What do RWAs need to do to go green?

The sustainable aspects of a residential housing society are addressed in the Indian Green Building Council Green Residential Societies rating system under the following modules: facility management, sustainable water practices, energy conservation, waste management and innovative practices.

Different levels of green building certification will be awarded to societies based on the total credits earned.

The various levels of rating awarded are: certified, silver, gold and platinum.

Projects can be registered on IGBC website (www.igbc.in) under IGBC Green Residential Society Rating System. Registration is the initial step which helps establish contact with IGBC and provides access to documents, templates, important communications and other necessary information.

The certification of projects will be carried out by IGBC team. The certification will comprise of two stages – assessment and building audit. It is important to note that the credits earned at the assessment stage are not awarded until the building audit, along with additional documents showing implementation, are done. If there are changes after the assessment, such changes need to be submitted during the final assessment.

Under facilities management, residential societies can get three points for installing ‘No smoking in common areas’ signages, four points for maintenance of facilities, two points for basic amenities, one point for green housing in common areas, one point for green education for occupants, six points for having minimised heat exposure, three points for covered external lighting fixtures, three points for design for the differently-abled and two points for providing facilities for the health and wellbeing of residents. To cite an example, if societies intend to earn credits for the no smoking initiative, they will have to submit a declaration letter from the resident’s association describing the no smoking policy, provide descriptive measures for non-smoking policy in the green guidelines document and display no smoking zone signage boards in all common areas in the project. This initiative will help societies reduce health hazards caused due to passive smoking, improve air quality thereby improving the health of the community as a whole. For this, a society will have to submit photographs of signage boards installed, green guidelines, declaration letter guidelines and evidence of having educated residents of the adverse effects due to smoking.

RWAs can adopt environment -friendly features such as water and waste management to earn points for green ratings (IGBC)

Under the sustainable water practices initiative, housing societies get 10 points for undertaking rain water harvesting initiatives, five points for landscape areas, four points for water sub metering, six points for water-efficient fixtures, three points for providing for an onsite STP and one point for automatic water level controllers.

On energy conservation measures undertaken, housing societies will get three points for using CFC-free appliances, four points for efficient lighting fixtures, seven points for using solar power for street and common area lighting, two points for energy metering and almost six points for using solar water heating systems. The intent behind using solar water heating systems is to encourage the use of alternative sources of energy for water heating applications and to minimise the environmental impact of using fossil fuels. For this the societies will be required to provide solar water heating (SWH) system to cater to hot water requirements for domestic usage (individual, common or a combination of both).

Under waste management, housing societies can get four points for waste segregation, five points for organic waste management and one point for e-waste management. These practices will facilitate segregation of waste at source to encourage reuse or recycling of materials, thereby avoiding waste being sent to land-fills. For this the housing societies are required to provide for at least two separate bins to collect dry waste and wet waste (organic waste) in each dwelling unit. They will also have to make a provision for a separate bin for medical waste in the common area, provide for centralised/common storage and hauling space for the waste collected. These measures will encourage the manufacturing industry to re-utilise waste materials. This will also help local municipal corporations generate power from waste. Documents required for these initiatives include photographs of bins for waste segregation at dwelling unit level and common areas.

The intent of e-waste management is also to encourage recycling / effective disposal of e-waste to prevent such hazardous waste being sent to landfills. For this, the society will have to identify and have a contract in place with a PCB listed hauler for collection and disposal of e-waste, at least once in three months from the society. To this end the society will be required to submit a copy of the contract and relevant photographs.

Under innovative practices, societies will be given three points for having installed water meters for dwelling units, one point for reusing treated waste water for landscaping, one point for fresh water treatment plant, two points for providing electric charging points for vehicles in common areas, two points for using LPG/CNG gas geysers for heating water, one point for installing daylight and motion sensors in common areas and three points for other innovative practices.

For getting points under the reuse of treated waste water to meet at least 50% of landscaping demand, the project may consider using the treated water from the adjoining projects or from the centralised STP in the same locality.

The housing project should also have a provision for electric charging points to cater to at least 2.5 % of the total parkings provided and use LPG/CNG gas geysers for water heating. It should also have installed day-light/motion sensors in common areas.