Green buildings to rise
In the last decade, there has been a lot of focus and interest towards green commercial buildings from global and Indian corporates. This increasing interest has led to an accelerated availability of green building products, services and also enthusiasm from builders catering to this segment.
There has also been a significant increase in ‘green’ growth in the residential segment. There are now investors such as International Finance Corporation, UK government’s Department of International Development (DFID), and the National Housing Bank, which is significantly boosting this segment.
Green building concepts, when implemented to the required extent and intent, will help save water through rainwater harvesting and recycling of waste water, and in reaping benefits from the water energy nexus.
The compounded annual growth rate of electricity in the residential segment is over 8 per cent. One-third of electricity used in the country is for residential and commercial buildings. Whether it is water or energy, one can easily achieve benefits to the tune of 25 per cent or more.
Currently, Indian cities that offer incentives and concessions for green building development and use include Kolkata, Noida, Hyderabad, and Pune. Examples of such incentives include higher FAR and property tax incentives by Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation, the Pune Eco-housing program, etc. Linking property tax to actual performance and mandating a simplified region-specific list will help achieve attain green goals faster and in more cities.
Rating and certification
Today, there are a number of rating and certifying agencies for green construction existing in India. These include Indian Green Building Council, US Green Building Council (EDGE Program), Green Globes, Eco Housing program and MNRE’s GRIHA.
The time is now
Unsustainable growth inevitably leads to environmental changes which, if they cannot actually be reversed, at least must be slowed down. The onus of reducing environmental degradation obviously does not fall solely on the shoulders of sustainable real estate.
Green buildings, however, are definitely an obvious available solution, since they result in lower emissions. It is only a question of awareness and willingness.