Jain (l) kicks off green congress.
Jain (l) kicks off green congress.

India now has 240 million sq ft of green buildings in place—up from just 20,000 sq ft in 2003. But the Indian Green Building Council has a “mission of achieving 1 sq ft of green building for every Indian by 2012,” said Prem C. Jain, the council’s chairman, which will come to more than 1 billion sq ft.

The council, a division of the Confederation of Indian Industry, sponsored the Green Building Congress 2008, which drew more than 2,000 industry professionals to Mumbai Sept. 25-27. Speakers commented that India can probably achieve even more than the 1-billion-sq-ft goal, which would come to between 10 and 15% of the country’s new construction at that time.


Speakers had different views about the advisability of incentives to spur green construction. Vikas S. Kasliwal, vice chairman and CEO of Shree Ram Urban Infrastructure Ltd., said that if the government encourages green building through reduction of property taxes, water charges or funds that give preferential rates of interest, “we can see the 1 billion sq ft become 7 billion.” Ajay Mather, director general of India’s Bureau of Energy Efficiency, countered, however, that India has “subsidies of all kinds and they never go away. If green building pays for itself, I don’t see why a subsidy is required.” What is needed he said, is “a push—a clear link to a goal.”

The congress also held a session on the IGBC’s new Green Homes Rating System. Bringing green methods, such as handling consumer wastes and conservation of resources, to homebuilding is crucial as India tries to allieviate its housing shortage of 24.7 million homes.