Surat: India's first LEED for Cities certified city

Ruchi Sneha

In 2018, GBCI awarded LEED Platinum certification to the city of Surat. The first city in India to receive LEED for Cities certification under the Platinum level, Surat achieved a score of 87 out of 100 points on Arc. Using Arc, the city was also able to able to benchmark itself against similar cities globally and locally on 14 metrics based on their energy, water, waste, transportation and human experience performance. Located in the state of Gujarat, Surat expands up to an area of 326 square km and has a population of 5.32 million.

Surat is the 8th largest and fastest growing city in India and is known for industries such as textile processing, diamond cutting and polishing, petrochemical, thermal power, fertilizer and heavy engineering. Surat has been demonstrating leadership globally, as well as nationally, and has secured a number 4 rank among 100 participating cities under the Smart City Mission announced by the Government of India. Surat is also a Gold level ISO 37120 certified city, has adopted a City Resilience Strategy developed in partnership with ACCRN, SMC and TARU and stands as the fourth cleanest city in India under Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.

Surat has been awarded full points in Arc under the energy, water and transportation categories. It has undertaken crucial initiatives to address increase in energy demand due to growth in the commercial and industrial sector, making it one of the most progressive cities in India. These initiatives are based on a committed target of 10% reduction in energy demand by 2016 and entails energy efficiency measures like adopting ESCO model, smart grid application and demand response as well as an increase in renewable energy production from solar PV installation, wind mills and biogas based power plants.

Additionally, Surat has been successful in providing quality water to 96% of its population and treats millions of gallons of wastewater to meet water demand in industries and landscaping. It has also taken initiatives for efficient use of water and reduction in loses by a water audit and leakage mapping. Surat has also been very conscious in managing waste produced in the city and aims to divert almost 80% of its waste from landfills by composting, vermi-composting, bio-methanation and using waste derive fuel.

Transportation is one of the largest contributors to GHG emissions in cities worldwide. Some of the initiatives adopted by Surat to manage the transportation experience of its residents are development of BRTS and reducing traffic congestion on roads. Last but not the least, with the use of e-governance and ICT for administration, it has been able to provide a better experience to the people of Surat.

Surat’s LEED journey started when won the LEED Performance Challenge held in 2016. In order to achieve LEED for Cities certification, Surat Municipal Corporation played a vital role in following an integrative process to bring together various departments to understand the value of LEED and collate data on the 14 metrics tracked in Arc. As a leader in LEED adoption, Surat is now inspiring a number of Indian cities to evaluate their performance on a global platform and take relevant initiatives in improving themselves.

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