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Editorial Consultants
E. J. Kalwachia and
A. C. Patankar

A. I. Bhuvaneshwar (East)
F. K. Khapoliwalla (West)
Dhruv Sharma (New Delhi)
Vinod Kumar (Chennai)

Nariman Bacha
S.R. Marolia

Contributing Editor
P. D. Muncherji

Copy Editor
Delshad Kumana

Assistant Editor
Rashna Ardesher

B. K. Karanjia

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The First Green Building

Having won The Economic Times Corporate Citizen Award for 2003-2004, Godrej along with the CII have gone on to win a greater, more prestigious and more permanent honour. This is the Platinum Rating given by the United States Green Business Centre to the CII-Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Centre as “the world’s greenest building”. The full story of this achievement appearing elsewhere in this issue is a story of considerable foresight, meticulous planning and a passion for perfection. It carries the tradition established by the Godrej founders a bold step further. It is a dream realised and an example set for other corporates.

It is therefore surprising — on second thoughts, not so surprising — to read in The Economic Times a news item headlined “Robert Redford poses a challenge to India’s green title”. Redford can hardly afford to “challenge” (which, according to the dictionary, means to object to or dispute) a rating given by America’s foremost coalition of leaders from across the building industry to promote buildings that are “environmentally responsible, profitable and healthy places to live and work” — a rating given, besides, on the basis of the strictest criteria imaginable on a rising scale of points reaching up to 50 points and more. It may be difficult for an American to accept the fact that, in this particular case, a country from the developing (so-called) Third World should have stolen a march over the world’s only superpower by achieving a record 57 rating in a total of 62 parameters. Challenging an award that is given and accepted, and widely announced, therefore seems rather ludicrous, like Don Quixote tilting at windmills.

It would, besides, be well for all concerned to remember, as architect Karan Grover who designed the Green Business Centre has pointed out in a recent article in The Indian Express, that this is not the first time for India, it is a part of Indian tradition, “we have been doing this since ancient times”. He quotes as examples the jaali work in the Taj Mahal, called the Venturi effect in modern buildings, to help pre-cool air, and the root zone water regeneration system to take care of all gardening needs that is common in our Mughal Gardens.

The news item further informs us that the Robert Redford building in Santa Monica, California, “made no secret of its desire to have it designated as the only Version II platinum structure in the U.S. to be the first in the U.S.” It is welcome to do so and, indeed, one of the basic objectives of the United States Green Business Centre is to facilitate the construction of as many green buildings as possible in the interests of conservation. Robert Redford may be “a passionate conservationist” and the Robert Redford Centre may well be the first to achieve Platinum Status in the U.S. But the CII-Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Centre remains the first outside the U.S.

B.K. Karanjia