Sustainability is a mission grounded in the core beliefs of Indians everywhere. We wish great things for our country and our culture. We want India to be filled with healthy citizens, who are well-fed and well-sheltered. We care for our fellow humans, our future generations and Mother Earth. For us, everything is connected. All is one, and is part of the greater divine.
Over the last 20 years, India has made great accomplishments. We have positioned ourselves as one of the four great world powers. We have developed our economy with a robust urban infrastructure and supportive amenities in rural areas. We have scaled our technological infrastructure to promote education in rural areas and global innovation in our cities.
Sustainability in India is not just a dream or vision, it’s a mission that we can all participate in and succeed in. Yet, despite our successes, our challenges are vast. Our urban population has nearly doubled in the past 20 years, and this rapid urbanization has led to energy shortages, water scarcity and an air quality crisis. These challenges are threatening our infrastructure and putting severe pressures on how we deal with growing waste accumulations.
All of these issues have one thing in common—they can be addressed by building better buildings and communities, providing a singular gateway toward a more sustainable future. And our friends at International Finance Corporation (IFC) have handed us a key to making a sustainable future for all in India a reality with EDGE.
EDGE is a green building certification system for new residential and commercial buildings that enables design teams and project owners to assess the most cost-effective ways to incorporate energy and water saving options into their buildings. A mass-market transformation tool, EDGE will allow India to scale up green buildings in a fast, simple and affordable way. GBCI is the exclusive certification provider for all EDGE building projects in India.
What if we could effect a 20 percent savings across the board in our electricity and water use, a 20 percent decrease in embodied energy and improve the safety of the materials we use to construct our buildings? And what if we could spread those savings across 20 percent of all new construction in India? Think what that would mean in just 3–5 years: 1.3 million homes consuming less energy, power savings equal to 3,300 acres of solar farms, greenhouse gas emission reductions equivalent to 1 million cars off the road and water savings of 38 million m3 per year.
That’s the promise of EDGE: this gateway green building certification system is designed for emerging economies and accounts for local circumstances. It offers a pathway for locking in energy and water savings, lowering utility bills for consumers and securing emissions cuts for decades to come. It is not a small promise.
In a developing country like India—and for that matter, in any country in the world—sustainability is not just about better buildings or good design. It’s about not using any more than we need, so we can make sure there is enough to go around. What country is better equipped to achieve a sustainable future for all than India? Our parents and ancestors maintained a highly sustainable way of life. India is a country that originated the triple bottom line of people, planet and profit.
Keep in mind that since 70 percent of the buildings that are needed in India by 2030 haven’t been built yet, EDGE holds incredible promise in India. EDGE is a tremendous tool and deployed at scale, it will help us make progress towards our critical mission of sustainability for all. That’s how we will achieve the India we’ve imagined and how we will honor the children yet to come. We’re excited to partner with IFC and bring EDGE to India.