Green Construction is Cost Efficient and Profitable Too

Green Construction

A project's early approach to green can prove major savings in the energy and water areas and attain a premium rating for the project along with cost neutrality
By Ar. Anshul P Gujarathi

The parameters for environment friendly construction practices have always been a part of the byelaws and the literature of construction authorities in our country. International protocols and growing awareness in the global scenario created the need in the Indian markets to get official recognition for going green. The rating tool offered a similar concept which was further associated with project branding and measurement of green status. The globally recognised ratings made their way to India with modification applicable to the regional context.

"Green building (also known as green construction or sustainable building) refers to both a structure and the using of processes that are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building's life-cycle: from siting to design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation, and demolition," as defined in the Wikipedia. Green buildings can also be referred to as structures that ensure efficient use of natural resources in their construction. Use of eco-friendly building materials, savings in water and energy and other resources with minimal generation of non-degradable waste, are key parameters for green buildings. Further to the basic systems in the defined green way, technology support enhances the greenness quotient of the project. Technologies prove very helpful to help measure the actual savings that reflect in the system.

In the past decade, green certifications attained popularity and were widely adopted in the country with the base thought of sustainability. Additional advantages of branding and / or expediting the associated intricate clearance processes or incentives add to this expanding green footprint. Many stakeholders help the building industry embrace sustainability, both practically and theoretically, stressing on the actual implementation of green building practices in construction. Association of Municipal tax rebates or additional FSI schemes have further added to the intent of going green, giving monetary gains to the developer and the end-user either directly or indirectly. The degree of greenness is proportionally linked with the incentives that help in pushing the stakeholders to go with premium ratings. On the other hand, there are few reservations realized with green buildings amongst which the cost factor remains at the top.

Various studies have been performed on the factors that prove responsible for increased costs in Green Buildings when compared to conventional ones. Green certification programs define the certification process with certain parameters and standards that can be linked directly for applicability and cost factors along with their points being achieved for certification. The parameters often considered for study mostly pertain only to that project and prove non-applicable to other projects. This is mainly due to certain limitations including typology, site, design brief, resources, proposed materials, amenities and many in line parameters.

It is generally believed that a premium rated project demonstrates higher increase in cost while projects with lower ratings show lower cost increment. This, however, did not hold good for a few certified residential projects in Pune when their costs with green certification program scores were analyzed. The projects, on the contrary, demonstrated that if design is solar-passive and with eco materials, they prove to give less strain on services and design, and save more energy and resources with enhanced rating. Savings in resources and energy result in direct monetary savings along with the special incentives designed by authorities for projects in certain corporation limits. For most of the green projects, the gap of cost could have been easily bridged and the anticipated additional cost would have been nullified maintaining the same point cadre.

In the past decade, most of the cost-related studies included commercial (office) and institutional buildings on a large scale while fewer studies are available for residential buildings. An attempt was made to study the cost parameters for certified buildings in Pune city wherein a detailed cost analysis was carried out, along with the scorecard comparison for the rating attempted and achieved. First, a detailed study for available rating systems was done and variables were derived from the most preferred rating systems in the region. It was noted that maximum points and weightage lie with the main credits while the supporting credits are designed to some extent to influence the main points adding to the green quotient. Further, a detailed analysis for these parameters was carried out based on their cost impact against each of the criteria. The mandated parameters were negated and only impacts of green certification were noted.

BCIL Bangalore

The cost impact was limited to the first costs, the projects were segregated on the basis of their built-up areas, and three set of typologies were derived. As a first observation, it was seen that the projects having green certifications have impacts for cost rise, although this rise is very insignificant. As the area goes on increasing, the difference between green and conventional cost appears to reduce to neutrality. The gap was very less to bridge between the green and conventional costs and could be brought to neutrality with few efficient steps.

Secondly, the top ten activities or parameters responsible for increase in the cost of green projects were identified.

Focus on these ten parameters covered 86% of the cost incremental factors. The factors majorly included the eco- material usage including efficient glass, overall services including water treatment and recycling, and renewable systems. Efficient native landscape adopted by most of the projects appeared in the lower part of the list. These top ten expensive activities of each site were identified and activities were ranked, based on the proportion of sites listing a particular activity to the total number of sites attempting that activity. For example, a solar water heater was provided on nineteen sites out of twenty-two, and for all those sites this activity was identified amongst the top ten expensive activities.

Next was the worst-case identification wherein the project received lower rating with maximum cost implication in comparison to other projects. There was high probability realized for major cost reduction with efficient materials, services and native landscape design in these cases. An early approach to green can prove major savings in the energy and water areas and attain a premium rating for the project along with cost neutrality for the project. An efficient team with like-minded stakeholders ready to explore all aspects in totality will lead the project towards a net zero concept, adding the benefit of lower maintenance costs and first costs.

Green Buildings can be made cost-neutral with the right implementation of strategy at the optimal phase. Maintaining the balance between the cost raise and cost decrease, a neutral approach can be attained, wherein a premium rating at no additional cost can be realized. The benefits on the life cycle performance are the added advantages for the project with long-term savings. Every activity associated with green is for the wider cause of the sustainable parameter and always proves beneficial to every stakeholder, be it directly or indirectly.

A sufficient economic return on energy-efficiency investments is crucial for the sustainable development of the green building industry. The concern for environment and sustainable development has increased recently. These problems force countries to adopt a number of policies that enhance energy efficiency and apply baseline parameters in accordance with international standards. Green building has now become a frontier of sustainable development in this century that takes the responsibility for balancing long-term economic, environmental and social health. It offers an opportunity to create environmentally efficient buildings by using an integrated approach of design.

Ar Anshul P Gujarathi

Ar. (Mrs) Anshul P Gujarathi, founder of her firm Eco Solutions, holds a Bachelors' degree in Architecture from Sir J.J. College of Arch (Mumbai) and Masters in Environmental Architecture & Planning from Pune University. Her major field of study, research and core experience revolves around Green Buildings.
Click Here
To Know More / Contact The Manufacturer
Please provide your details we will contact you as soon as possible
Please let us know your name.
Please let us know your Designation.
Invalid Input
Please let us know your email address.
Please let us know your City.
Please let us know your Contact Number.
Please brief your query.
Our other value-added services:

To receive updates through e-mail on Products, New Technologies & Equipment, please select the Product Category(s) you are interested in and click 'Submit'. This will help you save time plus you will get the best price quotations from many manufacturers, which you can then evaluate and negotiate.

Equipment & Machinery
Invalid Input
Building Products
Invalid Input

SE Controls: Building on 40 Years of Expertise in Smoke Ventilation & Control

SE Controls is a leading global specialist in manufacture, design, and delivery of intelligent smoke and environmental ventilation systems, and smoke control, using façade automation as an integral part of the building envelope. SE Controls began operations in India Read More ...

A Natural Biophilic Element

greenscreen®’s newest product design for 2022 is the award-winning gsTree which creates shade, provides privacy, and adds the natural biophilic element to any project. The freestanding gsTree rises up from the ground to wrap a supporting column, directing plant Read More ...

How technology is enabling a faster return to offices

The modern office has for long been unimaginable without all things tech. Now, technology is also governing how our new offices take shape - from the four blank walls to a living, thriving workspace complete with focus and wellness areas, and collaboration zones Read More ...

On-The-Go Cloud-Based Fenestration ERP Software

EvA has come up with a new cloud solution – the EvA CLOUD - which can be accessed through the user’s mobile, tablet, and laptop, anytime and from anywhere. The new, easy to use application can also be used by dealers and sales executives for generating quotations on site Read More ...

Lutron Wall Controls for Luxury Homes

Ripu Daman Sharma, Sr. Country Manager - India Subcontinent, Lutron Electronics, elaborates on the trends and technology in home automation, and the products offered by the company. One of the mega trends is the Internet of things (IoT). When it comes to home Read More ...

How Technology Changed Civil Engineering For The Better

The rapid pace of technological advancement is changing every single aspect of our lives — and all of the industries and sectors in which we work. Consequently, civil engineering is not an exception here. For instance, there are plenty of ways in which technology Read More ...

Best smart security cameras to safeguard your home

When picking a CCTV camera for our homes, it is very important that we check all the specifications in detail. Owing to the developments over the year that went by, there has been a spurt in the smart device segment and the security and surveillance segment is one where there's hardly any buyer for devices that are non-smart Read More ...

Air to Water Generation is a Reality

Air-to-Water Generation (AWG) technology is real; in fact, we have devoted our lives and work - separating moisture and drinking water from air – and are set to enter Indian markets – both consumer and institutional – in partnership with a Kolkata-based business house, say Partha Chakraborty & Art Neumann, Founders of Infinite Water, Inc. (IW), an Air to Water Generation technology company based in the USA, as they share their journey in the making of AWG technology. Read More ...

Designing ‘Ready-to-Approve’ Building Plans Online

As the government is aggressively pushing Smart Governance and Digital India, most of the urban local bodies (ULBs) have adopted the online building plan approval system, says Vijay Gupta, Chairman & CEO SoftTech Engineers Limited Read More ...

Offsite Construction

From quality assurance to faster completion, Offsite Construction Technology can be a gamechanger in the post-Covid world, avers Nejeeb Khan, Country Head, Katerra, India. India has set an ambitious target of providing housing facilities to all by 2022 Read More ...

Architecture in the Age of Augmented Reality

How Virtual Reality (AR) and Augmented Reality (AR) will shape the future of built environments. To those outside of the industry, the idea of taking a virtual tour of a new building before it’s even been constructed, every detail brought to life by wearing VR goggles Read More ...

Prioritising Sustainability & Digital Transformation

It is important to start now and design buildings that are equipped with safe, smart and sustainable building technologies for the future, says Raj Manek, Executive Director & Board Member, Messe Frankfurt Asia Holdings Read More ...

Inter-tech: Making India Safe

Earthing is a science and needs to be designed for a location, depending on the soil resistivity value of the location; it is advised to design the Earthing solutions at the very beginning of the project by placing the earth electrodes in the basement, says Charanjeet Singh Read More ...

Smart Poles Bring Smart Solutions

iRAM Technologies’ Smart Pole is a specially designed high strength pole of 9-25 meters height with a camouflage cage to conceal the telecom, IT and IoT components, and an underground chamber for various control devices, gateways, UPS, etc. The camouflage cage or nacelle Read More ...

K- Lite’s Intelligent Poles

The concept of smart cities came into being as a consequential development to internet of things (IoT), digital connectivity, global warming, and the compelling necessities for energy saving. More than 50% of the world’s population lives in cities. A city environment Read More ...

Prefabricated Modular Construction: A rising trend

Prefabricated and modular construction is the production of components in factories that are then transported to the final location and assembled onsite. It is also instrumental in reducing electricity consumption in the factory in Read More ...