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he CII-Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Centre building is one of just three in the world to win the highly coveted Platinum Rating from the United States Green Building Council (USGBC), under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system. It is an inspiring story of courage, leadership and enterprise.
In a burdened, polluted world, green has become the colour of hope — enshrined in the Green Business Centre planned jointly by the Confederation of Indian Industry, the house of Godrej, the Government of Andhra Pradesh with the technical support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Appropriately named the CII-Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Centre, it was launched in March 2000 during the then U.S. President Bill Clinton’s visit to India, in the presence of N. Chandrababu Naidu, Chief Minister, Government of Andhra Pradesh, with Vidyadher Rao, Minister for Major Industries in the Government of Andhra Pradesh, performing the Bhoomi Pooja.
The concept is a lofty one — to make the world a better place to live in by providing world-class green services, promoting green concepts, leading to higher efficiency, equitable growth and sustainable development — in short, developing a Centre of Excellence in energy, environment, water, renewable energy and climate change activities in India. This concept has been concretised in the green building, which has come up at Madhapur village in Cyberabad. And, fittingly, the building has already received the highly coveted Platinum Rating by the USGBC under the LEED 2.0 rating system, becoming the first building in the world to obtain this rating under version 2.0 of the LEED rating system.
This rating was not easily achieved. The criteria are extremely strict — proper design, use of eco-friendly material, use of recyclable material, orientation of the building to utilise maximum natural lighting, the use of photovoltaic cells. In addition, the LEED criteria insist on procurement of material from sources that are within less than 500 km. radius from the site centre. This is because even if eco-friendly materials are used, transporting them over a long distance damages the environment. Again, a certain percentage of the building material has to be from recycled waste. Cement, for example, has to be made with fly-ash, which is a recycled product. More significantly, the CII-Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Centre has been designed from the very start with the Platinum Rating in mind even before the foundation stone was laid.
The Platinum Rating is achieved according to a rising scale of points. A LEED certified building has to gather 26 to 32 points. A LEED certified silver-level building has to achieve 33 to 38 points. A LEED certified gold-level building has to achieve 39 to 51 points and platinum-level as many as 52 points and more.
Tarun Das, Director-General, CII, and Jamshyd Godrej, Chairman and Managing Director, Godrej & Boyce Mfg. Co. Ltd. and Past President of CII, are the main driving forces behind this achievement.
Judging by the detailed schedule the Centre has set out for itself, it appears to be determined to live up to its proud rating. The Centre has enlarged the very meaning of “green” to cover the voluntary pursuit of any activity which encompasses concern for energy efficiency, the environment, water conservation, the use of recycled and recyclable products and renewable energy. In confirmation of this high purpose, the Centre plans services as listed below:
World-class Energy Efficiency: To facilitate industry to achieve the lowest Specific Energy Consumption levels in the world, by implementing world-class practices and technologies. Facilitation tools include energy audits, benchmarking with international norms and identification of ways and means to achieve the same.
Green Building Rating: The Centre will facilitate construction of “Green Buildings” and recognition through the LEED “Green Building” rating system of USGBC.
Green Audits: To focus on the root cause of inefficiency instead of focusing on mere treatment and compliance. This, in turn presents an opportunity for better utilisation of resources (raw materials, consumables, water, energy, etc.) at every stage of the manufacturing process.
Technology Centre: To act as a platform to showcase and demonstrate innovative ‘green’ products and technologies. The centre is open to business visitors from India and abroad, which will facilitate greater visibility and market access to the participants.
Information Centre: To provide access to the latest information and trends on ‘green concepts and technologies’.
Green Business Incubation Services: To
facilitate the handholding of entrepreneurs to develop green products and
technologies till they reach the stage of commercialisation.
A WEALTH OF GREEN
Facilities: Facility for charging electric automobiles and electric pool car facility for building occupants; site location close to bus and rail lines; open space in the site exceeds the local requirements by more than 25 per cent; and all paved parking and pathways are constructed with pervious materials.
Water Efficiency: Rain water harvesting; recycling of 100 per cent grey water; roof gardens covering over 60 per cent of roof area; and high efficiency drip irrigation.
Optimum Energy Efficiency: Air-conditioning systems designed in accordance with ASHRAE standards; solar path analysis and solar orientation to maximise north and south exposure and minimise east and west exposure; fenestration maximised on the north orientation to minimise heat gains from windows and to maximise day lighting; north-oriented glazing maximised; low-U glass glazings; lighting power densities reduced by 40 per cent using efficient lighting systems such as T-5 lamps, CFL, high-efficiency ballasts; daylight dimmer controls; water-cooled Scroll Chiller with COP of 4.23; efficient cooling tower; variable frequency drives all Air Handling Units; energy-efficient motors; state-of-the-art building management systems; and measurement and verification programmes to monitor energy and water savings.
Materials and Resources: Collection, storage and disposal of building waste like paper and plastics; recycling of construction waste material like shuttering timber, paint cans, cement bags, etc.; use of resources from other sites like structural steel (angle plate and hollow sections), doors, broken china mosaic pieces for flooring, GI pipe sleeves; use of fly-ash-based cement; use of fly-ash-based Aerocon blocks; and use of certified wood.
Indoor Environmental Quality: Declaration of the entire building as a “non-smoking” area; installation of carbon dioxide sensors to monitor indoor air quality; two-week building flush-out before occupancy; use of composite wood without urea formaldehyde; operable windows and lighting controls in perimeter occupied areas; and daylight and view for 90 per cent of regularly occupied areas.
CII’S ROLE IN ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT ACTIVITIES
The Centre offers advisory services in achieving world-class energy efficiency in Indian industry.
The Centre has conducted 395 detailed energy audits in various industrial sectors. The audited units have so far achieved an annual recurring saving of Rs. 895 million.
In recognition of its outstanding contribution towards energy management, CII’s EMC has been awarded the “National Best Energy Auditor” Award for the fifth consecutive year (2001–2002) by the Petroleum Conservation Research Association under the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Government of India.
A pioneer in promoting the concepts of Pollution Prevention and Environment Management in India, the Division provides training and facilitates implementation of ISO 14001.
So far, the EMD has helped 200 Indian corporates in achieving ISO 14001 certification. The total number of companies certified to ISO 14001 in India is 400.
The EMD has also conducted over 450 training and awareness programmes on different subjects such as ISO 14001, Occupational Health and Safety, Hazardous Waste Management, Environmental Impact Assessment, Contaminated Site Assessment and Remediation.
Pirojsha Godrej, consolidator of the Godrej enterprise, believed that real progress could only be achieved in a milieu of general advancement all around. He urged his son Sohrab, whose connections made various fora available to him, to drive home the population-environment nexus at every available opportunity. Sohrab did this with an almost religious fervour, unconscious of the irony of a bachelor promoting Family Planning, and in the process of stressing the nexus, he earned the sobriquets of “Mr. Environmentalist” and of “Mr. F.P. Godrej”.
Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, then President of the World Wildlife Fund — International, invited Sohrab to be founder-trustee of the World Wildlife Fund — India (now, World Wide Fund for Nature — India) whose central goal is the conservation of India’s biological diversity through the promotion of conservation awareness and a multi-pronged strategy stressing community-based approaches. He became Founder-Trustee of the Pirojsha Godrej National Conservation Centre, the Indian Headquarters of the World Wide Fund for Nature, and later its President. He retired as President Emeritus, passing on the Centre’s reins to nephew Jamshyd, who is now President of this premier conservation organisation.
Sohrab is believed to have become a member of the exclusive 1001: A Nature Trust. His interests were wide, ranging from management of the ecology at the Ganga Basin and the endangered species of tigers to the preservation of trees and noise pollution. The various bodies he came to be associated with bear witness to the variety of his interests — President of the Mangrove Society of India, founder-member of the Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History, member of the Maharashtra State Voluntary Advisory Board and of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Chairman of the Maharashtra State Animal Welfare Board, and so on.
In 1991 Sohrab was presented the WWF 25th Benefactor Award called the White Pelican by HRH Prince Philip,the Duke of Edinburgh, at Buckingham Palace, as well as the WWF posthumous award at Kathmandu in 2000. He was also presented the Indira Gandhi Paryavaran Award in 1991 by former Prime Minister, P.V. Narasimha Rao, and the Man of the Trees Award in 1996 by the Friends of Trees. These awards offered great encouragement but, in the final analysis, Sohrab believed that it is individual values that fuel social changes. Progress towards a sustainable development depends on the awareness, motivation and the sense of responsibility of each one of us to Mother Earth and to future generations. Had he been alive, he would have been delighted that it is precisely such values that have led the CII and his nephew Jamshyd to achieve Platinum Rating for their Green Business Centre and that the Centre bears his name.