“Building Green will satisfy many of Goa’s needs and protect the ecosystem”

Bharat Kamat, Chairman of the India Green Building Council (Goa Chapter) speaks about green building in Goa and its potential in satisfying the sensitivities of the local population.

 

Bharat Kamat, Chairman of the India Green Building Council (Goa Chapter)
Bharat Kamat, Chairman of the India Green Building Council (Goa Chapter)

When did the IGBC Goa Chapter begin?

Indian Green Building Council (Goa Chapter) was launched in March 2011. Amar Britto of Acron Group was the Founding Chairman, and I served as Co-chair. I took over as Chairman of IGBC (Goa Chapter) in December 2016.

What is the Mission of the local Chapters of the IGBC?

Local Chapters are the voice of Green Building movement and IGBC; and chapter leaders and members are the heart of IGBC’s grassroots efforts. The IGBC local Chapter network opens doors for members to promote sustainable buildings, advocate for environment-friendly policies, and build networks of allies where it matters most – in the local community.  The local chapter interacts with the local Government to promote and bring in awareness on Green Buildings.

The IGBC (Goa Chapter) is also involved with educational institutions and we have three IGBC student chapters in Goa namely Goa Engineering College –  Farmagudi, Don Bosco College of Engineering and NICMAR Goa. Through these colleges, we conduct workshops and guest lectures on Green Buildings and environmental issues. The local chapter also promotes IGBC training programmes and Accredited Professional (IGBC AP) Examination.

What are some of the programmes and initiatives that the IGBC (Goa Chapter) has taken up over the last year?

During the past year, we have carried out a number of training programs. The Advanced Training program on Green Buildings was well attended. We also conducted the IGBC Green Schools Awareness Programme to create awareness among the school faculty on green initiatives for schools. A Training Programme on Carbon Footprint Assessment and Management was also conducted. We also conducted a number of training programs in the student chapters, and placement drive was also held. Membership drive was also conducted to increase the membership of the chapter.

How does the IGBC plan an active role in spreading awareness about green construction/architecture across different target groups, whether corporate, industry sectors, or schools?

There is a misconception in the construction industry that Green Buildings are more expensive to build. But through data collected over time, we have been able to convince the construction industry that costs are almost the same and that it is prudent to build green. In fact, when you build Green, costs of operation and maintenance of the building is much lower. The most tangible benefits are the reduction in water and energy consumption. The energy savings could range from 20% to 30 % and water savings around 30% to 50%. The intangible benefits of Green new buildings include enhanced air quality, excellent day lighting, health and well-being of the occupants, safety benefits, and conservation of scarce national resources.

What are some of IGBC’s biggest achievements?

From a modest beginning of 20,000 sq.ft Green built-up area in the country in the year 2003, to today (as on 23 January 2017) more than 3,947 Green Buildings projects are coming up with a footprint of over 4.48 billion sq.ft are registered with the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC), out of which 960 Green Building projects are certified and fully functional in India.

India today, ranks at No. 2 in the world with the largest Green building foot print and is well poised to add significant value to the Global Green Building Movement.

The IGBC recently had a Green School Awareness Programme. Could you highlight some of its objectives?

India would be one of the leading nations with a young population of 765 million, by 2030. This population covers almost half the population of the country as on today. Children spend almost 30% of their time in schools. Therefore, developing a healthy school environment is going to be a priority for parents, teachers and school managements. Access to dust-free environment, good sanitation, natural lighting and ventilation, hygiene and general awareness on the principles of protecting our nature would go a long way in preparing young children for a future that would be bright, challenging and prosperous. It would even impact the way children would think and incorporate them in their daily lifestyle. The overarching objective of the programme is to instill a sense of ‘eco-sensitivity’ among children.

What were some of the benefits this programme drew for the schools and its participants?

Besides the healthy school environment that a green building creates, many schools want to incorporate environmental and sustainable infrastructure so that they could walk the talk in their curriculum. Demonstrating by example is the best way a school could go forward in education. Live examples of interventions in schools would mean change in the formative years of the young minds, giving us a full outreach to the future adults.

How has the response been in Goa? Are developers actively adopting for an IGBC rating?

A majority of the developers have a favourable opinion about green buildings. Developers ranked energy efficiency, indoor environment quality and water conservation as most important aspect of Green Buildings. Environmental aspects were the most influential reason for adopting Green Building. Developers reported the lack of technical knowledge of the project team as the barrier in implementing Green Building design and construction.

Through the IGBC, we are increasing the flow of information about Green Buildings by carrying out information/ training programmes to the developer community and are convinced that this drive will be fruitful.

What are some of IGBC Goa Chapter’s future projects and upcoming initiatives?

This year, IGBC’s thrust in Goa will be to increase the number of developers going Green, through increased training programs and individual knowledge dissemination meetings with developers so that the number of registered projects goes up.

There will be an increased interaction among the student community. Students will be trained so that they can answer the IGBC AP exam. We plan to conduct a two-day Green building conference with an exhibition of Green products to further the knowledge of Green buildings and the Green products.

As Director of Kamat Infra Tech Pvt Ltd, how have you managed to draw parallels with the IGBC Goa Chapter?

At Kamat Infratech Pvt Ltd, we are committed to sustainable construction and motivate our clients to apply green concepts to their developments. We guide them in getting their structure certified with the IGBC or TERI. I am also a certified TERI Green building trainer.

My Co-Director at KITE, Dr. Jennifer Lewis, has been instrumental in many environmental awareness projects such as the B-cube project, NoMoZo, Baina beach cleaning, Mormugao Fort cleaning, Green Heritage, Green I competition for schools, etc. We are working with our clients to build Green and also to develop their image as environmentally conscious developers.

What potential does IGBC see for Green Construction in Goa?

Building Green will satisfy many of Goa’s needs including enhancing and protecting biodiversity and ecosystems, improving air and water quality, reducing waste output, conserving and restoring natural resources, etc.

Goa and Goans are very environmentally conscious, and building green will go a long way in satisfying the sensitivities of the local population.

As told to ALEXIA FERNANDES

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