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Green project smells the greenbacks

Ravi Menon & G Balachandar  |  Chennai 

The 1.8 million sq ft Olympia Technology Park in Chennai is now recognised as the world's largest 'green' building and has been awarded the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold rating.
The park is likely to earn around Rs 1.50 crore a year in revenues for a start, by forward trading in certified emission reductions (CERs) or carbon credits, said Ajit Chordia, managing director of Khivraj Tech Park, which owns Olympia Tech Park.
The park is promoted by the Khivraj Group and has applied to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) for registration as a forerunner to entering the lucrative carbon credit trading market.
"We expect UNFCC approval within three weeks, following which we will commence carbon trading. We are looking at generating 20,000 CERs annually for now, but will generate more carbon credits as we comply with additional compliance norms laid down under the Kyoto Protocol," Chordia said.
Carbon credits are compliance commodities acquired by adhering to emission compliance norms as laid out under the Kyoto Protocol.
They have emerged as lucrative markets with trades totalling $30 billion as of May 2007, according to World Bank figures. One carbon credit is currently estimated at ¤14-15 (Rs 786-842). For instance, a company is eligible to sell one credit if it reduces 1 tonne of greenhouse gas emissions at its project site.
The Rs 1.50 crore in carbon revenues would be just 2 per cent of the park's turnover. "It's not just the green money. The real satisfaction comes from being rated as the world's largest green building and the largest industrial park to get registered for carbon credits," Chordia said.
Ernst & Young is a consultant to the project, while French company SGS has validated the various clean development mechanisms (CDSs) underlying the project.
"Olympia Tech Park has the lowest energy consumption, high natural lighting systems, 100 per cent water recycling and other environment-friendly practices," Chordia said.
The building plays host to such as Hewlett-Packard, ABN-Amro, Visteon, Mindtree Technologies and a US telecom giant.
A third of the power needed to run the building is being currently met through renewable energy sources. Plans are afoot to gain more carbon credits by meeting two-thirds of the power requirements through renewable energy sources and other green practices in the next two years.
The steel-and-plexiglass fronted tech park, conceived in 2005, was awarded the LEED Gold rating by the US Green Building Council a few months ago.
The LEED building rating system, a measurement system designed for rating new and existing commercial, institutional and highrise residential buildings, evaluates aspects of human and environmental health, sustainable site development, energy efficiency, water conservation, selection of materials and indoor environmental quality. This rating system is widely adopted across the globe.
According to reports, green buildings consume at least 40-50 per cent less energy, 20-30 per cent less water, and result in 50-90 per cent cost savings in waste handling compared with conventional buildings.
This is achieved by adhering to strict emission control standards for greenhouse gases such as nitrous oxide, carbon dioxide and chloroflurocarbons.
Ironically, while green standards are being increasingly applied to industries and industrial parks worldwide, commercial and military aircraft still do not come under the purview of emission compliance norms.
Prem C Jain, chairman of the Indian Green Building Council, notes that the market potential for green building materials and equipment will reach Rs 15,000 crore by 2010.
Buildings in India with LEED ratings:
Platinum rated
  • Hiranandani BG House, Mumbai
  • Spectral Services Consultants Pvt Ltd, Noida
  • Ecospace, Kolkata
  • Gold rated
  • IGP office, Gulbarga
  • Olympia Technology Park, Chennai
  • ABN Amro, Chennai
  • Silver rated
  • Rane Institute of Employee Development, Chennai
  • Hyderabad Institute of Technology and Management
  • L&T EDRC 1, Chennai
  • First Published: Thu, September 27 2007. 00:00 IST