Resilient buildings make a resilient world

Tanvi Kapoor
October 13, 2021

We spend most of our time in buildings. Whether it is at home or work, at the train or bus station, at the airport or port, at the mall or even at a local mom and pop store, we are always in or surrounded by buildings. With buildings so central to our lives, they have a profound impact on our overall health and wellbeing.

The LEED green building program provides a framework for healthy, highly efficient, and cost-saving green buildings in India and around the world. India has maintained a steady status as number four market in the world for LEED, representing the ever-growing domestic demand for LEED certification in India as a tool to both reduce emissions and support health and well-being.

What kind of buildings are suited for LEED?

LEED works for virtually all building types, and currently impacts every sector in the market in India.

Public sector buildings

Among many projects that adopted LEED during the pandemic, India witnessed the certification of Bharat Bhavan II, the headquarters of one of India’s ‘best-performing’ public-sector entities, Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL). BPCL upgraded the interiors of its global headquarters to reflect their corporate narrative with state-of-the-art facilities that are sustainable and green. The project necessitated the integration of services to ensure efficient maintenance and sustainable methodologies of design to achieve a LEED rating. From the inception of the project, BPCL set the right benchmarks in terms of energy and water resource optimization. The project is expected to save 35% on energy cost as compared to a Base Code Building and has targeted 30% water savings. Use of materials with recycled content have been promoted throughout the interior landscape.

Heritage buildings

Earlier this year, an iconic heritage building, Calcutta Electric Supply Corporation's CESC House, was awarded with LEED v4.1 O+M Platinum certification. With this honor, CESC House became the first heritage building in India to achieve LEED v4.1 Platinum. Built in 1933, RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group (RPSG) retrofitted the 80-year-old historic CESC House by replacing its full HVAC system. The company installed low-flow water management and building automation systems, adding an organic waste composter to reduce waste-to-landfill and installing 1,200 energy efficient lights and 52 occupancy sensors among other efficiency, conservation and waste reduction strategies. Thanks to the practical and measurable strategies and solutions that RPSG utilized to achieve high performance in sustainable water efficiency, energy efficiency, indoor environmental quality and waste management, CESC House was able to achieve LEED Platinum and have reported an annual reduction of 966 tons of CO2.

School buildings

Ela Green School in Chennai is the first K-12 school in the world to receive LEED v4.1 O+M: Interiors Platinum certification. The school has been planned and constructed to provide its students and teachers with a healthy and happy workspace with their safety and productivity being top in mind. Achieving Platinum certification under LEED v4.1 and also using the Arc performance platform to track the school’s energy, water, waste, transportation and occupant experience data in real-time is part of the school’s commitment to bettering the lives of its student and local community. And to ensure they are COVID-19 resilient, the school has also chosen to adopt Arc Re-Entry, which is helping them document and benchmark their infection-control policies and procedures, collect, and analyze student and employee experience and measure and track their indoor air quality

IT parks and campuses

HCL Technologies Limited campus in Nagpur and Prestige Startech in Bangalore are great examples of how IT Parks have ensured that they are sustainable and welcoming to their occupants. Prestige Startech achieved LEED Platinum certification under the BD+C CS 2009 rating system. And HCL Technologies is in a well-developed area with good access to public transportation and various basic amenities. The campus has provided secure bicycle parking space and shower rooms to encourage employees to use bicycle as a mode of transportation. HCL has also provided occupants with electric charging stations for alternative fuel vehicles. The campus has a landscaped area that is filled with native and adaptive species to reduce water consumption due to gardening activities. Additionally, the campus has also made provisions to treat 100% of the storm water runoff.

Pharmaceutical research center

GSK India Global Services Private Limited’s state of the art global capability center in Bangalore was awarded with LEED v4 Platinum. The sprawling 109,244 square feet office is green in every sense. Right from being centrally located to ensure connectivity to public transportation systems to reducing potable water usage by more than 44% from the calculated baseline design fixture performance requirements, GSK India is driving sustainability across its operations. The building is complete with provision of high-performance glazing, efficient HVAC design and air handling units in the base building. The company has also selected chlorofluorocarbon free and hydro chlorofluorocarbon free refrigerants to reduce global warming and ozone depletion.

Manufacturing units and special economic zones

Vaibhav Global’s manufacturing unit at the Special Economic Zone in Jaipur, Rajasthan, received LEED v4 O+M Platinum certification. The SEZ building is the only manufacturing unit in Rajasthan and one of only two across India that is certified as LEED v4 O+M Platinum. This building has a total area of 102,585 square feet. It has a 200 KW rooftop solar array as well as a 1.75 MW ground mounted solar plant, which together meet 100% of the building’s total energy consumption. Additionally, the building is equipped with energy efficient LED lights that further reduce its energy consumption. And dedicated HRW units ensure that only the purest air enters workspaces with precooling which decreases the overall electricity requirement.

In short, any and every building can achieve LEED certification. New buildings can incorporate LEED at the design stage. And with keen attention to building operations and maintenance, the efficiency and performance of older buildings can be turned around and drastically improved through implementing LEED O+M certification for existing buildings. As we move towards a brighter future, we will have to work together to ensure that both our new and existing buildings commit to reducing their carbon footprint by adopting sustainable and green practices – because resilient buildings make a resilient world.

To check out more projects in India and around the world that are advancing decarbonization and impacting our health and wellness, view our LEED Lookbook.