Modules in the IGBC Rating Systems


The Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) is a leading organization promoting sustainable building practices in India. The IGBC has developed various green rating systems that assess and certify the environmental performance of buildings and infrastructure projects. These rating systems aim to encourage adopting green building practices, reduce resource consumption, and enhance occupant health and well-being.

The IGBC has introduced several rating systems to address different types of projects. The IGBC Green Homes rating system focuses on residential buildings, while the IGBC Green Factory rating system targets industrial facilities. The IGBC Green Schools rating system is specifically designed for educational institutions, and the IGBC Green SEZ rating system assesses Special Economic Zones. Additionally, there are rating systems for commercial buildings, townships, and healthcare facilities.

These rating systems evaluate various parameters, including site selection and planning, water and energy efficiency, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality, and innovation. Projects are awarded points based on their performance in each category, and certification levels such as Certified, Silver, Gold, and Platinum are awarded based on the total score.

There are five important parameters in the green building rating system to be followed in the design and construction process as follows:

The IGBC rating systems have gained significant recognition and adoption in India’s construction industry. They have played a crucial role in promoting sustainable practices and creating awareness about the environmental impact of buildings. By incentivizing energy and resource efficiency, the IGBC rating systems have helped reduce the carbon footprint of buildings and contributed to the overall sustainability goals of the country.

Green buildings are of paramount importance in today’s world. As we face pressing environmental challenges, such as climate change and resource depletion, green buildings offer a sustainable solution. By incorporating energy-efficient technologies, renewable energy sources, and water-saving strategies, these buildings significantly reduce their environmental impact. They lower energy consumption, decrease greenhouse gas emissions, conserve water resources, and minimize waste generation.

The significance of green buildings extends beyond environmental benefits. They also prioritize the health and well-being of occupants, providing a healthier indoor environment through improved air quality and access to natural light. Studies have shown that occupants of green buildings experience higher productivity, better cognitive function, and improved overall satisfaction.

Furthermore, green buildings offer economic advantages. Although initial construction costs may be slightly higher, these buildings yield long-term savings through reduced energy and water bills. They also attract tenants more easily, have higher property values, and exhibit greater financial performance.

Green buildings serve as beacons of sustainability and inspire positive change in the construction industry. They encourage innovation in architecture, design, and technology, fostering a transition towards more sustainable practices across sectors.

In summary, green buildings are crucial for addressing environmental challenges, promoting occupant health and well-being, providing economic benefits, and driving innovation. They are instrumental in creating a greener, more sustainable future.

Preserving Site Topography and Vegetation

Preserving site topography and vegetation is a crucial aspect of sustainable design and land development. It involves the careful consideration and protection of the natural features and ecosystems present on a site, including hills, slopes, trees, plants, and other vegetation. By prioritizing the preservation of site topography and vegetation, architects and planners can minimize environmental impact, maintain biodiversity, and create harmonious relationships between built structures and the surrounding landscape.

One of the primary benefits of preserving site topography is the retention of natural drainage patterns. By designing buildings and infrastructure that work with the existing topography, rather than against it, water can flow naturally across the land, reducing the risk of erosion, flooding, and other water-related issues. This approach helps to maintain the health of nearby rivers, lakes, and watersheds, while also preserving the integrity of the site’s soil and vegetation.

Preserving vegetation is equally important. Trees, shrubs, and other plants play a vital role in providing numerous environmental benefits. They help to absorb carbon dioxide, release oxygen, and mitigate climate change. Trees provide shade, reducing the need for artificial cooling, and act as windbreaks, reducing energy consumption for heating. Moreover, vegetation supports local biodiversity by providing habitats for wildlife and promoting ecological balance.

To preserve site topography and vegetation, it is essential to conduct a thorough site analysis before any construction or development takes place. This analysis should identify ecologically sensitive areas, such as wetlands, forests, or endangered species habitats, and establish protection zones around them. The design process should then be guided by this analysis, aiming to minimize disturbance to these areas and maintain the site’s natural character.

Preserving site topography can be achieved by designing buildings sensitive to the existing landforms. Instead of altering the landscape through excessive grading or excavation, architects can create designs that follow the natural contours of the site. This approach not only reduces the need for extensive earthwork but also helps the buildings blend harmoniously with the surroundings, creating a sense of place and enhancing aesthetic appeal.

When it comes to vegetation preservation, the first step is to identify and inventory the existing plant species on the site. This information can then be used to develop a landscaping plan that incorporates the preservation of existing trees and plants wherever possible. Designers can integrate trees and green spaces into the layout of buildings, leaving open areas and setbacks to protect valuable vegetation. Additionally, native plant species should be prioritized in landscaping efforts, as they are better adapted to the local climate and require less water and maintenance.

To ensure the long-term preservation of site topography and vegetation, it is important to implement measures for ongoing maintenance and care. This includes establishing conservation easements or protective covenants to legally protect ecologically sensitive areas, creating management plans for the site’s vegetation, and educating occupants and users about the importance of preserving the natural environment.

Preserving site topography and vegetation not only helps to maintain the unique character and beauty of a site but also has numerous environmental and social benefits. It supports biodiversity, reduces the ecological footprint of development, improves air and water quality, and enhances the overall well-being of both humans and wildlife. By integrating these principles into the design and development process, we can create sustainable environments that coexist harmoniously with the natural world.

Measures to be Implemented

Soil erosion control

Soil erosion control measures taken before construction and during construction must conform to the best management practices highlighted in the National Building Code (NBC) of India 2005, Part 10, Section 1, Chapter 4 – Protection of Landscape during Construction and Chapter 5 – Soil and Water Conservation.

Topsoil Preservation

Fertile topsoil to be stockpiled before construction, for future reuse or donation. If the topsoil (10-20 cm) in the project is not fertile (or) suitable for preservation, in such a case the project may provide relevant justification.


Avoid disturbance to the site by retaining natural topography (and/ or) designed vegetated spaces on the ground, for at least 20% of the site area. Natural topography includes exposed natural rocks, water bodies, etc., and Vegetation such as native/ adaptive plant species on the ground and not in pots.

Fully Grown Trees

Preserve or transplant at least 75% of existing fully grown trees within the project site/ campus. Plant tree saplings that can mature into grown-up trees within the next 5 years on the project site. If the Site area is less than 1 acre plant 8 tree saplings, if the site area is more than 1 acre plant 12 tree saplings per acre. Plant only native/ adaptive trees and tree saplings.

Landscape Design

Design the landscape in a way that saves water by reducing the amount of turf used. The turf area should make up less than 30% of the whole landscaped area. Ensure that at least 60% of the landscaped area is dedicated to drought-tolerant, native, or adaptive species. Avoid using only one type of plant species to encourage habitat diversity. Remember, potted plants are not considered vegetation. Also, make sure that areas with turf are not on slopes steeper than 25 % (that’s a 4 to 1 slope).

Irrigation Systems

At least 75% of landscape planting beds must have a drip irrigation system to reduce evaporation. Soil moisture sensors should be integrated with the irrigation system. Time-based controllers for the valves should be installed such that evaporation loss is minimised and plant health is ensured. Pressure-regulating devices are to be installed to maintain optimal pressure to prevent water loss. The irrigation system should have a central shut-off valve.

Energy Conservation

Energy conservation in buildings is crucial for sustainable development and reducing environmental impact. With buildings accounting for a significant portion of global energy consumption, adopting energy-efficient practices is essential. Various strategies can be employed to conserve energy in buildings. Implementing proper insulation, such as using high-quality windows and insulation materials, helps minimize heat transfer, reducing the need for heating and cooling systems. Efficient lighting systems, such as LED bulbs and smart lighting controls, can significantly reduce electricity consumption. Employing advanced HVAC systems that optimize energy use based on occupancy and external conditions can also contribute to energy savings. Additionally, incorporating renewable energy sources like solar panels or geothermal systems can further reduce dependence on fossil fuels. Energy audits, occupant awareness programs, and building automation systems play crucial roles in monitoring and optimizing energy consumption. By adopting these measures, buildings can significantly reduce their energy consumption, decrease greenhouse gas emissions, and contribute to a more sustainable future.

Measures to Increase Energy Efficiency

Passive Architecture Techniques

Passive architecture, also known as passive design or passive building design, refers to a set of principles and strategies that maximize a building’s natural resources and minimize its reliance on mechanical systems. It involves optimizing factors such as solar orientation, insulation, natural ventilation, and shading to create comfortable indoor environments while minimizing energy consumption. Passive architecture takes advantage of the surrounding climate and site conditions to passively heat, cool, and light the building. By integrating these strategies, passive architecture reduces the need for active heating and cooling systems, resulting in energy-efficient, sustainable buildings that prioritize occupant comfort and well-being.

Building Envelope

The building envelope is all of the elements of the outer shell that maintain a dry, heated, or cooled indoor environment and facilitate its climate control. Building envelope design is a specialized area of architectural and engineering practice that draws from all areas of building science and indoor climate control. The building envelope includes the materials that comprise the foundation, wall assembly, roofing systems, fenestrations, glazing, doors, and any other penetrations.

SHGC value of fenestrations should be less than 0.36. U-Value for Glazing should be less than 5.7 W/m2K. The u-value for the wall assembly should be less than 2.5 W/m2K. The u-value for the roof assembly should be less than 1.2 W/m2K.


The Lighting Power Density (LPD) in the building’s interior, exterior and parking areas shall be reduced by a minimum of 30% over the ECBC base case. Lighting power density is calculated based on the Building Area Method or Space Function Method.

Air Conditioning Systems

Air-conditioners should have a BEE 3-star rating, COP of more than 3.5 and EER of more than 11.95.

Heating Systems

Heating systems should have COP of more than 2.5 and EER of more than 8.53.

Electrical Equipment

All electrical equipment such as fans, pumps & motors should have a BEE 5-star rating.

Energy Metering

Energy Metering is to be installed to monitor the energy use of lighting, pumping, elevators and all other equipment and systems that consume energy. The building management system should to installed to monitor and control the Air-conditioning, lighting, renewable energy generation, elevator, fresh air, CO2 control sensors and total energy consumption.

Renewable Energy

On-site renewable energy generation should be installed for at least 5% of the total annual energy consumption of the building. Renewable energy sources include solar energy, wind power, biomass, etc. Install off-site renewable energy generation or Purache Renewable Energy Certificates should be for at least 75% of the total annual energy consumption of the building.

Energy Cost Savings

Based on the whole building energy simulation, the building should have at least 36% energy cost savings against the baseline outlined in ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2010.

Energy Simulation

Based on the whole building energy simulation the passive architecture measures implemented in the project should have at least 4% energy savings of total annual energy consumption against the baseline outlined in ECBC or ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2010. Simulation is to be carried out at comfort temperatures of 24 + 2 deg C.

Commissioning of Electrical Equipment

The building equipment & systems are commissioned by a third-party commissioning authority for one year to achieve performance as envisaged at the design stage.

Environmental Impact

Building construction has a significant environmental impact, encompassing various aspects that can affect ecosystems, resources, and climate change. One key concern is the depletion of natural resources. The extraction of raw materials, such as timber, stone, and metals, contributes to deforestation, habitat destruction, and landscape degradation. Additionally, the energy-intensive production of construction materials, like concrete and steel, releases large amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, exacerbating global warming.

The construction process itself also poses environmental challenges. Clearing land for building sites disrupts ecosystems, leading to a loss of biodiversity. Construction activities generate noise, dust, and pollution, impacting local air and water quality. Moreover, improper waste management during construction can result in the disposal of hazardous materials and contribute to landfill waste.

To mitigate these negative impacts, sustainable building practices have emerged. Green building design incorporates energy-efficient technologies, renewable materials, and efficient waste management systems. Using recycled or locally sourced materials can reduce the carbon footprint. Additionally, implementing energy-saving measures, such as efficient insulation and renewable energy systems, can reduce the overall environmental impact of buildings. By embracing sustainable construction practices, we can minimize the ecological consequences and move towards a more environmentally responsible built environment.

Measures to Reduce Environmental Impact

Ozone Depleting Substances

The refrigerants used in the building’s Heating, Ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) equipment should be CFC (Chloro Fluoro Carbon)-free. The fire suppression systems used in the building should be free from Halons or any other ozone-depleting substances.

Heat Island Reduction

Use material with a high solar reflective index (80 SRI) to cover at least 95% of the exposed roof area, including covered parking. Otherwise, Provide vegetation to cover at least 75% of the exposed roof area, including covered parking.

Outdoor Light Pollution

Design exterior lighting such that no external light fixture emits more than 5% of the total initial designed fixture Lumens, at an angle of 90 degrees. The lighting power density should be reduced by 30% for building facades and exterior areas as per the ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2010 baselines.

Waste Management

Provide separate bins to collect dry waste (paper, plastic, metals, glass, etc.,) and wet waste (organic), at all the floors and common areas of the building. Centralised Facility for safe disposal of hazardous waste such as Batteries, E-waste, Lamps, and Medical waste. Install an on-site waste treatment system for handling at least 95% of the organic (kitchen) waste (0.1kg/person/day) generated in the building. The generated manure or bio-gas shall be utilised as appropriate. At least 95% of waste generated during construction is diverted from landfills, for reuse or recycling.

Sustainable Building Materials

Ensure at least 7.5% of the total building materials by cost used in the building are salvaged reused or refurbished. Salvaged or reused materials are building materials recovered from existing buildings or construction sites and reused. Materials include furniture, doors, cabinetry, brick and tiles. Use materials with at least 30% recycled content of the total cost of building materials in the building. Use at least 40% of total building materials by the cost that is manufactured locally within a distance of 400 km from the construction site. Ensure at least 95% of all new wood-based materials by cost are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) or equivalent. Retain at least 75% of the structural elements and atleast 50% of non-structural elements (by area) of the existing building.

Health & Well-Being

Health and well-being are crucial considerations in building design and construction, as the built environment has a profound impact on people’s physical and mental well-being. A well-designed building can promote positive health outcomes and enhance the quality of life for its occupants.

One key aspect is indoor air quality. Poor ventilation, inadequate filtration, and the presence of pollutants can lead to respiratory problems, allergies, and other health issues. By implementing proper ventilation systems, using low-emission materials, and reducing indoor pollutants, buildings can provide clean and healthy indoor environments.

Natural light and access to views are also essential for occupant well-being. Exposure to natural light has been linked to improved mood, productivity, and sleep patterns. Incorporating windows, skylights, and daylighting strategies in building design can enhance occupant comfort and well-being.

Noise pollution is another factor that affects health and well-being. Excessive noise levels can lead to stress, sleep disturbances, and decreased productivity. Implementing soundproofing measures and acoustic design principles can create quieter and more peaceful indoor environments.

In addition, incorporating spaces for physical activity, such as gyms or outdoor recreational areas, can encourage an active lifestyle and promote physical well-being. Designing buildings with accessible features and promoting inclusive design also contribute to the well-being of all occupants.

By prioritizing health and well-being in building design, we can create environments that support and enhance the physical and mental health of occupants, leading to happier, healthier, and more productive communities.

Measures to Ensure Occupant’s Health & Well-Being

Low-emitting (Low VOC) Materials

Use paints and coatings (including primers) with low or no VOC content for 95% of the interior wall and ceiling surface area. Each type of paint & coating has different VOC limit specifications. Such as glossy paint (150 g/l), Matte paint (50 g/l), anti-corrosive paint (250 g/l), Wood varnish (350 g/l), wood lacquer (550 g/l), floor coatings (100 g/l). Adhesives used within the interiors must ensure that the VOC content does not exceed the limits.

All carpets installed in the building interior must comply with the CRI Green Label Plus Carpet Programme. Composite wood and Agri-fiber materials used in the building must not contain added urea-formaldehyde resins. Composite wood consists of wood or plant particles or fibres bonded together by a synthetic resin or binder. Composite wood materials include plywood, particle board, and Medium-Density Fiberboard (MDF). New wood furniture items such as workstations, tables, cabinets, etc., should have a TVOC of less than 0.5 mg/m3 and seating should have a TVOC of less than 0.25 mg/m3.

Fresh Air Ventilation

Provide adequate fresh air ventilation in all regularly occupied areas to meet the minimum ventilation rates, as prescribed in ASHRAE Standard 62.1 – 2010. Provide 8% & 12% of operable windows and Doors to the total carpet area on exterior walls, in all regularly occupied areas of less than 100 sq.m & more than 100 sq.m respectively. Smoking should be prohibited inside the building. Install CO2 sensors in return air ducts to maintain a differential CO2 level of a maximum of 530 ppm in all regularly occupied areas. Install air filtering media with at least MERV 13 (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) or EU 7 or equivalent, to treat fresh air. Install germicidal/ UV lamps in Air-Handling-Unit (AHU) cooling coils to filter germs in the indoor supply air. The Printer / Chemical storage / Janitor rooms shall be maintained at a negative pressure of 5 Pascals.


More than 95 % of the regularly occupied areas should have adequate daylighting (minimum 110 lux and maximum 2200 lux) in clear sky conditions on 21st September at noon, at the working plane.

Well-being Facilities

The building should have occupant well-being facilities (such as a gymnasium, aerobics, yoga, meditation or any indoor/ outdoor games) to cater to at least 5% of building occupants, throughout the day. To enhance the physical, emotional and spiritual well-being of building occupants.

Outdoor Views

Achieve direct line of sight to vision glazing between 0.9 meters (3 feet) and 2.1 meters (7 feet) above the finished floor level, for building occupants in at least 75% of all regularly occupied spaces. And should not have any obstruction of views at least 8 meters (26.2 feet) from the exterior vision glazing.

Construction Workforce

Provide at least 3 toilet seats & 3 urinals for the first 100 workers and one additional toilet seat & urinal for every 100 workers. Provide basic facilities such as first-aid, adequate drinking water, Personal protective equipment, Dust suppression measures, Adequate illumination levels in construction work areas, Site emergency alarm, Daycare/ crèche facility for workers’ children, Adequate housing as per local/ labour bylaw requirement.

Universal Design

Uniformity in floor level for hindrance-free movement in common areas & exterior areas. Easy access to the main entrance of the building. Provide at least one car park space for the first 100 car park spaces and one additional for every 250 car park spaces—non-slippery ramps, with handrails on at least one side. Provide at least one restroom in the building for differently abled people. Braille and audio assistance in lifts for visually impaired people. Seating area near lift lobbies. Visual warning signage in common areas & exterior areas.

Water Conservation

Water conservation in building design and construction is crucial for sustainable and responsible water management. Buildings consume vast amounts of water, both directly and indirectly, making it essential to implement strategies that reduce water usage and promote efficient water use.

One key approach is the installation of water-efficient fixtures and appliances. Low-flow toilets, faucets, and showerheads can significantly reduce water consumption without compromising functionality. Additionally, implementing water-efficient irrigation systems and landscaping practices can minimize water wastage in outdoor areas.

Building design can also incorporate rainwater harvesting systems, which capture and store rainwater for various non-potable uses, such as irrigation or toilet flushing. Greywater recycling systems can further optimize water usage by treating and reusing water from sinks, showers, and laundry.

Education and awareness among occupants are essential for water conservation. Promoting water-saving practices, such as turning off faucets while not in use or fixing leaks promptly, can have a significant impact on reducing water consumption.

By implementing these water conservation measures, buildings can significantly reduce their water footprint, alleviate strain on local water resources, and contribute to overall water sustainability. Moreover, efficient water use in buildings sets an example for responsible water management, inspiring individuals and communities to adopt water-saving practices in their daily lives.

Measures to Conserve Water Consumption

Rainwater Harvesting

Design a rainwater harvesting system to capture at least ‘one-day rainfall*’ runoff volume from the roof and non-roof areas. In areas where the Central / State Ground Water Board does not recommend artificial rainwater recharge (or) if the groundwater table is less than 8 meters, the project is required to justify not implementing a rainwater harvesting system. Runoff volume = Surface area x Runoff Coefficient x Rainfall.

Water Efficient Plumbing Fixtures

Use water-efficient plumbing fixtures whose flow rates should be less than 28% of baseline to minimise potable water use. The baseline criteria of flow rates for plumbing fixtures such as Water Closets 3/6 LPF, urinals of 4LPF, taps and health faucets of 6LPM, and showerheads of 10 LPM.

Waste Water Treatment

Treat 100% wastewater generated on-site to the quality standards suitable for reuse, as prescribed by the Central (or) State Pollution Control Board. Use treated wastewater for at least 95% of the total water required for landscaping, flushing, and cooling tower makeup water. The water requirement and average number of watering days for landscaping shall be considered as 6 litres per sq.m. per day for a minimum of 300 days.

Water Metering

Sub-metering should be installed to improve the water performance of the building for Municipal water supply, Bore water, Treated wastewater, Water consumption for landscape, flushing, air-conditioning cooling tower makeup.

For more interesting news and facts, check out our website New Facts World and follow us on Instagram.

1 thought on “Modules in the IGBC Rating Systems

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *