Rising population leads to a rising demand for accommodation which leads to massive deforestation which in turn leads to environmental degradation. This is more of like a vicious cycle and we can’t get out of it until we check our rising population but even if we start working on those lines, it won’t yield results overnight. Bringing down the graph of population growth is a slow process.
So, does that mean there is no way out to save our environment? This is where green buildings come to play. A green building is one where the planning, design, construction, and operations of buildings are done with several central, foremost considerations like energy use, water use, indoor environmental quality, material section and the building's effects on its site.
Fortunately, India is currently witnessing a surge in the demand for green buildings. Residential as well as commercial property developers are switching towards green buildings. According to a Dodge Data and Analytics, global green buildings are expected to double every three years and India is a part of that trend.
Amit Raj, owner Earth Infrastructure told BW Businessworld, “Yes, this is a positive trend; we are witnessing an increase in demand for green buildings. In a growing economy like India, fast and economical resources of development are required but considering the future of earth and our environment’s sustainability is no more a choice but a need. Moreover, the government should also roll out incentives linked to green buildings to encourage real estate sector.”
India also ranks third among top the 10 countries in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building rankings 2017 by United States Green Building Council. Canada topped the green rankings, followed by China and India.
Abrar Hussain, Secretary, Green Field told BW Businessworld, “Green buildings can play a significant role in conserving the environment and in an increasingly urban society where the need for housing will keep on rising, they can play an instrumental role in maintaining the ecological balance.”
The Indian government is also taking a serious interest in green buildings which is evident from the fact that two flagship schemes have been launched to drive urban transformation and economic growth – The “Smart Cities Mission” and the “Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT)”. The focus on creating better cities is a welcome development, at a time when India’s urban population is expected to increase to 600 million by 2030, from 400 million today.
All necessary approvals related to constructing a building and obtaining no objection certificate from the corporation have been made online through the single window system under the concept. Earlier, the model bylaws were to be implemented only in smart cities, but now these are being implemented in cities covered under the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) scheme as well.
Municipal Corporation Bathinda (MCB) has recently decided to work on green building concept. MCB Commissioner Anil Kumar Garg said, “Green buildings will be constructed for the benefit of the environment. Under its water harvesting system, solar plants will be installed and construction to be done in such a way that minimum lights be installed.”
The concept is not just beneficial for the environment but also for common man explained Garg adding, “The concept will benefit residents as the outline of the building will be completed within 30 days. Punjab energy conservation buildings will get 15 per cent rebate on the property tax. In housing colonies, the approval has been given to construct a basement below the green belt.”
According to estimates provided by the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII), there are around 3,947 registered green buildings across the country, spread over 4.5 billion square feet. The green building concept has been gaining prominence in India with an increasing number of initiatives, primarily by the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) a division of CII.
However, in India, environmental agendas and green buildings are often based on the precedents of developed countries. The 2004 draft for the National Environmental Policy of India received heavy criticism for this reason. Since the issues of water and sanitation are more critical than energy efficiency in India, initiatives like green building are often neglected in India. Availability of green building products and technologies, affordability of green buildings products and lack of awareness of the need and importance of green buildings are the major impediments to the development of green infrastructure in India.
The demand for the green real estate can be generated by creating more awareness in the consumers. The government should also roll out incentives linked to green buildings and make them affordable for the common man as there is little sense in spending millions on the best technology to create the greenest of green buildings if very few Indians can associate with them and even fewer can afford.
(This article was originally published in BW Businessworld and is written by Prateek Shukla.)