Wednesday, June 10, 2009

What green does a $8300 tiny green built apartment in India have?

Tata, the Indian auto giant (and owner of Jaguar), got lots of notice in the USA for its plan to build the world's lowest priced car (which isn't safe or clean enough for the USA).

Like Ford Motor Company in 1919, Tata also builds housing, some of which are aimed at the low income people who would likely work for them in Mumbai. In Boisar, a bus ride from the end of a suburban train and Tata factories, they will build Shubh Griha a gated complex of tiny apartments with shops, a hospital, recreational facilities and public spaces.

The apartments will be built under "the guidance of the Indian Green Building Council". The Indians have licensed the LEED program from the US Green Building Council. But it isn't clear whether these apartments which sell for about $30 a square foot will be Indian Leed certified.

I couldn't find any reference to how the apartments are to be heated but the complex would get Indian LEED credit for having services and shopping included, for being close to public transportation and for having 70% of the development open space.

Tata touts such features within the 283 sq foot to 465 square foot apartments as concealed plumbing, solid core flush doors, oil based paint and flush commodes, none of which seems to be outstandingly green from a US perspective.

Within the development green features include rainwater harvesting and vermiculture. A "Medicinal plantation" whatever that turns out to mean may be another green feature. Of course the small sizes of the apartments may be the most outstanding green attribute.

There are no references to recycled materials, advanced wall systems, super insulation or energy efficiency which are the most prominent features of US green construction. So although most of the publicity for the Shubh Griha mention the Indian GBC's involvement there are very few specifics available as to what that means.

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