Maharashtra to promote green buildings

Pune Municipal Corporation offers 50 percent rebate on property tax to buyer of green home

geetanjali

Geetanjali Minhas | June 7, 2010




The government of Maharashtra now plans to give permission only to green projects and is also thinking of offering incentives to goad demand for them. At a time when water has become a scarcity for Mumbai city, green buildings help save water.

T C Benjamin, principal secretary, urban development department,  said, “We will be adding new parameters  while giving clearances and will be changing development control regulations.”

“We are also thinking of an incentive system in which buildings that comply with the norms get some sort of property tax or development charges rebate” added Benjamin.

According to the Indian Green Council, Mumbai has 103 certified green buildings, making it the largest number in any city in India. Out of these, 20 buildings are residential green buildings. Green buildings have grown at the rate of 41 percent over the past one year in India.

Costing 10 percent more than normal buildings, according to experts, this might be one of the reasons there aren’t many of them, especially in the city’s overvalued realty market.

The higher initial costs are offset by recurring savings in the form of lower utility bills. Recycled construction material and eco friendly glass makes homes cooler than conventional buildings and therefore consumes 25 to 30 percent less energy.

The Pune Municipal Corporation has incentivised construction of green buildings. It offers a 50 percent rebate on property tax to a buyer of a green home.

Green projects must harvest rain water, recycle water, use solar energy, be made of environment–friendly material and the construction should not greatly disturb the top soil.

One such building coming up in Powai, a posh suburb, is Raheja Vistas, a tower being made of fly ash blocks and earth dug up from its foundation. It is built in a manner that its flats will get more natural light and will require less air conditioning.

According to Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission, air conditioners guzzle nearly 40 percent of the city’s power consumption. The city has to buy costly energy from outside. Going green will alleviate some of its load on the system.

In green buildings, sewage treatment plants treat waste water and use it for non-potable uses while efficient plumbing and equipment, such as smaller flush tanks, cut down on usage. This helps save water and is useful at a time when the city is facing enormous water scarcity.

Chief minister Ashok Chavan has said that green buildings might also be given additional floor space index.

Understanding a green building:

·       The  structure is built with fly ash blocks and recycled minerals instead of bricks and stone aggregates manufactured at  stone pits

·       It uses translucent glass walls that let in natural light and block heat

·       The design is sensitive to the movement of the sun, cutting down exposure to heat.

·       It uses alternative energy sources like solar water heaters, energy efficient lights like fluorescent bulbs that consume a quarter of the energy consumed by     conventional bulbs.

·       It uses low volatile, organic compound paints, adhesives and sealents to cut down air contamination that is odorous and potentially harmful.

·       It has an inbuilt sewage treatment plant, which recycles used water for gardening and flushing.

·       It uses economic water dispensing equipment, such as flush tanks, taps and showers that help save water.

·       It has rainwater harvesting facility that traps rainwater and helps recharge groundwater.

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