Renewable energy usage, energy saving possibilities and an obligation to be environmentally benign, has been associated with the commercial and industrial sector for a long time now. The domestic / residential sector, which has stayed away from such commitments, has now slowly started looking towards renewable energy sources for their energy needs and has started to understand the need for energy conservation.
The green building concept has been warmly greeted by the residential sector in India (at least in tier 1 and tier 2 cities). Passive solar building designs, solar water heating, mini and micro generation possibilities etc. have brought energy conservation at closer reach to the Indian domestic sector. Tier 1 cities such as Bangalore and Mumbai have been supporting energy conservation at residential level with incentives and hopefully other metropolitan cities would also encourage the same. While government has supported the green building concept by offering extra floor space index, subsidized electricity tariffs etc., the banking sector is also lending support by offering interest discounts on loans to borrowers for green buildings.
Recently, Association for Development and Research on Sustainable Habitats (ADaRSH) and Confedration of Real Estate Developers Association of India (CREDAI) singned an MoU to facilitate the promotion of GRIHA (Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment) rating system as the reference standard for determining incentives and promoting green buildings in India. A municipal corporation in Pune, Maharashtra has shown their support by announcing mandatory compliance of all future projects with GRIHA and one can anticipate that other municipal corporations from the tier 1 and tier 2 cities would also show interest in this regard.
Roof top solar, one of the vital components of green building, hasn’t gained any sort of momentum or interest in India, because of the prohibitively high cost of solar PV and lack of government support for residential roof tops. The situation however, is set to change with solar cost falling consistently and government showing interest towards promoting roof top solar. Recently, MNRE inaugurated a national consultation on net metering for grid-tied PV projects, where officials from central ministries, secretaries of state regulatory commissions and officials from state power departments and distribution companies came together to prepare an action plan with practical solutions for the introduction of net metering.
Green buildings and residential roof top solar PV has remained to be a small market in urban India. However, a right combination of policy support, consumer awareness and attractive business model will have a synergistic effect on these industries. For this to happen, barriers need to be addressed both by government and by businesses seeking to expand into these sectors. Consumer / end user education is the most critical factor that can favorably influence the growth of green building concept in the Indian cities as strong local involvement and a sense of ownership can develop a thriving market for green buildings and roof top solar.
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