SUSTAINABLE HABITATS ARE COSTLY is a Myth: GRIHA CEO

Sunil Pradhan
Thursday, 25 October 2018

With the rising need to have sustainable houses to protect the environment, Sanjay Seth, CEO, GRIHA (Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment) Council discusses with Sunil Pradhan, the developments of green rating for habitats in India.

While sustainable homes are the need of the hour, how is GRIHA contributing to modifying Indian habitats?
While there are various ratings available in the market, GRIHA provides green ratings at the master plan stage of development of a project. We insist that the developers get their project approved on different parameters - at the initial stage, final stage as-well-as after the development of the project. We have also started rating the project on various social aspects like labour safety at site, health and hygiene facilities of labourers at the site and various others. We also provide ratings to small as-well-as large projects including affordable homes.

How is the eco-system developing when it comes to green habitats?
Across India, Maharashtra has been a great contributor. We are signing MoU with Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation and have extended the MoU with Pune Municipal Corporation. We are tying up with other state governments and also with the Public Works Department. We have designed a model in which we are training officials of the Public Works Department on green rating and so in the future, this officials can act as consultants of green rating. We are also holding our national conclave in December along with Bureau of Energy Efficiency, The Energy and Resources Institute, Ministry of Power and our theme will be ‘Fostering partnership for sustainable habitat.’ We are also in talks with various developers to spread the message of green habitat.

People are cost conscious when it comes to sustainable habitat and so how does the cost vary while adapting to sustainable habitat?
It is a myth that sustainable habitats are costly and we need to demystify this. We need to bring in the changes for sustainable habitats right from the master plan stage and it will definitely reduce the cost. Besides, when we calculate cost we need to check for an aggregate and long-term cost. We also need to calculate the environment benefits after developing sustainable habitats. The idea of bringing in the concept of sustainable habitat even for affordable housing was that people whose buying capacity is less should also get decent home wherein he has the facility of good ventilation and daylight so that he saves on electricity charges. We also need to sensitise people on the need for sustainable habitat.

While the developers are working on designs for sustainable habitats, what can be done on the use of material for sustainable habitats?
Yes, that is an area we need to work upon. We can check for debris of construction material whether it can be reused after checking for its strength. Similarly, we need to think of homes built on recycled materials.

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