At least 10 new green buildings will come up within the jurisdiction of Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) in the near future. West Bengal is the first state in the country where a builder intending to set up a green building gets an additional 10 per cent floor area ratio (FAR). The green building that has come up on Gokhale Road in south Kolkata has been accorded Platinum rating by the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC). The second one coming up near Kankurgachi has been awarded Gold rating by IGBC.
In green buildings, steps have been taken to make the structure energy efficient and solar panels are installed to reduce energy consumption. Such buildings have provisions for rain water harvesting and waste water recycling. It may be mentioned that Santha Sheela Nair, a former commissioner of the Chennai Municipal Corporation, had made rainwater harvesting mandatory for new buildings in the city in the early 2000’s. No new building was issued occupancy certificate unless it had provisions for rain water harvesting.
The rainwater thus collected was used for cleaning, washing, sweeping and flushing. LED lamps are also used in such buildings to conserve energy. During the Left Front regime, the then Housing Minister Gautam Deb had refused to introduce rainwater harvesting in West Bengal, saying that the state receives enough rainfall and there was no need for it. Many environmentalists had failed to make him understand that the groundwater level in vast areas in the state, including Kolkata, was fast receding and rainwater harvesting could help replenish ground water.
Senior KMC officials said the tendency to set up green buildings had increased among many builders. They believed that with passage of time, more and more promoters would show interest in setting up green buildings and with awareness among the buyers growing, the demand for such buildings will also increase.