Facilitating Green Building Adoption -- An Optimization Based Decision Support Tool
21 Pages Posted: 11 Apr 2015
Date Written: April 10, 2015
The US Environmental Protection Agency defines green buildings as the practice of creating structures and using processes that are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building's life-cycle from site selection to design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation and deconstruction.
The adoption of green building norms in India is a relatively new phenomenon. The Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) has been the torch bearer for this effort since 2001. There are three major green building guidelines currently being adopted in India: (1) LEED®-New Construction LEED-NC); (2) GRIHA® by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) that was established voluntarily to rate buildings; and (3) LEED®-INDIA released by the Indian Green Building Council which is inspired by LEED-NC and includes alterations based on Indian construction environment.
The decision to opt for green construction and the level of green aspirations is constrained by the extra cost of going green, i.e. the green premium. The level of environment friendliness, given by the rating of the building, is not arrived at in a scientific manner by considering the options and their cost implications. Risk averse owners, in spite of their desire to go green, are hindered by a lack of information on the various options and ability to decide which options to choose. This information, if made available as a decision support tool, can be valuable in bringing green buildings into the mainstream. The non availability of such a tool is a major barrier in the growth of the green building movement (USEPA report “Removing market barriers to green development”).
The objective of this work is to develop an optimization based decision support tool that can be used to either arrive at the optimal green rating given the budget and choice constraints; or at the optimal green premium given the green rating aspirations. These can help a builder optimize green ratings or greening costs, as desired, or by a policy maker to come up with appropriate and effective policies. The Indian GRIHA rating guidelines are used as inputs for measuring the green rating of a building. In addition sensitivity to costs, of socially important parameters such as use of solar energy, fly-ash etc., of choices made for achieving desired green ratings are studied. This can help drive appropriate policy initiatives for adoption of such technologies.
Keywords: Green building, Rating systems, Cost structure, Environment, decision support system and Optimization
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