...climate experts, but they do realize how buildings can contribute toward recycling and energy efficiency.  He says the green-building movement is taking off in India, boosted by the federal government.

Raghavendran says green building is being bolstered by the federal government.
Raghavendran says green building is being bolstered by the federal government.

The power ministry, for instance, has a bureau of energy efficiency that gives firms a star rating. “It is coherent, too,” he says. “The building needs to have existed for one year, at least, to prove its performance and standards.”

India’s green-buildings footprint has grown from 100,000 sq ft in 2001 to over 300 million sq ft today, says Vidur Bhardwaj, director of New Delhi-based Three C Universal Developers Pvt. Ltd. He also is chairman of the Delhi chapter of the Indian Green Building Council and adviser to the Hong Kong Development Group on “Sustainable Architecture in Urban Cities.” Bhardwaj says green is comparatively new to India but has taken off. “Clients are not driven necessarily by some tearing sense of humanity or charity...but it simply makes good business sense to them,” he says. He claims it is easy to influence clients in making choices with carbon implications by showing them “in black-and-white how they will recover costs in three to four years.”

Clients are beginning to adopt green principles, agrees Raghavendran. “Software firms have become very power- intensive because of their sheer scale and power-hungry servers. That is why they are at the forefront of the green movement today,” says Raghavendran, whose firm is working on more than 10 green projects, including IT campuses.

China, along with the U.S., tops the list of countries emitting greenhouse gases. The government acknowledges the problem, and building professionals say they are beginning to see changes in the way many developers view the issue.

“In my experience, government clients are more receptive and are keen to incorporate sustainability within projects if the price does not become too high,” says Alessandro Bisagni, who runs BEE Inc., a small sustainability consulting and procurement company based in Shanghai. “There is a lot of public buzz around this as well, and while some local officials don’t really understand very well what climate change is, they know it is something the federal officials are talking about, so they are interested in learning about it.”