healthier spaces for occupants, as compared to a conventional building. It is also known as a sustainable or high performance ‘building. Their performance is based on certain sustainability criteria, which are combined to assess the design effect. These criteria, in general, focus on sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, material and resources, indoor environmental quality.

Promoting Renewable Energy

The green rating systems through their guidelines are also quite extensively, promoting energy efficiency by using renewable energy.

The prominent green building rating systems:

  1. LEED-India/ IGBC

In 2001, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) launched the Green Building Movement. They formed the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) which is actively involved in promoting the Green Building concept in India. Their vision is, to


 enable a sustainable built environment for all and facilitate India to be one of the global leaders in the sustainable built environment by 2025. The Green Building movement in India started gaining momentum since 2003, when the CII-Godrej GBC building in Hyderabad became India’s first LEED certified building with a platinum rating.

IGBC adopted the LEED for India as an Indian partner of U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). It provides a channel for Indian projects to be registered under the LEED scheme. The IGBC building rating system is quite similar to the USGBC system, however it has been adjusted accordingly to suit Indian conditions. The field of green design is always evolving and increasing. Innovative designs are demonstrating their usefulness as new technology and goods enter the market. Thus, the Rating System and Reference Guide are always evolving.  LEED-certified buildings emit 34% less CO2 and use 25% less energy than non-certified structures. Water-efficiency efforts in green buildings are predicted to reduce water consumption by 15% and save more than 10% in operating costs. The Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) has also released a number of other products for grading various types of buildings (e.g., homes, factories, schools, hotels, townships, etc.).

The different levels of IGBC ratings are:

Certified Level



Good Practices


Best Practices


Outstanding Performance


National Excellence

Super Platinum

Global Leadership


IGBC encourages the use of on-site and off-site renewable technologies, to minimise the environmental impacts associated with the use of fossil fuel energy, by awarding points based on the percentage of On-site or Off-site Renewable Energy Generated to the Total Annual Energy Consumption respectively. 

  1. GRIHA

GRIHA or Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment, is the national rating system of India for any completed construction. It has been developed by TERI (The Energy and Resources Institute) and is endorsed by the MNRE (Ministry of New and Renewable Energy). It is a tool for assessing and rating a building's environmental performance. GRIHA is a point-based rating system that consists of 34 criteria categorized under various sections such as site selection and planning, conservation and efficient utilization of resources, building operation and maintenance, innovation etc. It contributes to environmental improvement by reducing GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions, energy consumption, and natural resource stress, as well as pollution and waste generation.

GRIHA encourages Renewable Energy Utilization in buildings to reduce the use of conventional/fossil-fuel-based energy resources.


Maximum Points Awarded

Renewable energy utilization


Renewable-energy-based hot water system



  1. ECBC

Bureau of Energy Efficiency had launched Energy Conservation Building Code (ECBC) 2007 to establish minimum energy performance standards for buildings in India. Buildings consume significant proportion of our energy resources and the ECBC is an essential regulatory tool to curb their energy footprint. Building energy codes are updated regularly to catch up with the curve of technology maturation and to set higher benchmarks for building energy efficiency. The purpose of the Energy Conservation Building Code (Code) is to provide minimum requirements for the energy-efficient design and construction of buildings.

The code is set for energy efficiency standards for design and construction with any building of minimum conditioned area of 1000 Sq. mts and a connected demand of power of 500 KW or 600 KVA. The energy performance index of the code is set from 90 kW-h/sqm/year to 200 kW-h/sqm/year. Any buildings that fall under the index can be termed as "ECBC Compliant Building".

The code has stated mandatory requirements for the use of Electrical and Renewable Energy Systems. According to the code, all buildings shall have provisions for installation of renewable energy systems in the future on rooftops or the site.

Similarly, a Renewable Energy Generating Zone (REGZ) is defined as:

(a) A dedicated REGZ equivalent to at least 25 % of roof area or area required for generation of energy equivalent to 1% of total peak demand or connected load of the building, whichever is less, shall be provided in all buildings.

(b) The REGZ shall be free of any obstructions within its boundaries and from shadows cast by objects adjacent to the zone

Minimum Solar Zone Area/Renewable Energy Generating Zone Requirement for ECBC certified building is:

Building Type

Minimum Electricity to be Generated in REGZ

All building types except below

Minimum 2% of total electrical load

Star Hotel > 20,000 m²

Minimum 3% of total electricity load

Resort > 12,500 m2

Minimum 3% of total electricity load

University > 20,000 m²

Minimum 3% of total electricity load

Business >20,000 m²

Minimum 3% of total electricity load

As per Nikhil Samundre, Founder of Solar Marts, there are various environmental, economic and social benefits of green buildings. Green Buildings have a positive impact on the environment (at the building or city scales) by generating their own energy or increasing biodiversity. Other benefits are lower construction costs and higher property value for building developers; increased occupancy rates or operating costs for building owners; and job creation

Addition of solar technology and energy efficient appliances play a vital role in reducing carbon emissions and making buildings more energy efficient



Nupur Shah,

Renewable Energy Consultant,

Sustain Bhoomi







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