The demand to withdraw fiscal incentives to green buildings if they fail to save on energy became louder on Friday with experts extending voice to it.
Architects, experts and planners, who participated in the regional dialogue organised by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) in the city on Friday, agreed that civic bodies and state agencies can not shrug their responsibilities by just giving incentives to green buildings. They claimed their performance should be monitored.
The CSE expressed concern over the state governments and local bodies offering sops in the form of extra and free built-up area and fiscal incentives to push developers to opt for green rating of buildings. There is no independent, transparent and accountable system for monitoring the actual energy savings and environmental performance of the green-rated buildings.
“CSE review had earlier exposed how several buildings in India are underperforming after being rated green,” said Anumita Roy Chowdhury, executive director, CSE.
The CSE observed the process was slightly different in Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad. Instead of extra built-up area, these cities are offering fiscal incentives. Experts said this was a better practice as financial incentives could be withdrawn and not the extra built-up area.
“Mumbai has an even better approach. Instead of incentives, it is working on green code for all buildings. While the Maharashtra system can be further improved by linking it with the actual performance of buildings in terms of energy and resource savings, other state governments need to take cue from this system,” said Roy Chowdhury.
Both Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad municipal corporations offer discount on premium paid by the builders to the municipality and rebate on property tax paid by the owner of the green buildings. The quantum of incentive is variable according to the number of stars under the Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment (GRIHA). Even one and two star ratings get some incentive.
In this system, there is no provision for penalty for underperformance. Moreover, after the final rating is awarded based on the one-year audit, there is no further requirement of periodic audit once the building becomes operational. GRIHA requires renewal of rating every five years.
Aditya Chunekar of Prayas Energy Group said, “We need to talk more about energy efficiency. There is a lack of awareness and trust.” He added that energy efficient household appliances will help achieve the target of making the idea of green buildings workable.
“One has to look for smart solutions for waste management. Biogas, waste biomass to charcoal, biochor urinals are some of the models that are the need of the hour,” said Ravindra Deshmukh of Samuchit Enviro Tech Private Limited.