Over the past few decades, climate change has become a global issue. According to leaders of the world, the biggest challenge is pursuing countries to cut down on greenhouse gas emissions. A new report from the United Nations paints a grim picture of the climate situation as 37 percent of energy-related carbon dioxide emissions came from the construction sector. Considering the context of India, the construction sector is estimated to grow steadily in the next few years. Hence, we cannot underestimate the need for green practices and strategies in construction. 

But how can we achieve this? With the lack of knowledge of this kind of building practice, TERI (The Energy and Resources Institute) took upon itself the responsibility of acting as a driving force to popularize green buildings in India. Being committed to every aspect of sustainable development, they developed a tool called GRIHA to measure and rate a building’s environmental performance in India’s varied climate and building practices.

All about Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment (GRIHA) - Sheet1
GRIHA Logo_©www.grihaindia.org/newsletter/aug18.html

What is GRIHA?

GRIHA (Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment) is an independent, non-profit society established jointly by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) and the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE). In 2007, the government adopted it as the National Rating System for Green Buildings in India.

Through a thorough assessment of the whole life cycle of a building, GRIHA provides a standard for evaluating green buildings and sustainable habitats. The goal is to minimize waste generation, resource consumption, and the overall ecological impact of habitats and built environments. GRIHA works on the underlying principle, ” What gets measured gets managed”. 

The rating system has been acknowledged as the tool to evaluate the reduction in emission intensity through habitats, as part of the mitigation strategy for combating climate change in INDIA’s “Nationally Determined Contributions” (NDCs) submitted to UNFCCC. By joining the Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction, the system recognizes that the buildings and construction sector can make a significant contribution toward resource minimization and mitigating climate change.

All about Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment (GRIHA) - Sheet2
GRIHA timeline_©www.grihaindia.org/newsletter/aug18.html

Tool outcome | GRIHA

Each building receives a sustainability rating ranging from one to five stars, depending on the total point score.


All about Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment (GRIHA) - Sheet3
Academic Complex, IIT Madras_©nvrk.iitm.ac.in

Buildings including offices, institutions, hostels, hospitals, and housing complexes, in the pre-design/design stage, are eligible for certification under GRIHA. Industrial complexes are not eligible for this certification.

Objectives of GRIHA

1) Minimize a building’s use of resources, waste generation, and overall ecological footprint.

2) Evaluates the environmental performance of a building holistically over its entire life cycle, thereby providing a definitive standard for what constitutes a ‘green building.’ 

3) Based on the energy and environmental principles, seeks to strike a balance between the established practices and emerging concepts.

4) Reduced energy consumption without sacrificing the comfort level.

5) Reduced destruction of natural areas, habitats, biodiversity, reduced soil loss from erosion, etc

Griha Rating System- Variants of GRIHA


Also known as Simple Versatile Affordable GRIHA, was developed to spread the concept of green buildings and sustainability to small-scale stakeholders, that is, owners of projects such as bungalows and small offices. To promote adoption by the general public and further minimize GHG emissions caused by small-scale constructions, it was developed as a simple guidance-calculating tool. All new construction projects with a built-up area of 100 m2 ≤ x ≤ 2500 m2 are eligible for certification under SVAGRIHA.

2) GRIHA for Large Developments 

GRIHA LD intends to provide a consolidated framework for the assessment of the environmental impacts of large-scale developments. The large developments include largely mixed-use townships and educational, institutional buildings. Buildings having built-up areas of more than 50 hectares are eligible for certification. 

3) GRIHA for Existing Building

All operational buildings having a built-up area greater than 2,500 sq. m. are eligible for certification under GRIHA for Existing Buildings rating. The typology of buildings includes offices, retail spaces, institutional buildings, hotels, hospital buildings, healthcare facilities, residences, and multi-family high-rise buildings.

4) GRIHA for Cities

The GRIHA for Cities rating aims to achieve sustainable development for cities, both existing and proposed. The rating sets performance benchmarks for key resources such as energy, water, and waste; and evaluates the project’s performance in areas such as smart governance, social wellbeing, and transportation. The rating sets performance benchmarks for key resources such as energy, water, and waste; and evaluates the project’s performance in areas such as smart governance, social wellbeing, and transportation. The rating targets all cities, and towns with civic/local bodies, such as Municipal Corporation and Municipal Council. Urban agglomerations having more than one civic body can go for a rating in phases as well.  

Rating Criteria

The rating system is a 100 point system consisting of 30 criteria under eleven sections such as Sustainable Site Planning, Construction Management, Energy Efficiency, Occupant Comfort, Water Management, Solid Waste Management, Sustainable Building Materials, Life Cycle Costing, Socio-Economic Strategies, Performance Metering and Monitoring, and Innovation.  

Section wise percentage as of 2019_© archi-monarch.com/griha-rating-structure/

The points assigned to different criteria are based on a survey conducted to better reflect the current resource priorities of India. The point split of various sections is as follows.

1) Site Planning – 12%

2) Energy – 18%

3) Occupant Comfort and Well Being – 12%

4) Water – 16%

5) Sustainable Building Materials – 12%

6) Construction Management – 4%

7) Solid Waste Management – 6%

8) Socio-Economic Strategies – 8%

9) Performance Monitoring and Validation – 7%

Whereas for existing buildings, the sustainability is assessed across six categories:

Site parameters, Maintenance, and housekeeping, Energy, Water, Human health and comfort, and Social aspects.


  1. Grihaindia. About Us. [Online]. Available at : https://www.grihaindia.org/

Mrinal is a curious, open-minded person who is keen to explore the world around her. She is a nature lover who enjoys traveling, reading, sketching, and photography. She believes that words are portable magic. She yearns to share the tales of Cities, Architecture, Nature, Cultures, and People through her writing.