M. Anand Principal Counsellor, CII – Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Centre
Dr. Prem C. Jain Chairman, Indian Green Building Council
The Green Building movement in India got started when CII-Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Centre (IGBC Head Quarters) building in Hyderabad was awarded the first Platinum green building rating in India. To facilitate greening of various forms of the built environment, CII established the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) in 2001.
Since then, the Green building movement in India has gained tremendous impetus over the years. Today, India has the second largest registered green building footprint in the world. More than 4,500 green building projects, contributing 4.79 billion sqft are implementing various green strategies. IGBC aspires to facilitate 10 billion sqft of green building footprint by 2022 (75th year of India’s Independence).
IGBC Health and Well-being for Occupants
Understanding the imperative that there is an intricate relationship between occupants’ health and well-being and the built environment, CII-IGBC has launched ‘Health and Well-being Rating’ for the built environment – the first of its kind green building rating system. The objective of the rating is to facilitate buildings to incorporate people- centric measures for enhancing their health and well-being. Its framework will enable organisations to address various aspects such as indoor air quality, water quality, hygiene parameters, healthy food choices and lifestyle of occupants.
Indian Perspective on Well-being
Indian culture has a rich spiritual heritage and discourse; wellbeing has been an integral aspect of the ancient traditions of India. Intellectual wellness is viewed as a positive attribute, emotional well-being as the capacity to live a full and creative life and the flexibility to deal with life’s inevitable challenges. Ancient Indian thought has an endless array of techniques to raise human consciousness; it is a storehouse of rich psychological insights and nuances of processes and constructs, such as emotional and intellectual, physical and social well-being. Although there are diff erences in certain details, there is a wide agreement that the health of an individual is not just the state of his physical body but an aggregate of the body, senses, mind and soul. An unhealthy state of mind is often the cause of illness and to remain disease-free it is important to have a healthy mind and body.
Impacts of Health and Well-being – Present Context
Over the past years, evidence has shown that subjective wellbeing can be realised through various means, and its impacts can be measured through all related non-communicable diseases. Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), more commonly known as chronic diseases, are amongst the most common indicators of physical, emotional, intellectual and social well-being. NCDs are the result of a combination of physiological, psychological, environmental and behaviours factors. A recent study by WHO has indicated that more that 50% of the world lives with chronic diseases. The prevailing NCDs commonly include Cardio Vascular Diseases (CVD), Cancer (CNR), Chronic Respiratory Diseases (CRD), Diabetics (DBS), Visual and Hearing Impairment (VHI) and Bone and Joint Disorders (BJD).
IGBC Health and Well-being Rating
This rating strives to reach out the concepts of healthy building amongst the commercial sector, through a ‘Whole Body Mind’ approach. The entire rating revolves around the concept of built environment, health and well-being. IGBC Health and Well-being rating for occupants addresses various features under three main aspects of health and well-being: Physical, Emotional and Intellectual and Social.
Whole Body Mind Approach – Core Concept of Rating
World Health Organisation (WHO) highlights the importance of Wellness and defines Health ‘as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being; not merely the absence of disease or infi rmity’. Wellness is an extremely powerful element that can play a signifi cant role in occupant engagement, productivity, talent retention, creativity and innovation. How people ‘function’ and ‘feel’ within personal and social circles, strongly reflects the kind of environment they live in. The way people ‘function’ reflects their connection with their surroundings. Therefore, the built environment plays a vital role in health and well-being of the occupants and should be closely knitted with people centric design. Occupants perceive the built environment through their fi ve senses – Smell, Taste, Sight, Touch and Sound. The five elements of Nature – Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Ether, which make up the built environment, affect physical, emotional and intellectual and social well-being of the occupants through these five senses. Health and physical well-being of the occupants can be enhanced by improving the features of the built environment.A holistic ‘Whole Body Mind’ approach links the health and well-being with the five senses through which the occupants perceive the built environment. It focusses on treating a person as a whole including his/her body and mind. The whole body and mind approach addresses physical function, ability to recognise emotion, think and communicate.
Elements of Health and Well-being
Well-being is the holistic integration of physical, emotional and intellectual and social component of health and these elements play a vital role in enhancing occupants’ quality of life.
Physical well-being leads to an enhanced quality of life so that the day to day activities are completed without undue fatigue or physical stress. There are various factors in a built environment that affect the physical well-being. The air we breathe, the water we drink and use and the perception of spaces we interact with, directly impact our physical health and well-being.
Emotional and Intellectual Well-being
Emotional well-being is the ability to comprehend the challenges one encounters. The ability to acknowledge and share feelings of hope, happiness, anger, fear, sadness in a productive manner, contributes to our emotional well-being. Intellectual well-being encourages exploring new concepts, the desire to learn, seeking new challenges and improving skills. It opens occupants’ mind towards new ideas and experiences that can be applied to personal decisions and to group interaction. A built environment creates an atmosphere that caters to the emotional and intellectual well-being, there by strengthening the spirit of the occupants – a true measure of this is refl ected through the satisfaction occupants feel, a considerable degree of autonomy and sense of purpose in life.
Social well-being is a positive sense of belonging and social inclusiveness; this enables occupants to connect and function in society. It connects them to the society, helping them establish and maintain positive relationships with family, friends and coworkers
Healthy living practices and measurement techniques in the built environment can help in addressing the following:
Awareness Creation Amongst Occupants
• Awareness on indoor air quality, water quality and consumption requirement, along with their impact
• Awareness on importance of fi tness, nutritional choices and eco-friendly practices
Improvements in Built Environment
• Improved visual comfort, thermal comfort, olfactory comfort and acoustic comfort for the building occupants
• Improved hygiene and better sanitation
• Caring environment and safer surroundings
Positive impact on Health of Occupants
• Lower sickness rates, spread of diseases, physical strain and associated health impact on occupants
• Enhanced fi tness levels of the occupants
• Reduced health hazards and related communicable and noncommunicable diseases such as chronic respiratory diseases (CRD), cancer, visual and hearing impairments, cardiovascular diseases and bone and joint disorders.
• Improved quality of life, health and well-being of the occupants
Financial Benefi ts
• Reduction in medical expenditure
• Reduction in absenteeism
Paharpur Business Centre, New Delhi – India’s First PlatinumCertifi ed Healthy Building
Paharpur Business Centre gained the unique distinction of becoming India’s first platinum rated project to be awarded IGBC’s Health and Well-being rating programme.
This commercial building, located in the heart of the city, is one of the healthiest buildings in India. The project boasts of exceptional indoor environment quality. It has adopted several innovative and futuristic strategies to enhance the health and well-being of the occupants, at an aff ordable cost.
A few innovations implemented by the project are as follows:
• The Centre ‘grows its own fresh air’ through 7,000 special indoor plants; they act as the lungs for the building. Based on measurements, blood oxygen levels of the employees, working for about 8 hours, are ~1% higher, with a 42% probability.
• The indoor air quality is monitored on daily basis and displayed at common locations such as entrance and lift lobbies; there is an app that shows IAQ readings, on a real
time basis, for the occupants.
• Features such as ample daylight, optimum RT, personalised work stations with ergonomically designed chairs having adjustable backs, enhance overall comfort of the
• Employee friendly HR policies, adopted by the Centre, portray a caring environment and create an emotionally inspiring workspace, with increased occupant productivity.
• The Centre has also adopted ISO 9000, ISO 14000, ISO 22000, and OHSAS 18001 with commitment to UN Global Compact and WEPs, with FSSAI certification and food
labeling with nutritional value of food items.
• It is BEE 5 star rated building, and currently operating at an AAHEPI of 17whr/hr/m2.
It has been well established that buildings invariably have a profound effect on the health and well-being of the occupants. Going green by design will go a long way in enhancing the quality of life of the occupants. The need of the hour is to incorporate people centric measures for enhancing health and well-being. Addressing this imperative, IGBC has recently launched IGBC Health and Well-being Rating. This rating will go a long way in equipping organisations to address various aspects such
as indoor air quality, water quality, hygiene parameters, healthy food choices and lifestyle, thereby making India greener and healthier. The success story of Paharpur Business Centre will encourage other projects in the country go the green way.