Tag Archives: India Green Building Council

India 2nd after US in sustainable real estate projects

Posted on by Track2Realty

Bottom Line: But it is not enough, says Anuj Puri, Chairman – ANAROCK Property Consultants as ANAROCK’S latest real estate research report provides critical data and insights

india realty news, india real estate news, real estate news india, realty news india, india property news, property news india, india news, property news, real estate news, India Property, Anuj Puri, JLLM, Jones Lang LaSalle MeghrajAlthough sustainable real estate is still in a nascent stage in the country, India is actually one of the leading counties when it comes to green buildings development. In fact, India ranks only second after the U.S. in terms of the number of green technology projects and built-up area.

As of September 2017, more than 4,300 projects utilizing green technology, accounting for approximately 4.7 billion sq.ft. of built-up area, are registered in India as per data shared by IGBC.

True, this is only 5% of the total buildings in India. However, the country’s market for green buildings is expected to double in the next few years and may reach up to 10 billion sq.ft. by as early as 2022 – at a valuation of between US$ 35 billion to US$ 50 billion.

Why India needs green buildings

ANAROCK’s latest real estate research report “Go Green – The Mantra for Sustainable Living”explores the price we have paid for the rampant urbanization and massive population increase in the quest for faster economic growth. These dynamics have caused changes in our overall lifestyle and indeed our quality of life – but that is, arguably, not the worst of the fallout. It has also led to a significant depletion of our natural resources.

The rapid rate of depletion and concurrent steep rise in greenhouse gases emission and waste generation have resulted in continuous environmental degradation. This is the primary cause of climate change, the rise in average temperatures and deteriorating air quality in our cities.

In recent years, this alarming ecological dynamic has drawn the concerted attention of many countries and kick-started massive efforts to find ways and means to mitigate the rate of deterioration and ensure efficient use of natural resources.

Real estate development – a prime culprit

Real estate development is one of the biggest consumers of natural resources (water, energy, raw materials) and generates gargantuan amounts of wastes and pollutants. This sector alone ingests about 40% of natural raw materials, 25% of water and 35% energy resources. In addition, it emits 40% of wastes and 35% of greenhouse gases.

By adopting green building practices, the real estate sector can reduce its negative ecological footprint and simultaneously help create a more sustainable environment over the long haul.

Efforts towards sustainable real estate development involve the optimal use of natural resources, reduction and recycling of wastes, and significantly reduced pollutant emissions. A sustainable environment is the most precious legacy humankind can leave for the future generations.

What constitutes a green building?

The UEPA (US Environment Protection Agency) defines green building construction as the practice of using processes and technologies which are environmentally responsible and energy efficient throughout the building’s lifecycle.

This includes aptness of the site, design, construction, operations, maintenance, renovation and deconstruction. Green building construction technologies can reduce a building’s energy consumption by 20-30% and water consumption and 30-50%.

Benefits of Green Buildings:

Better air quality

Enhanced daylight 

Optimal use of water and electricity

Better health and wellbeing of occupants

Enhanced productivity

Protection of ecosystem 

LEED (USA), BREEAM (UK), DGNB (Germany) and CASBEF (Japan) are a few of the key global entities that define, categorize and certify green buildings across different countries. In India, IGBC and GRIHA are the torchbearers that define the green buildings’ norms.

Although the initial cost of constructing a green building can be relatively higher than in conventional ones, the enduring benefits such as low operating cost, better health and enhanced productivity makes sustainable real estate an extremely viable long-term investment decision for both developers and consumers.

A green building’s efficiency can be amplified by the adoption of innovative construction materials and better technologies.

There are many green building construction technologies being used across the world, including:

Biomimicry

Green Roofs

Vertical Gardens and Rain Gardens

Glass Fibre Reinforced Gypsum (GFRG) Panels

Cradle-to-cradle building design, and

Use of ‘smart’ glass panes  

Over the past few years, the Government (and various organizations and agencies focused on environmental protection) have been working hard to raise awareness about and inclination for green buildings.

The thrust is towards emphasizing that green buildings create a more sustainable environment through efficient use of energy and conservation of resources – and that these are issues for which everyone, from developers to consumers, must assume responsibility.

Challenges and Barriers

While green building practices are increasingly being adopted in India, there are few challenges and barriers too:

Limited awareness about green buildings practices and its long-term benefits: Even today, a large section of Indian users is unaware of green buildings’ enduring benefits and perceive them to be expensive and financially unfeasible options.

Inadequate government’s rules and policies:The lack and/or inadequacy of mandatory laws to enforce large-scale implementation of green buildings norms is not helpful.

Additional clearances and approvals: Developers already go through a tedious process of a multitude of approvals and are apprehensive of the additional burden of green compliances in the list of approvals, which can potentially cause more delays.

Insufficient incentives to encourage adoption:There are very few incentive plans, and those that exist vary across states and even cities, depending on different governing bodies. In the majority of cases, incentives are in the form of additional FAR, followed by a rebate on property tax and other schemes. However, these incentives have not been significant enough to encourage large-scale adoption of green buildings practices.

The high cost of equipment and products:The equipment and products used in green building construction definitely involve a higher cost than the conventional ones; though the added cost is marginal, many small contractors and developers cannot afford it.

Lack of skilled manpower and subject matter experts:In India, a majority of real estate industry stakeholders from policymakers to architects, engineers, contractors and workers simply don’t possess adequate skills and the knowledge required for green buildings construction.

In India, the growth of green buildings can be accelerated through standardization of norms, better incentive schemes, robust financial support system – and, most importantly, creating awareness among all stakeholders. Increased awareness about green buildings and their long-term benefits will surely boost the green buildings sector and lead to the faster expansion of this very vital market segment.

Green development policies contradictory

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Track2Realty Exclusive

News Point: While the policy makers in India insist the need for green development, various government agencies contradict each other on the same. 

Green Building, Green Development, IGBC, India Green Building Council, Smart Homes, LEED, India real estate news, Indian property market, Track2RealtyUrban habitation at the cost of environmental concerns have globally been debated and contested. In India the environmental concerns have often stalled big-ticket infrastructure projects and the government also vows its commitment to encourage the eco friendly and sustainable developments. However, some recent decisions have exposed the gap between the lip service of the policy makers and their commitment to the cause of eco friendly and sustainable developments.

A reality check would expose the double speak of the policy makers:

  • A Environmental Interest Litigation (EIL) in the National Green Tribunal (NGT) against the proposed Pune Metro Rail project strongly objects to the alignment of some portion of its route through river beds
  • For Delhi-Mumbai Freight Corridor project, 58 acres of the Mumbai’s green lung – the Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) – were de-reserved. The project will denude Thane of over 16 hectares of green cover at its northern end
  • Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) is completing another proposal that will strip SGNP bare of over 26 southern hectares, to make room for a road
  • In NCR lakhs of apartments were allowed near Okhla Bird Sanctuary through the MoEF notification 

These are some of the high-profile cases that appeared in the media limelight. The fact is that even more number of such conflicting development reports across the country suggests that the policy makers have thus far failed to evolve a development model where the compulsions of urban habitation do not comprise with the environmental concerns.

It clearly suggests that there is dichotomy at a policy level – where on one hand the need to be environment friendly and use green construction methods is reiterated, and on the other hand the decisions are taken on the contrary.

Vineet Relia, Managing Director of SARE Homes agrees that being a developing country, India has opted for the sustainable development model that aims to strike a balance between the need for economic growth with environmental protection and social equity. As a country, India cannot afford to slow down its pace of growth given that basic needs like housing and electricity for all still remains a distant dream.

“At the same time, we have to ensure that the growth is environment friendly and does not harm the natural habitat. We need to have all processes and regulations in place to do away with any harmful impact of the project on environment and the ecosystem. Are we really so short of habitable land in urban India that we need to compromise with the stated policy in principle of eco sensitive developments?,” asks Relia.

Manju Yagnik, Vice Chairperson, Nahar Group maintains that India is at a stage of rapid infrastructure development and there may be times when we initiate projects for overall development of the country which may be contradictory in nature at the policy level. The important aspect to note is that the government has framed policies keeping in mind protection of our natural habitat and safeguarding our green cover.

“Presently, infrastructure development and housing are one of the main thrust areas of the government and therefore such projects undertaken are in line with these policies. Most projects are undertaken only after detailed research is done based on various parameters like financial viability, location advantage, connectivity, convenience etc. We believe that such projects are not undertaken with the intention to destroy nature but keeping in mind the overall development of the country,” says Yagnik.

Availability of habitable land in urban areas is definitely a concern given the rising demographic graph. However, projects proposed in eco-sensitive areas need to be thoroughly evaluated before they are approved. As the smart cities plan has been rolled out, experts call for better planning where the existing and new cities should be developed on the principles of sustainable living.

In principle, no one would deny the need to maintain balance between development and environment. But where they lack is in introducing green and clean technologies in order to minimise adverse effects on ecology and environment as a result of development. Energy efficiency and clean power should also be the goal for all industries, not just real estate.

Environmental analysts point out that if natural habitat is being destroyed due to development of such projects then the government should look at alternate methods which will help in preserving and developing the green cover. Along with the development of infrastructure and housing, the government should also consider alternate methods to restructure and rebuild green covers.

There are innumerable occasions when projects have to pass through green areas as this is the shortest route available which results in shorter travel time that also reduces cost to the exchequer. And it brings the catch 22 of development for the policy makers.

By: Ravi Sinha