Living Sustainably

Anil Pharande, Chairman, Pharande Spaces, calls for Real estate developers to shoulder a greater responsibility as Green Homes acquire a new relevance amid environment alarm bells

Woodsville Pune

According to a recent UN Inter-governmental panel on Climate Change, global warming will increase the earth’s temperature by as much as 1.5 degrees Celsius in the next 20 years. Indian coastal cities like Mumbai, Chennai, and Kolkata have been put ‘on notice’, but all other cities will also be affected.

The global warming issue is no longer futuristic - it will affect us in our lifetime. Global warming has several reasons, but they all come down to one major factor - the unsustainable way we build and run our cities, live our lives, and exploit the planet without giving enough back.

With the alarm bells ringing, going ‘green’ is no longer just a buzzword among scientists and politicians. We must all take sustainability very seriously; it has become vitally important for each one of us to live the most eco-friendly life possible.

Real estate developers shoulder a major responsibility. An increasing number of homebuyers are willing to buy ‘green’ homes, but somebody has to build them. In fact, in the future, developers must only build genuinely green and sustainable habitats.

Scenario in India
In India, the rate at which we are depleting our natural resources is alarming. Most of the buildings being developed here are extremely wasteful and environmentally damaging. Globally, regular (read unsustainable) real estate consumes almost 40% of a country’s available energy, 30% of its existing natural resources, 20% of its available groundwater, and accounts for 20% of the land use. Besides using precious water and energy, urban real estate across the world generates 40% of a city’s carbon emissions, releases 30% of its solid waste, and adds 20% of its overall water effluents into rivers and seas.

In India, around 70% of the buildings to be completed by 2030 are still only on paper. In the UK, more than 80% of the buildings to be built by 2050 are already completed. With almost 70% of India’s building stock still to come up, we are using up natural resources much faster than the developed countries.

We are staring at tremendous environmental damage if things don’t change. Indian real estate developers and policymakers must wake up now. The need of the hour is to stop creating environmentally destructive real estate and build more green buildings instead.

No doubt, India’s green footprint is slowly rising. From just 20,000 sq. ft. of green built-up area in 2003, today there are more than 6,781 green building projects (covering over 7.86 billion sqft area) registered with the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC). Of these total green building projects, 33% are already certified and fully functional. But these green buildings represent only 5-7% of the total building stock in the country.

Reaping ‘Green’ Benefits
Green buildings have both tangible and intangible benefits. Reduction of water and energy consumption is a tangible benefit - green buildings use anywhere between 20-30% less energy and 30-50% less water.

Some of the intangible benefits are improved air quality, proper ventilation, healthy use of daylight and natural ventilation instead of electrical lighting and cooling, and improved occupants’ overall health.

And, equally if not more importantly, they slow down the process of environmental degradation - buying us a few more precious years to stop and reverse the damage we are causing with our real estate, our lifestyles, and our industrial policies.
Anil Pharande, Chairman, Pharande Spaces
When more citizens begin to demand green homes in sustainable projects, the market will respond with more supply of such architecturally designed green homes

Anil Pharande

A Wakeup Call
If there are so many benefits to green buildings, why are we not building more of them?

One reason is the all-around lack of awareness. Indians need to educate themselves about the benefits of living in green homes, and developers need more incentives to build such homes. Such incentives can include (but are not limited to) an easier approval process, making land for green buildings available at lower rates, and providing GST benefits on raw materials used in constructing green buildings.

Woodsville Pune
Homebuyers must also become more aware of the benefits of sustainable living. There is a general perception that the cost of constructing a green building is exorbitant, which means that the cost of homes in such a building is also very high. In fact, the cost is just 10-20% higher than for normal homes, depending on the type of materials used and the extent of sustainable features included in the project. This extra cost is easily compensated in the mid to long term by the lower water and electricity bills, lower property taxes, and reduced healthcare bills.

The benefits are much higher in integrated townships, where the entire ecosystem is built on and around sustainability principles. Because of the economies of scale, such townships deliver more green benefits to the residents as compared to smaller projects.

What is the Government Doing?
The problem is obviously a national one that involves industrial policies and overall economic decisions. However, land and land use is a state subject - in other words, each state is individually responsible for its environmental impact.

At the local level, some state governments have been pushing certain mandatory rules concerning sustainability. For example, civic bodies like the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) and the Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) have since long made rainwater harvesting provisions and facilities compulsory for standalone buildings and housing societies.

The newer integrated townships have all the required sustainability features, as a matter of course. In all other cases, all new buildings with more or equal to 150 flats need a sewage treatment plant in the project. But more often than not, the installation and operation of green features are not taken seriously. Even if solar panels, rainwater harvesting, water/sewage treatment, and natural composting have been set up, many housing societies do not maintain them properly.

Tackling India’s Larger Environmental Challenge
Addressing the sustainability imperative does not end with green buildings. The major task of local governing bodies is to make cities and human settlements more inclusive, resilient, safe, and sustainable in the long run. Already, development authorities like the PMRDA are working to take a greener path by implementing environment-friendly green technologies for infrastructure development. Green infrastructure reaps not only economic benefits but also ecological ones.

In some better-planned Indian cities, transit-oriented development is now the new norm for future urban centers. With the reforms in land-use regulations, developers are given more freedom to construct mixed-use and higher-density developments.

While the government has laid down several rules for maintaining ecological balance, it is also the prerogative of local authorities to check if they are being implemented at the ground level. They need to efficiently weigh the economic impact of a particular project versus its ecological impact.

India’s future cities must be built as per geographical requirements, achieve optimal residential density, integrate transportation and land-use, ensure motor vehicle-free areas, depend more on locally owned and operated stores, and have walkable neighbourhoods within their urban planning designs. In simple terms, urban planners must expand on the model of integrated townships and start creating integrated cities.
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

Transit-Oriented Development: Making Indian Cities Liveable Again

We must prepare for a future of either completely deadlocked, polluted, and unliveable urban grids, or undertake successful implementation of Transit-Oriented Development, writes Akash Pharande, Managing Director, Pharande Spaces. We must prepare for a future Read More ...

Gated Communities: Cultivating a Holistic Vision

A safe, well designed, and a self-sufficient home in a gated township delivers peace of mind, comfort, and privileges, making community living a growing preference; not surprising then that the concept is gaining traction in India’s real estate Read More ...

Themed Homes: The New Real Estate Growth Driver

The trend of themed homes has been there for quite some time, but the emergence of alternative real estate asset classes and the pandemic has fuelled further demand for housing as buyers now prefer owned homes over rentals, with the new design Read More ...

Build Back Better

Developers are making efforts to make our spaces more liveable, resilient, sustainable, and affordable; they are leveraging technology, emphasising on net zero homes, rethinking design, and providing accessibility to benefits like an all-time low real estate valuation Read More ...

Building Structures That Last

With our collective duty to ensure sustainable and environmentally responsible solutions, it is more important than ever that the real estate industry strives to get things right the first time and build structures to last. Plastering is one of the most general and ancient Read More ...

Backward Integration Enabling Quality Construction

Arun Kumar, SVP - Design & Engineering, SOBHA, describes the products and the construction technology being used in projects, and the new solutions that are adding value to new-age processes and operations. The foundation to every revolution is materials Read More ...

Living Amidst Nature

JP Infra introduces the first Urban Forest in a residential township in Mumbai using the Miyawaki technique. Real estate developer JP Infra Mumbai is using the Japanese technique of Miyawaki forest to raise a natural urban forest within the ~11,000 sq.ft premises Read More ...

Creating Places Where People Thrive

Rahul Kadri, Partner & Principal Architect at IMK Architects elaborates on the firm’s approach to Urban Design & Master-Planning. Architecture and design always exist within a larger urban, social and ecological milieu. And as a practitioner, one must be conscious Read More ...

Going Green

Offices in Mumbai can save ₹175 cr power bills annually by switching to greener air conditioning: JLL Report. Mumbai’s Grade A office space currently stands at 144 million sq. ft, of which only 42% (60 million sq ft) uses centralized Heating, Ventilation Read More ...

Developing Sustainable Projects

P Gopalakrishnan, Managing Director, Southeast Asia and Middle East, GBCI, discusses the long-term benefits of sustainable projects. There has been growing awareness about the need for sustainable and innovative developments even before the pandemic accelerated Read More ...

Call for a Sustainable & Smart Future

Environmental friendly developments, clean energy, and sustainability, will be key in real estate developments, observes Munish Baldev, Founder & CEO, J.S Martin & Co. With use of advanced technologies having become an integral part of urban planning and architecture Read More ...

Designing Cities of the Future

The future of livability and accessibility has to be accounted for by architects and real estate developers, and all aspects of adaptability have to be imbibed within the design philosophy Mitu Mathur, Director, GPM Architects and Planners Read More ...

Townships Redefining Indian Housing

How do you create a perception of safety in a pandemic scenario? To state it simply, by getting more control of your personal space. It is not possible to change everything around us, but we can choose where and how we live. This is one of the main reasons why Indians Read More ...

Sustainable Construction

Access Architects delivered the Rupa Renaissance project ahead of time with fully functional and optimised spaces, while meeting the client’s expectation of low construction costs despite using composite steel rather than conventional RCC Read More ...

Future of Retail Design & Experience in India

Design International to be honoured at the Asia Pacific Property Awards for its design of the Lulu Mall project in India. Lulu Mall Trivandrum has been chosen as the winner of the prestigious IPA Award for the Retail Architecture category in India. The Awards are in their Read More ...

Balador Athena

Designed by IMK Architects for client Sankpals Developers, Balador Athena is set against the backdrop of the Sahyadri mountain range, along the Talegaon Lake in Talegaon, Pune. The 1,58,750-sq.m residential complex comprises nine seven-storey buildings oriented around Read More ...