Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment (GRIHA) is a rating tool that helps people assess their building performance against certain national benchmarks. GRIHA focuses to minimize a building’s resource consumption, waste generation, and overall ecological impact by quantifying these aspects helping to control and reduce them to the best possible extent. Indian Institute of Gandhinagar (IIT Gandhinagar) is an institute that has been constantly working towards sustainability and developing a green campus since the initial stage. 

IIT Gandhinagar- India’s first campus to receive a five-star GRIHA LD rating - Sheet1
IIT Gandhinagar©
IIT Gandhinagar- India’s first campus to receive a five-star GRIHA LD rating - Sheet2
IIT Gandhinagar©

The master plan of the institute came into existence in consideration of the sustainability aspect of the campus. The campus was thus honored with the five-star GRIHA rating after completion in the year 2017.

Master plan of IIT Gandhinagar-©Rasika Hivrekar

Under the guidance of the visionary director of the institute- Dr. Sudhir Jain, the institute has been upscaling concerning values, knowledge, and sustainability. He states- “Sustainability is a key focus at IIT Gandhinagar in everything we do and that includes the development of our campus. The IIT Gandhinagar master plan demonstrates that green initiatives need not come with a hefty price tag.”

The consultants who supported the phase 1 construction were: Mitimitra Consultants Pvt. Ltd, HCP Design Planning & Management Pvt. Ltd., Vastu Shilpa Consultants, and Jhaveri Associates. The renewable energy installation on the campus is proposed to have 500 kWp capacity for the site area of 211795 sq.m. The aspects which make the campus green and sustainable are:

1. Sustainable site planning | IIT Gandhinagar 

The hard paving has been avoided and the landscape is merged with the building clusters to reduce the increase in outdoor ambient air temperature. Stormwater management is done to reduce peak run-off water quantity. The holding ponds are implemented on the campus as a sustainable urban drainage system.

IIT Gandhinagar- India’s first campus to receive a five-star GRIHA LD rating - Sheet3
IIT Gandhinagar©Rasika Hivrekar

Zero Sewage Discharge

To have a zero discharge campus, there are no outgoing sewage lines from the campus to the municipality. The wastewater and sewage generated on campus are treated through anaerobic reactors and a root zone treatment system. The water recycled is piped separately throughout the campus for irrigation purposes.

Root Zone Treatment system, sewage treatment process takes place when Canna indica plant roots absorb pollutants from effluent-©

2. Optimization of Energy

In comparison to GRIHA LD base buildings, the campus is 46% more energy efficient. The energy optimization is gained by reducing heat gain or increasing cooling in the campus. The architects opted for fly ash bricks for the construction which generates the lowest heat gain. Fly ash bricks were used in the cavity walls and outside walls of the campus buildings. Exclusive use of exposed concrete and grit plaster is done externally. The central court called- Samvad court (court of ‘kites in the sky’) uses an interesting concept of perforated shade. An interesting play of light and shadows can be observed in space.

IIT Gandhinagar- India’s first campus to receive a five-star GRIHA LD rating - Sheet4
IIT Gandhinagar-Central space of academic complex-©
IIT Gandhinagar- India’s first campus to receive a five-star GRIHA LD rating - Sheet5
Play of light and shadows-©Rasika Hivrekar

A Passive Downdraft Evaporative Cooling(PDEC) technique using a mist pump has been adopted for the dining hall. It helps reduce the indoor temperature with hardly any energy consumption. Academic Complex Building 7 uses a combination of a PDEC mist pump, a night purge system, and a cavity wall system. Jali screens have been provided to reduce glare in housing buildings. The use of various passive cooling techniques is seen throughout the campus. All these techniques help to cope with the harsh summers in this region.

IIT Gandhinagar-The Dining Hall- ©
Jali screens in housing buildings-©

A building monitoring system(BMS) is installed to manage cooling strategies. In the case of street light 85% more energy efficiency is observed. Street lights designed here meet the minimum lighting requirement, installed with automatic switches. 

Solar carport

The campus demands approximately 1MW of energy, of which the solar carport and the rooftop solar panels together can provide 500kWp.The 90 vehicles carport is created to facilitate safe parking space on the campus. This is the first and one of a kind facility in the region paving a path for future adaptations of the same model.

IIT Gandhinagar- India’s first campus to receive a five-star GRIHA LD rating - Sheet6
IIT Gandhinagar-Solar carport-©
IIT Gandhinagar- India’s first campus to receive a five-star GRIHA LD rating - Sheet7
Solar panels above pathway connecting hostels and academic complex- ©Rasika Hivrekar

3. Water management | IIT Gandhinagar

The institute reduces its annual water demand by 41.86% through the reuse of treated wastewater. All fixtures used in the campus are low-flow fixtures.100% wastewater is treated by the DEWATS system installed on-site.

Rainwater Harvesting and Storage: Jal Mandaps

An innovative system of rainwater harvesting has been developed on campus. The campus building rooftops are connected to a stormwater collection pipe network. These pipes are then connected with a gravity feed system to six rainwater storage structures located throughout the campus. They are inspired by the concept of associating architectural features with water conservation structures, e.g. step-wells or vavs in Gujarat. 

IIT Gandhinagar- India’s first campus to receive a five-star GRIHA LD rating - Sheet8
Jalmandap-©Rasika Hivrekar

4. Solid waste management

Biogas plants and compost pits are installed on the campus to treat all the organic waste. Food waste from the hostel mess is segregated at the source and is fed to the biogas plant. The compost pits take all other organic kitchen waste— vegetable peelings, etc. later used as manure in the landscaping.

The segregation of waste is done at the source. The institute’s ‘Green Office’ is actively involved in waste reduction initiatives, along with other green campus efforts. Staff training, monitoring the implementation of various initiatives, and providing general education regarding waste reduction is done.

IIT Gandhinagar- India’s first campus to receive a five-star GRIHA LD rating - Sheet9
IIT Gandhinagar-Biogas plant –©
IIT Gandhinagar-Compost pit-©

5. Sustainable transport | IIT Gandhinagar

Site planning has been done to improve walkability in the campus through continuous and universally accessible footpaths. A green transportation mode is provided on the campus by two CNG-based vans that drive several times a day between the housing block and the Academic Complex. Electric charging facilities are provided for more than 10% of the total car and two-wheeler parking slots. A ‘Sustainable Cycle Pooling Initiative’ for students, staff, and faculty exists on the campus.

IIT Gandhinagar- India’s first campus to receive a five-star GRIHA LD rating - Sheet10
IIT Gandhinagar©

The author had an opportunity to be in the IIT Gandhinagar campus as an architectural intern, under the guidance of principal architect-Ar. Vikram Hundekar and senior architect-Ar. Dhara Mehta. She observed the practical implementation of the practices mentioned above and was amazed by the visionary leaders of the institute, guiding youngsters towards a greener, sustainable India.



A person who is passionate about art defines Rasika Hivrekar precisely, resonating with the meaning of her name. She is a final year architecture student. She believes self-expression is the best gift to mankind and loves exploring new avenues of it. Along with architecture, she is passionate about writing and music as well.