IGBC Green New Buildings Rating System Guide


The Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) is a leading organization in India dedicated to promoting sustainable and green building practices. Established in 2001, it is part of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and operates under the guidance of the World Green Building Council (WGBC).

The primary objective of the Indian Green Building Council is to drive the transformation of the built environment in India towards a more sustainable and environmentally friendly future. It aims to achieve this by encouraging the adoption of green building practices, technologies, and standards across the country.

IGBC offers a wide range of green building certification programs and rating systems that serve as benchmarks for sustainable construction. These include:

  1. Indian Green Building Council’s Green Building Rating System (IGBC GBCS): This rating system is designed to evaluate the environmental performance of buildings based on various criteria such as energy efficiency, water conservation, site selection, indoor environmental quality, and use of renewable energy sources.
  2. IGBC Green Homes: This rating system is specifically tailored for residential buildings and assesses their sustainability in terms of design, construction, and operation. It encourages the use of eco-friendly materials, efficient energy and water management, and waste reduction.
  3. IGBC Green Cities: This rating system aims to transform cities into sustainable and vibrant habitats by focusing on aspects such as urban planning, infrastructure, energy efficiency, waste management, and social inclusiveness. It provides guidelines and best practices for city-level sustainability.
  4. IGBC Green Schools: This rating system focuses on promoting green practices in educational institutions. It emphasizes sustainable site planning, resource conservation, indoor air quality, and environmental education.

The Indian Green Building Council also conducts training programs, workshops, and awareness campaigns to educate professionals, students, and the general public about the benefits of green building practices. It facilitates knowledge sharing, research, and development in the field of sustainable construction through conferences, seminars, and publications.

By encouraging the adoption of green building practices, the Indian Green Building Council aims to address the environmental challenges posed by rapid urbanization and the construction sector’s impact on climate change. It strives to create a sustainable built environment that conserves natural resources, reduces carbon emissions, enhances occupant comfort, and promotes overall well-being.

The Indian Green Building Council has played a crucial role in transforming the construction industry in India. Its initiatives have resulted in the proliferation of green buildings across the country and have created a network of professionals, architects, engineers, and developers committed to sustainability.

Through its efforts, the Indian Green Building Council continues to contribute significantly to India’s sustainable development goals and the global movement towards a greener future.

Table of Contents

Primary Objectives in the IGBC Rating System

Sustainable Architectural Design

Sustainable architectural design, also known as green architecture or eco-friendly design, focuses on creating buildings and structures that minimize their environmental impact while promoting energy efficiency, resource conservation, and the well-being of occupants. It is a holistic approach that considers the entire life cycle of a building, from design and construction to operation and eventual demolition or reuse.

Sustainable architecture, as mentioned earlier, encompasses a broad range of design principles and strategies aimed at minimizing the environmental impact of buildings throughout their life cycle. It takes into account energy efficiency, water conservation, material selection, waste reduction, community integration, and more. Sustainable architecture considers the overall ecological footprint of a building, including its construction, operation, and eventual disposal. It emphasizes the use of renewable energy sources, environmentally friendly materials, and the promotion of healthy and resilient communities.

Sustainable architecture overlaps with passive architecture sharing similar goals but approaching them from different angles. Passive architecture, also known as passive design or passive solar design, is an approach to architectural design that harnesses natural elements to create comfortable and energy-efficient buildings. It takes advantage of the local climate, site conditions, and natural resources to passively regulate temperature, lighting, and ventilation, reducing the reliance on mechanical systems. The goal of passive architecture is to create buildings that are comfortable, environmentally friendly, and energy-efficient.

Natural Vegetation

Natural vegetation plays a significant role in architecture by contributing to the overall design, function, and sustainability of buildings and landscapes. Here are some ways in which natural vegetation influences architecture:

Aesthetics and Visual Appeal:

Incorporating natural vegetation into architecture enhances the visual appeal of buildings and landscapes. Trees, shrubs, flowers, and other plants can soften the built environment, adding colour, texture, and beauty to the surroundings. Well-designed landscaping with a variety of plant species can create a harmonious and inviting atmosphere, improving the overall aesthetic experience of a building.

Environmental and Ecological Benefits:

Natural vegetation plays a crucial role in mitigating the environmental impact of buildings. Trees and plants help absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen, contributing to improved air quality. They also act as natural filters, reducing air pollution and noise levels. Vegetation helps to mitigate the urban heat island effect, lower temperatures, and create cooler microclimates through shading and evapotranspiration. Furthermore, plants provide a habitat for birds, insects, and other wildlife, promoting biodiversity in urban areas.

Thermal Comfort and Energy Efficiency:

Vegetation can significantly impact thermal comfort and energy efficiency in buildings. Trees and plants provide a natural shade, reducing solar heat gain and cooling the surrounding air. This can help to lower the demand for mechanical cooling systems, thus saving energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Properly placed vegetation can also act as windbreaks, reducing heat loss during colder seasons and improving energy efficiency.

Stormwater Management:

Vegetation plays a crucial role in managing stormwater runoff. Green roofs, rain gardens, and vegetated swales can absorb and slow down rainwater, reducing the strain on stormwater infrastructure and minimizing the risk of flooding. Plants help to filter and purify stormwater, removing pollutants and improving water quality.

Biodiversity and Ecological Connectivity:

Integrating natural vegetation into architectural design promotes biodiversity and ecological connectivity. By providing habitat and food sources for birds, insects, and other wildlife, vegetation contributes to urban ecological networks. This can help support local ecosystems, enhance biodiversity, and create opportunities for ecological restoration in urban areas.

Human Health and Well-being:

The presence of natural vegetation has positive impacts on human health and well-being. Research has shown that access to green spaces and exposure to nature can reduce stress levels, improve mood, and promote physical and mental well-being. Incorporating vegetation in architectural design, such as incorporating rooftop gardens, green walls, or indoor plants, can create healthier and more biophilic environments for building occupants.

Community Interaction and Social Cohesion:

Natural vegetation in architecture can encourage community interaction and social cohesion. Green spaces, parks, and community gardens provide gathering places for residents, fostering social connections and a sense of community. These spaces can also be used for recreational activities, cultural events, and educational programs, enhancing the quality of life for individuals and communities.

Summary of natural vegetation

When considering the integration of natural vegetation in architecture, factors such as local climate, site conditions, plant selection, and maintenance should be taken into account. Landscape architects and designers play a crucial role in creating sustainable and aesthetically pleasing environments that maximize the benefits of natural vegetation within architectural projects.

Water Conservation Methodology

Water conservation methodologies in buildings aim to reduce water consumption, minimize waste, and promote sustainable water management practices. Implementing water conservation strategies is essential for preserving this vital resource and achieving more sustainable building operations. Here are some commonly employed methodologies:

Efficient Plumbing Fixtures:

Installing water-efficient plumbing fixtures is a fundamental step in conserving water. This includes low-flow toilets, water-saving faucets, aerators, and showerheads. These fixtures use less water without compromising performance, resulting in significant water savings.

Greywater Recycling:

Greywater refers to wastewater generated from non-toilet plumbing fixtures such as sinks, showers, and washing machines. Implementing greywater recycling systems allows this water to be treated and reused for non-potable purposes like landscape irrigation or toilet flushing. By recycling greywater, buildings can reduce their reliance on freshwater sources.

Rainwater Harvesting:

Collecting rainwater from rooftops and other surfaces for later use is an effective water conservation practice. Rainwater harvesting systems typically involve capturing, filtering, and storing rainwater in tanks or cisterns. This collected water can be used for landscaping, irrigation, and non-potable indoor uses.

Water-efficient Landscaping:

Landscaping consumes a significant amount of water, so employing water-efficient landscaping techniques is crucial. This includes selecting native or drought-tolerant plant species that require less water, implementing efficient irrigation systems such as drip irrigation, and incorporating water-retaining techniques like mulching to reduce evaporation.

Leak Detection and Repair:

Regularly monitoring and promptly repairing leaks in plumbing systems is essential to prevent water waste. Implementing leak detection systems and conducting regular inspections can help identify and address leaks early, ensuring efficient water usage.

Smart Water Management Systems:

Utilizing smart water management technologies can optimize water use in buildings. These systems incorporate sensors, meters, and automated controls to monitor and regulate water consumption. They can detect leaks, adjust irrigation based on weather conditions, and provide data for efficient water management.

Education and Awareness:

Promoting water conservation awareness among building occupants through educational campaigns and signage can encourage responsible water usage. Informing occupants about water-saving practices, such as turning off taps when not in use and reporting leaks promptly, helps create a culture of water conservation.

Metering and Monitoring:

Installing water meters and monitoring systems can provide real-time data on water usage, identifying patterns, and potential areas for improvement. Tracking water consumption helps prioritize conservation efforts and supports data-driven decision-making.

Water-efficient Cooling Towers:

Cooling towers in buildings that require cooling systems, such as HVAC systems, consume significant amounts of water. Employing water-efficient cooling tower designs and technologies, such as evaporative cooling techniques and recirculation systems, can minimize water usage while still ensuring effective cooling.

Building Codes and Regulations:

Governments and municipalities often establish building codes and regulations related to water efficiency. Compliance with these regulations ensures that new construction and renovation projects adhere to water conservation standards. This includes requirements for water-efficient fixtures, rainwater harvesting, and other water conservation measures.

Summary of water conservation

Implementing these water conservation methodologies in buildings can lead to substantial water savings, reduced strain on water resources, and more sustainable operations. Combining these strategies with ongoing monitoring, maintenance, and occupant engagement is crucial to achieving long-term water conservation goals.

Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency in buildings is a crucial aspect of sustainable architecture and plays a significant role in reducing energy consumption, lowering carbon emissions, and promoting environmental sustainability. Improving energy efficiency in buildings involves employing various strategies and technologies to minimize energy waste and optimize energy performance. Here are some key considerations and approaches to achieving energy efficiency in buildings:

Building Envelope:

The building envelope, including walls, roofs, windows, and insulation, is critical for energy efficiency. Proper insulation, high-performance windows with low-emissivity coatings, and airtight construction help minimize heat transfer and maintain comfortable indoor temperatures. An energy-efficient envelope reduces the need for excessive heating or cooling, resulting in significant energy savings.

Efficient HVAC Systems:

Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems typically account for a significant portion of a building’s energy consumption. Installing energy-efficient HVAC systems, such as high-efficiency boilers, heat pumps, and air conditioners, helps optimize energy usage. Additionally, incorporating zoning controls, programmable thermostats, and demand-controlled ventilation can further enhance energy efficiency by matching heating and cooling needs with occupancy and usage patterns.


Lighting represents a substantial portion of a building’s energy use. Utilizing energy-efficient lighting technologies, such as Light-Emitting Diodes (LEDs) and compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), can result in significant energy savings. Incorporating lighting controls, such as occupancy sensors, daylight sensors, and time-based controls, helps ensure lights are only on when needed, further reducing energy waste.

Energy-Efficient Appliances and Equipment:

Encouraging the use of energy-efficient appliances and equipment within buildings can lead to substantial energy savings. This includes ENERGY STAR-rated appliances, energy-efficient computers and office equipment, and efficient kitchen and laundry equipment. Selecting appliances with high energy-efficiency ratings and optimizing their usage practices reduces energy consumption and operating costs.

Renewable Energy Integration:

Incorporating renewable energy sources within buildings further enhances energy efficiency. Installing solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, wind turbines, or geothermal systems can generate on-site renewable energy, offsetting a portion or all of a building’s energy demand. By utilizing clean, renewable energy, buildings can reduce their reliance on fossil fuel-based electricity and contribute to overall sustainability goals.

Energy Monitoring and Management Systems:

Implementing energy monitoring and management systems allows for real-time monitoring and analysis of energy consumption. By identifying energy usage patterns and anomalies, building operators can identify areas for improvement and optimize energy performance. These systems provide insights into energy consumption, allowing for informed decision-making and continuous energy efficiency improvements.

Occupant Engagement and Behavior:

Educating building occupants about energy-efficient practices and encouraging responsible energy usage can have a significant impact on energy efficiency. Promoting behaviour such as turning off lights when not in use, using natural daylight, adjusting thermostat settings, and adopting energy-saving habits can lead to substantial energy savings. Occupant engagement programs and awareness campaigns help foster a culture of energy efficiency within buildings.

Building Automation and Controls:

Implementing building automation systems and advanced controls can optimize energy usage by integrating and managing various building systems. Automated controls can regulate lighting, HVAC, and other equipment based on occupancy, time schedules, and demand, ensuring energy is used efficiently. These systems also provide centralized monitoring and control, allowing for proactive energy management and maintenance.

Energy Codes and Standards:

Governments and organizations develop energy codes and standards to regulate and promote energy-efficient building design and construction. Compliance with these codes ensures that buildings meet minimum energy performance requirements. Staying up to date with energy codes and standards helps architects and building professionals incorporate best practices and adopt the latest energy-efficient technologies.

Life Cycle Assessment:

Considering the life cycle impacts of building materials, construction methods, and systems is essential for overall energy efficiency. Conducting life cycle assessments (LCAs) helps evaluate the environmental impacts of a building from material extraction to construction, operation, and eventual disposal. By selecting sustainable materials, minimizing waste, and optimizing resource usage throughout the building’s life cycle, energy efficiency can be enhanced.

Summary of Energy Efficiency

By implementing these energy efficiency strategies, buildings can significantly reduce energy consumption, lower operational costs, and contribute to a more sustainable built environment. It is important to consider the specific context, climate, and building type when designing and implementing energy-efficient measures to ensure optimal performance and maximize energy savings.

Waste Management

Waste management in buildings is a crucial aspect of sustainable architecture and construction. Effective waste management practices aim to minimize waste generation, promote recycling and reuse, and reduce the environmental impact associated with building operations. Here are some key considerations and approaches to waste management in buildings:

Waste Reduction and Source Separation:

The first step in waste management is reducing waste generation at the source. This involves promoting practices such as smart material selection, lean construction techniques, and efficient packaging to minimize waste during the construction phase. Additionally, implementing source separation programs encourages occupants and building users to separate waste into different categories, such as recyclables, organic waste, and non-recyclables.

Recycling Infrastructure:

Establishing a well-designed recycling infrastructure within buildings is essential for effective waste management. Providing easily accessible recycling bins and clearly labelling them with appropriate signage encourages occupants to recycle properly. Working with local recycling facilities or waste management companies to ensure collected recyclables are appropriately processed and recycled is also crucial.

Composting Systems:

Implementing composting systems allows for the proper management of organic waste generated within buildings. Composting programs can be established for food waste from cafeterias, restaurants, or residential areas. Composting not only reduces waste sent to landfills but also produces nutrient-rich compost that can be used for landscaping or community gardens.

Waste-to-Energy Systems:

In some cases, waste-to-energy systems, such as anaerobic digestion or incineration with energy recovery, can be considered. These systems convert non-recyclable waste into energy, reducing the volume of waste sent to landfills and generating renewable energy in the process. However, it is important to carefully consider the environmental and social impacts of such systems and ensure they meet local regulations and sustainability standards.

Construction and Demolition Waste Management:

Construction and demolition activities generate a significant amount of waste. Implementing effective waste management plans during construction projects, including segregating and recycling construction waste, can significantly reduce the environmental impact. Proper planning, waste sorting, on-site material reuse, and partnering with waste management companies are key strategies for minimizing construction and demolition waste.

Education and Awareness:

Educating building occupants, tenants, and staff about proper waste management practices is essential. Promoting awareness campaigns, providing guidelines, and organizing training programs can help foster a culture of responsible waste management. Informing individuals about the importance of waste reduction, recycling, and proper disposal encourages their active participation in waste management efforts.

Circular Economy Principles:

Embracing the principles of a circular economy within building operations can contribute to more sustainable waste management. This includes adopting strategies such as designing for disassembly and reuse, incorporating recycled or upcycled materials, and supporting circular material supply chains. The goal is to minimize waste generation by keeping materials and products in use for as long as possible and recovering their value at the end of their life cycles.

Collaboration with Waste Management Providers:

Collaborating with waste management providers and local authorities is crucial for effective waste management. Building owners and facility managers can work closely with waste management companies to ensure proper waste collection, processing, and recycling. Regular communication and monitoring can help identify areas for improvement and optimize waste management practices.

Monitoring and Reporting:

Implementing waste tracking and monitoring systems allows for ongoing evaluation of waste management performance. Regularly measuring and analyzing waste generation, recycling rates, and landfill diversion rates provides valuable data to identify trends, set targets, and assess the effectiveness of waste management strategies. This data can guide decision-making and support continuous improvement in waste management practices.

Summary of Waste Management

By integrating these waste management practices into building design, construction, and operations, buildings can minimize their environmental footprint, conserve resources, and contribute to a more sustainable built environment. Collaboration among architects, building owners, occupants, waste management providers, and local authorities is crucial for achieving effective waste management in buildings.

Indoor Environmental Quality

Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) refers to the conditions inside buildings that impact the health, comfort, and well-being of occupants. Achieving good IEQ is crucial for creating healthy, productive, and comfortable indoor environments. Here are some key factors that contribute to indoor environmental quality in buildings:

Indoor Air Quality (IAQ):

Maintaining high indoor air quality is essential for occupant health. This involves controlling and minimizing indoor pollutants such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), formaldehyde, allergens, and particulate matter. Strategies for improving IAQ include adequate ventilation, proper filtration systems, source control (e.g., low-emitting materials), and regular maintenance of HVAC systems.

Thermal Comfort:

Providing optimal thermal conditions is important for occupant comfort and productivity. Maintaining appropriate temperature, humidity, and air movement helps prevent discomfort and potential health issues. Building design should consider factors like insulation, glazing, shading, and efficient HVAC systems to achieve thermal comfort and reduce reliance on mechanical heating or cooling.

Lighting and Daylighting:

Appropriate lighting levels and quality contribute to occupant well-being and visual comfort. Maximizing natural daylight through building orientation, window placement, and skylights not only reduces reliance on artificial lighting but also promotes a connection to the outdoors. Incorporating energy-efficient lighting fixtures, controls, and glare reduction measures further enhances lighting quality and energy efficiency.

Acoustic Comfort:

Controlling noise levels within buildings is essential for occupant comfort and concentration. Design strategies that minimize external noise intrusion, utilize sound-absorbing materials, and incorporate acoustic insulation help create quieter indoor environments. This is especially important in spaces such as offices, classrooms, healthcare facilities, and residential areas.


Ergonomic design considerations aim to optimize the interaction between occupants and their physical environment. This includes the design of furniture, workstations, and layout to promote proper posture, comfort, and ease of use. Ergonomic principles help prevent musculoskeletal disorders and enhance productivity.

Indoor Biophilia:

Integrating elements of nature within buildings, such as indoor plants, green walls, and natural materials, can enhance occupants’ connection to the natural environment. Biophilic design has been shown to improve well-being, reduce stress, and enhance cognitive function. Incorporating views of nature, access to outdoor spaces, and incorporating natural materials can help create a more biophilic indoor environment.

Controllability and User Satisfaction:

Providing occupants with control over their indoor environment contributes to user satisfaction. This includes individual control over temperature, lighting, ventilation, and privacy. Giving occupants the ability to personalize their workspace or living environment helps promote comfort and well-being.

Maintenance and Cleaning:

Regular maintenance and cleaning of buildings are essential for maintaining IEQ. Proper cleaning practices, including the use of environmentally friendly products, help control dust, allergens, and microbial growth. Regular maintenance of HVAC systems, filters, and building components ensures optimal performance and prevents the accumulation of pollutants.

Occupant Engagement and Education:

Educating occupants about the importance of IEQ and providing guidelines for the proper use and maintenance of indoor environments is crucial. Encouraging occupant engagement, promoting healthy behaviours, and providing resources for maintaining IEQ can contribute to a healthier and more sustainable indoor environment.

Summary of Indoor Environmental Quality

Building codes, standards, and certification programs, such as LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) and WELL Building Standard, provide guidelines and criteria for achieving and maintaining high indoor environmental quality. By prioritizing and implementing strategies that enhance IEQ, buildings can create healthier, more comfortable, and more productive spaces for occupants.

Virgin Materials

Virgin materials refer to materials that are sourced directly from nature or are produced from raw resources without undergoing any recycling or repurposing processes. In the context of buildings, virgin materials are often used in construction and interior design, ranging from structural elements like concrete and steel to finishing materials like wood, stone, and plastics. Here are some considerations regarding the use of virgin materials in buildings:

Availability and Environmental Impact:

The extraction and production of virgin materials can have significant environmental impacts. Mining, logging, and manufacturing processes associated with virgin materials often involve the consumption of natural resources, energy, and water, as well as the release of greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants. Considering the availability and environmental impact of virgin materials is important for sustainable building practices.

Embodied Energy and Carbon Footprint:

Virgin materials have a high embodied energy, which refers to the energy consumed throughout their life cycle, including extraction, processing, manufacturing, transportation, and disposal. This embodied energy contributes to the carbon footprint of buildings. Choosing lower-impact materials, such as recycled or salvaged alternatives, can help reduce the embodied energy and carbon emissions associated with building construction and operation.

Resource Depletion:

The use of virgin materials contributes to the depletion of natural resources, including minerals, forests, and water. Considering the availability and scarcity of these resources is crucial for sustainable building practices. Exploring alternative materials, reusing or repurposing existing materials, and adopting circular economy principles can help minimize resource depletion.

Waste Generation:

The production and use of virgin materials often generate significant waste. This includes waste generated during extraction, manufacturing, and construction processes, as well as waste generated at the end of a building’s life cycle. Minimizing waste generation through efficient material usage, recycling, and responsible disposal practices is important for reducing the environmental impact of virgin materials.

Sustainable Material Alternatives:

In many cases, sustainable alternatives to virgin materials are available. These include recycled materials, reclaimed wood, salvaged architectural elements, and environmentally friendly substitutes for plastics and other synthetic materials. Using these alternatives can help reduce the environmental impact associated with the use of virgin materials while still achieving desired aesthetic and functional requirements.

Life Cycle Assessment:

Conducting a life cycle assessment (LCA) can provide valuable insights into the environmental impacts of different material choices. LCAs consider the entire life cycle of a material, including extraction, production, use, and disposal. By comparing the environmental performance of virgin materials to alternative options, such as recycled or renewable materials, architects and builders can make informed decisions about material selection and prioritize sustainability.

Building Codes and Certification Programs:

Building codes and certification programs often provide guidelines and criteria for sustainable building practices. These guidelines may include requirements or recommendations related to the use of recycled or environmentally preferable materials. Adhering to such codes and seeking certification through programs like LEED can help promote the use of sustainable materials and reduce reliance on virgin resources.

Summary of Virgin Materials

By considering the environmental impact, availability, resource depletion, and waste generation associated with virgin materials, architects, builders, and building owners can make more sustainable choices. Adopting a holistic approach that incorporates sustainable material alternatives, efficient resource usage, and responsible waste management practices can help reduce the environmental footprint of buildings and promote a more sustainable built environment.

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