Climate Change, Green Buildings and India

Posted on January 25, 2011 by

Climate change is a global threat and action must be taken at multiple locations across the globe to minimize the contribution to climate change. Action is required everywhere especially given the fact the communities that contribute the least are the most vulnerable to the impacts of the same. Also these communities are least equipped to take mitigation and adaptation measures.

Worldwide, buildings use 32 per cent of the world’s resources in construction. They are responsible for around 40 per cent of global energy use and generate up to 30 per cent of global GHG emissions. Given the rapid development especially in the developing world, building sector is going to be key source both in the creation and operation phase of the building. Taking this into consideration and the fact that efficiencies can be gained in this sector, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has stated that “no other sector has such a high potential for drastic emission reductions”, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has identified that buildings offer some of the most cost effective and expedient ways to reduce GHG emissions.

Green Buildings

The building sector has enormous untapped potential for emissions reduction and presents the least cost abatement opportunity. It is important to support energy efficiency and emission reduction programmes in the building sector by recognizing them as a Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action (NAMA) and reforming the Clean Development Mechanism to improve energy efficiency and reduce correlating GHG emissions at the lowest average CO2abatement cost relative to other sectors. Green buildings achieve this and also do more than deliver a smaller carbon footprint. Green Buildings can deliver rapid and cost-effective reductions to emissions and energy consumption – with a significant percentage realising positive returns to the global economy.

Scenario in India

The construction industry in India has been growing at an astounding rate of 10% per annum over the last ten years. As of August 2010, a total of 703 green building projects across the six climatic zones of the country covering over 438 million sqft are registered with India GBC, of which 112 green buildings have been certified.

In 2009, there was close to 200 million m2 of built office space. This number is expected to grow even further by over 70% by the year 2030 (890 million m2). If the Energy Conservation Building Code were to be fully implemented, the overall energy consumption from new commercial buildings could be reduced by 25-40%. Even in the existing commercial buildings, retrofitting to standards can reduce the energy consumption figure by around 25%.


  • A World Green Building Council Special Report, September 2010. The report is published by World Green Building Council for World Green Building Week, 20-26 September 2010
  • UNEP, 2007 Assessment of policy instruments for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from buildings
  • Construction Industry Development Council, India. India Country Report, 2005-06
  • Architectural Curriculum in India (2008) Background Paper (Draft). Available at: Architecture%20Curriculum%20Background%20Paper.pdf
  • Hong, W., Chiang, M., Shapiro, R., Clifford, M. (2007) Building Energy Efficiency: Why Green Buildings Are Key to Asia’s Future Asia Business Council, Hong Kong
  • Agenya’s analysis

Know more about Green buildings