Building A Greener World

Sustainable Development

Pankaj Srivastava
Mr. Pankaj Srivastava,
COO, of Maitreya Realtors
The ever-increasing world population is severely impacting our environment by putting tremendous pressure on the existing resources. During this development process, while it is important to provide for the living of everyone, it is equally significant that the needs of the present are met without compromising the ability to meet the needs of future generations. In short, 'Sustainable Development' is what we need to bring back the environmental, economic, and social equilibrium in the world.

Green building is a vital part of sustainable development. Under this concept, the structure build and the using process of it, both are environmentally responsible and remain resource-efficient throughout the life-cycle of a building. Thus, Green buildings thus help preserve the environment and ensure sustainable living. The design team, architects, engineers as well as the client works hand-in-hand at all stages of the project to ensure that from sighting concept to design, construction, operation and maintenance, as well as renovation and even demolition is done in an environment–friendly manner. Also refer as Green construction or sustainable building, the practice also efficiently addresses the building design concerns such as economy, utility, durability, and comfort.

Green Building Practices/Technologies

In 1970s, the world faced two major concerns, the energy crisis and the environment pollution, which gave rise to the concept of sustainable development. The U.S. strongly felt the need for more energy efficient and environment-friendly construction practices, which started the 'Green Building' movement. Slowly other nations of the world also started realizing the environmental, economic, and social benefits of Green construction.

Green Building Technologies

There has been a constant development of newer Green building technologies, which complement existing practices of creating Green structures. They may differ from region to region but fundamental principles, from which the concept is derived, remains the same. These include layout and Structure Design Efficiency, Water Efficiency, Energy Efficiency, Materials Efficiency, Indoor Environmental Quality Enhancement, Operations and Maintenance Optimization, as well as Waste and Toxics Reduction. Optimization of one or more of these principles is the core of the Green building concept.

Together these technologies and practices serve the common objective of reducing the overall impact of the built environment on human health as well as the natural environment and improving the productivity of occupants. These benefits of green construction were proven long back in a 2009 report by the U.S. General Services Administration, where it was found that 12 sustainably designed buildings are less costly to operate and have excellent energy performance. Also the occupants of these buildings were more satisfied than those residing in typical commercial buildings.

The Current Need

It is understood that through a proper synergistic design, the various green building technologies can be used together to produce a greater cumulative effect. Thus, the current need is of modern sustainability initiatives that should comprise an integrated and synergistic design approach with which both the new construction and the retrofitting of existing structures are done.

Green Construction

Green building concept consists of varied practices, techniques and skills, which often emphasize on deriving benefits of renewable resources. For instance, use of sunlight through passive solar, active solar and photovoltaic equipment to supply electricity; use of plants and trees to create green roofs, rain gardens or in reducing rainwater run-off. Instead of conventional concrete or asphalt, use of low-impact building materials such as packed gravel or permeable concrete to enhance the ground water replenishment, is one more such technique.

There are various steps involved in the designing of sustainable buildings. At each step, one or more specify 'green' building materials would be required. Keeping a check on the quality of these materials and ensuring that they meet the environmental standards set by the authorities is the key to Green construction. For cost optimization, these materials can be procured from local sources. Reduction of loads, optimization of systems and generation of on-site renewable energy are some of the Green measures adopted by builders working towards sustainable development.

The Global Scenario

The amount of registered building space is now well over the 1.1 billion square meters mark, which indicates that Green buildings are sweeping the globe. As per the 2013 World Green Building Trends report by McGraw-Hill Construction, in every three years the global green building market is doubling in size. It has been noticed that while businesses are playing a crucial role in driving this market transformation, public policies are also significant to encourage the design and construction of green buildings. At both the sub national and national levels, national green building councils are promoting sound and progressive green building policies. Some of the examples of these innovative green building policies are green building codes followed in Jakarta and the urban cap-and-trade program started in Tokyo, which have redefined sustainability in both the public and private sectors. Through such examples of leadership, these countries are creating important benchmarks of best practices for both local and national governments, and can also be followed at supranational level.

Of all the sectors, the construction sector causes maximum amount of greenhouse gas emissions but still has the greatest potential for carbon reductions possible at least cost. In multilateral negotiations, Green buildings form a crucial part of mitigation strategies. Recently, in Poland, world leaders have set global goals for climate change mitigation and adaptation. Such annual meetings act as an important platform for bilateral agreements between countries, along with private sector collaborations.

Maitreya Greens

In a joint event of the U.S. Green Building Council and the Business Council for Sustainable Energy, several private sector programs for addressing climate change were highlighted. These programs will undertake the designing and construction of sustainable buildings. The U.N. climate negotiations are highly important to the lives of each one of us. The decisions taken here have serious implications on the global economy, jobs, policies and almost on every aspect of our lives. With the help of many green building strategies and investments, buildings are positioned in such a way that climate change mitigation and adaptation can be addressed. Although the buildings sector has the major potential to remedy climate change, they have still not been able to become the focus of these negotiations. To bring meaningful change and for driving market transformation active participation in the process is a must. On the global stage, the USGBC and the World GBC act as the voices of the industry in advocating green buildings as a part of the global policy solution.

The Indian Perspective

India is developing at a very fast pace and so is the demand to provide wholesome housing to cater the needs of India's growing population. The government as well as the realtors has well realized the adverse impacts of this development on our environment if it's not done in a sustainable manner. The conservative centralized approach towards Green infrastructure is not going to serve the purpose. It is the time to make it integral to all infrastructural developments. If the realtors will not take up this responsibility on their own, the government may have to legalize and make it mandatory.

The Indian realtors understand the significance of Green building and though we haven't set any specific targets to achieve in within the laid down time-frames, we are continuously working towards sustainable development by undertaking more Green initiatives and implementing them in future projects. Rapid progress of the Indian Green Building Council and the Platinum, Gold and Silver ratings achieved by our various prestigious green building projects reflects highly upon India's Green initiatives.

The only obstacle in the path of going green is probably the misunderstanding that Green project are costlier to build and unaffordable for common people. The pressing need is to create more awareness, break myths and educate the industry and people about the benefits of going green. The average payback period of green projects is 4-5 years, which makes them financially viable for every realtor, irrespective of the size of their business.

Going Green

The construction industry has welcomed the government's move of offering carbon-credits for green implementations. There are several ways of going green. One of which is conservation of landscape, biodiversity, native species, soil, pervious surfaces and solar reflective surfaces. Water harvesting, optimum use of water, grey water recycling and reuse, waste segregation, conversion of waste to energy, energy optimization through efficient lighting and HVAC equipment, and use of renewable energy are some of the famous methods that are part of most of the Green projects. These days, many Green structures also feature energy simulation, climate responsive architecture and apt (Green) material selection.

Some of these measures do not cost much but only requires thorough project and construction management. With such small measures to mitigate the adverse impact of construction on the environment, we can achieve an eco sensitive development.

The Green Measures at Maitreya Green Projects

The realtor plans and designs a project within a given framework of a land parcel. However, the nature, for example elements like soil and water, can not to be restricted to these boundaries. The to-and-fro movement of these elements across the construction boundaries causes pollution. However, with proper and timely planning these adverse impacts can be mitigated.

Maitreya Greens, a one-of-its kind project by Maitreya Realtors & Constructions Pvt Ltd, is the first ever IGBC Gold pre-certified project in Nashik and a good example of Green building that has been well planned. Spread across 10 acres of pure lush green land, the project is planned in such a way that it meets all the set standards. Comprising of 8 buildings of 14-storeys, housing 500+ units constructed against a vista of green gardens, the project promises to offer a holistic lifestyle to its inhabitants.

Indian Green Building Council

Constructed in an eco-friendly manner, its striking façade is an interesting combination of elegance and individuality presented with a touch of natural beauty, which clearly shows that a beautiful structure can be built in a most eco-friendly manner. This is one project that offers all the luxuries of life without adversely impacting the health of the environment and making a hole in your pocket. By combining the best of natural elements in the form of water, energy, air, greenery, and open area, Maitreya Greens promises to provide a serene life to its residents.

There are certain Green aspects that a realtor should consider while planning and developing a project. Before the water leaves the construction site, it has to be treated and channelized properly to avoid water pollution and soil erosion. Instead of creating surface water trenches in the post development stage, we can dig them in the early stage of the project to pass water through silt fence/vegetated area before releasing it to the natural/municipal drains. The soil at construction site can be conserved by collecting and storing it for creating beautiful landscapes.

Use of water efficient flush and flow fixtures can optimize the use of water. Installation of STP/DEWATS for treating water in large scale project would be a financial feasible idea. For single dwellings, Root Zone Systems can be developed in the side margins or on terraces. The space for these has to be provided by the architect at the designing stage. The treated water can be used for landscaping or flushing or if the realtor is developing another project nearby, the same water can be used for curing. Replenishment of the ground water is also a significant part of Green constructions. In small projects this is achieved by increasing permeable surfaces. While in large projects this is done by integrating recharge wells, pits and percolation basins in the landscape design. For instance, to ensure efficient use of water, Maitreya Green facilitates rain water harvesting, low flow fixtures and faucets and sewage treatment plants.

Maitreya Greens Projects

Use of eco-friendly construction materials can further resolve the issue of soil, air and water pollution. However, sourcing of eco-sensitive construction materials is a major challenge for realtors. Materials like stabilized earth blocks, acc blocks, lime bricks, flyash, tetrapack boards, bamboo flooring, low VOC paints are much in demand these days but difficult to source. Realtors need to put in place a robust purchase management system to ensure continuous supply of these materials on the construction site. In Maitreya Greens, we have taken care of every tiny detail and techniques, such as the material used in the construction of apartments are all totally eco-friendly. This not only helps in energy conservation but also in achieving cost efficiency. Besides that they also add to the natural surroundings by providing an environment full of positivity and in return lowers the maintenance cost.

To ensure the thermal and visual comfort of the occupants, a climate responsive approach towards design can be adopted by the architect at no additional cost. This will reduce the energy demand of the building during its occupied life. A good mix of daylight and artificial lighting systems allow occupants to reduce the use of artificial lights when the daylight is sufficiently available. Designing usable spaces by keeping this aspect in mind can reduce the energy consumption of the building drastically. Greater luminous efficacy lamps such as LED's, CFL's; BEE star rating electrical equipment; solar thermal devices; photovoltaic outdoor lightings; and domestic wind mills can be used to bridge to the demand and supply gap of electricity.

Maitreya Greens is a good example where the indoor environmental design allows living spaces in every apartment to receive plenty of daylight and fresh air in abundance, making every homecoming a pleasant experience. Use of low VOC materials further ensures health of inhabitants. The entire project is equipped with Solar water heating systems and buildings are fitted with energy efficient lighting fixtures and appliances, which ensure high energy efficiency of the project. Use of hybrid DG set, sufficient Green area provided on the ground and overall landscape design further enhances the energy efficiency of this project. Electrical charging points for vehicles are also provided to save fuel and reduce air pollution resulting from its use.

Another aspect of green construction is recycling and reusing of construction wastes, which can easily be done by integrating waste treatment methods into the construction management processes. The most efficient way of dealing with waste is treating them at the source. That is what we do at Maitreya Greens. Solid waste management is done at the site itself, resulting into zero waste discharge. There are several cost-effective waste management measures such as Vermi-composting/OWC and bio-gas technology which can be adopted and easily managed by providing training to human resource like the watchmen, sweepers or maids. One can decide about the appropriate measure for a construction based on project scale, waste quantity, and space availability.


All the points discussed here clearly state that a realtor can reduce adverse environmental impacts of any project simply by thoughtful designing and adopting eco-friendly construction practices. Various authorities are encouraging realtors for going green by providing various incentives such as Carbon Credits, ratings and certifications. Many realtors are working towards creating a better and sustainable environment and the day is not far when a project will be considered unusable if it does not meet the Green standards.
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