Building sustainable future
The green projects have grown considerably in India over the past eight years, thanks to initiatives undertaken by developers as well as state and central governments.
Green buildings are basically the ones which use fewer resources and have a lesser negative impact on the environment. Such buildings use less water, optimise energy efficiency, conserve natural resources and generate less waste.
India currently has two major rating systems: LEED India, run by the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC); and Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment (GRIHA), a system developed by The Energy and Research Institute (TERI) and the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.
Major developers like Tata Housing, Godrej Properties, K Raheja, Kalpataru, Mahindra Lifespace Developers, Inorbit Malls, The 3C Company, Ackruti City besides others had initiated the process of developing green building in India which is fast catching up among other developers.
Positive beginning in India
Tata Housing has been one of the biggest proponents of green initiatives in the Indian Real Estate space. Its first green development project was Xylem, which is also Bengaluru's first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environment Design) Gold-certified green IT park. The company's other properties such as Aquila Heights in Bengaluru and Raisina Residency in Gurgaon are also IGBC Gold certified green developments, while the company’s premium luxury villas at Lonavala is platinum rated by IGBC. As on today, Tata Housing is developing over 45 million sq.ft, which is under various stages of developments, all built under the guidelines drawn by IGBC.
“We pioneered the concept of green buildings, way back in 2006 by developing Bangalore’s first sustainable green IT Park – ‘Xylem’. This IT Park has been designed to tackle the ‘Sick building syndrome’, with its major focus on occupants’ health with an ergonomic design and architecture. The design boosts employee productivity as well as helps reduce the operational cost of the building. Since Xylem, all our projects, right from low-cost housing to ultra-premium luxury residences, are duly certified by IGBC. Green development forms the core of our corporate governance policy,” says Brotin Banerjee, MD & CEO, Tata Housing.
“The future for green buildings is looking bright at the moment. The market has slowly transformed and green buildings are becoming the norm. A pleasant outcome of this emphasis on sustainability is that building design is going back to its roots of solar passive architecture. Traditional design features like shading devices, jalis, mass cooling, natural ventilation etc are being reconsidered and this trend is expected to pick up,” says Hisham Ahmed, an energy analyst at Environmental Design Solutions (EDS) Global.
According to him, the green building movement is also moving at a rapid pace. “LEED India is diversifying with more specific rating systems like Green factories, Green SEZs, Green townships etc. The GRIHA rating system has added SvaGraiha for residential buildings,” he adds.
Mumbai-based Ackruti City Ltd which is currently developing Ackruti Greenwoods, a Gold precertification residential projects in Thane, says the trend of eco- friendly is fast catching up with the construction industry, as it has become imperative to move towards sustainable development, especially in the view that there would be more building activity in future, which would affect the ecological balance if care is not taken.
“Commercial and residential sectors continue to be a major market for the construction industry. These sectors consume a lot of energy throughout the life cycle of buildings thus becoming a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Hence responsible construction activity is imperative. The solutions lie in embarking on sustainable development by adhering to green building norms- the most essential element being the efficient use of resources such as energy, water and material, so as to ensure that the building maintenance activities do not burden the environment and promote health of the occupants” says Hemant Shah, Chairman, Ackruti City Ltd.
Rahul Saraf, MD of Forum Projects who has completed its first green project Technopolis feels developers are slowly realizing the need and advantages of green building in India and thus there is a massive growth in green buildings. His company is developing Technopolis 2, an environmentally compliant IT Resort and a luxury residential project Atmosphere, both are green project. “I think the future of green building in India is very bright. The IGBC is making a tremendous effort to incorporate green building techniques in majority of developments in India. Whereas, GRIHA aims at ensuring that all kinds of buildings become green buildings. The strength of GRIHA lies in the fact that it rates even non-air conditioned buildings as green and puts great emphasis on local and traditional construction knowledge,” Saraf adds.