Green Housing in the Indian Real Estate Market

Green Housing in the Indian Real Estate Market
Mar 2016 , by , in ARTICLE

Evolution and outlook

Indians have always been aware of Green Building concepts. Our ancestors had conventional homes with baked red colour roof tiles and clay made walls; energy efficient structures that used to keep the house cool during summers and warm during the winters. Most of rural India still follows this building technology with naturally available materials like clay, wood, jute ropes, etc. Today, we have advanced technologies that create smarter systems to control lighting systems, power, inside temperature, water supply and waste generation.

Builders are becoming increasingly conscious of the changing environmental conditions and doing everything in their capacity to reduce the carbon footprint at every stage of construction. According to latest data released by Indian Green Building Council (IGBC), India is having the second largest green building footprint in the world with over 2.2 billion sq. ft. This trend highlights the growth opportunities present in India for Green Building projects. IGBC expects every Indian to live in a green home with increased quality of life by the year 2032.

In order to promote such green structures, there is a need to have a transparent and much simpler mechanism in place. CREDAI – the industry body, has been demanding from the government to do away with no objection certificates and implement online registrations of building permissions. Once accepted, green construction will get a much needed boost that will also help environment conservation.

Features & basic requirements

The primary requisite for any Green building project is that the project should be certified by IGBC which is the apex body in this segment. Green building integrates environmental considerations into every stage of the project construction and focuses on design, operation and maintenance of a building. The major factors taken into account here are resource efficiency, indoor environmental quality, design and development efficiency, energy and water efficiency and the building’s overall impact on the environment.

Energy efficiency is one of the most important factors in all green building projects. Builders also recommend the use of LED products and 5 star rated electronic equipment to reduce the consumption of power.

Careful window selection, duct sealing, proper passage for ventilation, building envelope air sealing and vapour barriers, use of clean energy-powered heating/cooling systems contribute towards an energy efficient building. Use of renewable energy, such as wind, solar or biomass energy, to meet energy requirements can significantly reduce carbon footprints of environment friendly houses and buildings.

Green homes also focus on water conservation by employing more efficient water delivery and recycling system. Minimization of water usage is another important feature of a green building. This helps in reducing the damaging effects of excessive water use and its effects on surrounding areas.

An environment friendly home reduces operational costs to a considerable extent. Green buildings typically include access to views, noise control, superior air quality and abundant natural light which benefits the residents making these building better places to work or live.

Maintenance post construction

The initial construction costs of a green building may be 3% to 5% higher for a Platinum rated Green efficient building than a conventional building. However, the higher cost gets paid back within three to four years with substantial reduction in operational costs of the project.

The maintenance cost of green buildings is less compared to conventional buildings. The features of these buildings contribute to efficient use of all the systems required for building construction. The long run benefits of building Green projects lie in lower energy consumption, reduced waste and water costs, lower environmental and emissions costs, lower operational and maintenance costs. It is also important for customers to be aware of the green practices and ensure that they are followed diligently.

Value Engineering (VE)

While there are many methods of constructing a green building, the implementation of VE has played an important role in effectively executing such projects. In recent times, VE is being implemented in high-rise buildings that are gaining popularity. VE is a skill set imparted as part of project management or industrial engineering and is a technique through which the value of the output in a system is maximized by associating its performance with costs.

Value Engineering represents the systematic method of performing the required necessary operations at the lowest overall cost. It is understood as a systematic method of identifying and eliminating extraneous expense – that is, expense that does not have any effect on the final product.

Value Engineering at Sobha Limited

Sobha Limited has implemented the concept of VE in one of its new high-rise building projects – Sobha Indraprastha. For this, it conducted a detailed study on the technology and its usage. The study helped in understanding the ways to reduce the carbon footprints in the manufacturing of concrete products. VE has helped in lowering the cement composition in every cubic meter of concrete, mitigating the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions into the atmosphere. Not only does VE helps in containing the CO2 emission but also results in lot of operational cost savings.

The best green practices are followed in all Sobha’s properties. By default, almost all of the projects qualify for a Gold rating. Ample open spaces and greenery are also ensured in all the properties. Sobha Silicon Oasis, for example, has a 4.5 acre of central forest area which is meant to host a plethora of natural recreational activities for the young and the old alike. Solar heating facilities are also provided in the projects to promote sustainability concept.

Sobha Limited is contributing towards environment and using eco-friendly products like GGBS (Ground granulated blast furnace slag) at precast plants at Jigani, Bengaluru for manufacturing Concrete blocks and paver units. Moreover, GGBS is being used in the company’s land mark project Sobha Indraprastha project, near Gopalpura, (close to Majestic) in Bengaluru which is, by far, one of the tallest building, constructed at Bengaluru with 34 floors! At this project, 55000 cubic metres of concrete was produced with 50% replacement of ordinary portland cement with GGBS. Further, smart dynamic concrete is being extensively used to make the construction faster and no vibrator was used for compacting the concrete. With the success from the above project, the same concreting techniques are now being replicating at another project – Sobha Silicon Oasis, at Bengaluru.

The advantages include:
• Nearly 10,000 MT of CO2 emission was mitigated in this project which on an average equals to 5, 00,000 trees as 1MT of CO2. It is almost same as planting 50 trees!
• The concrete used at Sobha Indraprastha project has attained very good long term strength by use of GGBS as we have done testing for concrete cubes up to 180 days.
• The use of GGBS with cement in concrete is well established in this project. For the past several years, there has been a substantial growth in the use of GGBS in Bengaluru and other southern cities. At Indraprastha, M25 grade smart dynamic concrete (SDC) is designed as per IS:10262-2009 guidelines of desired parameters to retain the slump for 150 minutes at 160-180 mm with 50% OPC and 50% GGBS making it greener, without compromising the early and ultimate properties of concrete. Cubes of desired numbers were cast to test the compressive strength at 3, 7, 28, 56, 90 and180 days and results are tabulated below.

From the above test results, it can be concluded that usage of GGBS as partial replacement to cement helps in increasing in strength more than only cement concrete. Also, GGBS involves in both hydraulic and pozzolanic reactions, and hence concrete strength keeps on increasing as the age of concrete increases. Moreover, field trials have helped in building the confidence on GGBS and OPC blended concrete among concerned Engineers at job site to implement in their other applications of concrete.

Need to spread awareness and incentivize developers

Today, facilities such as water recycling plants, solar powered lighting systems and organic waste converters are provided by default in most of Sobha’s projects. These facilities have been introduced based on the premise that an environment friendly house is pocket friendly and helps in maintaining individual’s budget by significantly reducing maintenance expenses. However educating customers is necessary while they are browsing for homes so that they can make informed decisions.

Additionally, the fact that green structures bring along an additional premium, that adds up to the project cost and ultimately passed on to the buyers, government should incentivise developers so that customers could reap the monetary benefits. This will help in lifting the demand for such green projects.

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