KEEPING PACE WITH THE SUSTAINABILITY DEMANDS
Synergies between designers, developers and product manufacturers can help create products that are responsive to the immediate environment whilst being affordable for masses.
TEXT: RUSTAM SINGH
The subject of discussion for the experts gathered together by Realty+ was how to push the envelope when it comes to environmentally sensitive, design, construction, products usage and maintenance. The surveys point out that consumers aren’t hesitant to pay premium for sustainable building or a product but is the design & construction industry going beyond the necessary to make sustainability more and more affordable?
As a real estate developer, K. Mukund Raj, CEO, Raymond Realty was of the view that while, ecofriendly was just a trend earlier it now has become a necessity. “The government mandates, increasing awareness among homebuyers and the influx of green products has made ecofriendly construction feasible for developers without worrying about an extra pinch while also reducing building lifecycle costs. For example, advancements in Green technologies such as solar have reduced prices drastically in past few years, bringing almost at par with regular technology.”
Amar Tendulkar, Chief of Design and Sustainability, Mahindra Lifespaces Developers Ltd. emphasizing the same point said, “Since customers today are more aware of the impact of their properties, they presser green products and manufacturers need to comply to the market demands. Cost wise too, if calculated, gold and platinum rated buildings hardly cost 3-4 % more, a price which pays itself off in next few years”
OPERATIONAL AND STRATEGIC AGILITY
Over the past decade, sustainability has shifted from a luxury to a necessity in all spheres of life, including the real estate business. Consumers from all income ranges not only seek sustainable products, fixtures and designs for their residential, commercial, retail, industrial and other spaces, but also look forward to associating with companies and service providers that practice resource utility and efficiency.
As rightly said by Lalita Tharani, Co-Founder & Principal Architect, Collaborative Architecture, “Sustainability starts from the planning itself. Whether it’s the most luxurious space or the most affordable building, right from the design to construction and lifecycle of our project, the structure is designed with intelligent architecture maximizing the natural light, ventilation and other resources planned activity and then complemented with the best suited technology and products to increase efficiencies during the building life cycle.”
Interestingly, the building products are becoming innovative enough to influence consumer’s behavior and not just vice versa. Bringing in the manufacturers take on the sustainable products, Vihan Jain, Managing Director, Vihan Electricals said, “Modern electric fixtures like LEDs, dimmers and controls save massive amounts of electricity. The building products that have long shelf life and induce energy efficiency are most favored by homeowners. While, the awareness is growing among the masses for going green, stricter laws for builders will ensure, the eco-friendly products find their place in all projects.”
According to Gurmit Singh Arora, Vice Chairman – CII, IGBC & National President – Indian Plumbing Association, the future is Net Zero buildings that generate equal amount of renewable energy as used by the building on an annual basis. “We have certified several buildings which are net zero, meaning not using any water or electricity from the grid. That’s already been implemented and we’d see more in the future,” he stated.
Sustainability is a community centric, participative process. Globally, real estate sector is aiming for net zero developments. In India, incentive based systems by government authorities for designers and builders will augment the consumption of sustainable products.
- LEDs and electricity saving lighting controls are becoming the standard in most projects.
- Water recycling and management are being adopted across integrated townships being developed in the country.
- The economies of scale is making solar street lighting cheaper and a popular option.
- Once imported, now Indian manufactured insulating glass costs less, saves carbon footprint as also cooling and heating expense for commercial buildings. • Bio-composting solutions adopted by commercial and residential establishments as well as smaller housing societies is a commendable trend.