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How green properties gaining prominence

Though the cost of construction may be increased by 5-10%, the residents enjoy a lot of annual savings in terms of power consumption and water usage

How green properties gaining prominence

IGBC has more than 11,000 registered projects equivalent to 10.27 bn sq ft of green building footprint across the country. In Telangana alone, there are 700 registered projects with around 1.7 bn sq ft green footprint

I advocate that every building industry stakeholder, builder and developer take up IGBC Ratings for a high-value asset that performs well and is sustainable. Even the stock of existing buildings needs to go green to mitigate their resource consumption and environmental impact. - C Sekhar Reddy, Chairman, IGBC Hyderabad Chapter

Hyderabad: With the climate change crisis at the forefront of all issues today, it is essential that sustainability and resilience be incorporated into all avenues of daily life. As per the reports, real estate & construction sector consumes 36 per cent of energy produced and responsible for 39 per cent of the carbon emissions. This sector is a critical contributor to climate change and has a significant role in limiting the global warming.

In India, it is estimated that buildings contribute to over 20 per cent of emissions with its ancillary industries being one of the biggest consumers of natural resources. These buildings are required to be designed, constructed and operated in such a way that they are self-sufficient, minimally dependent on external sources in terms of resource consumption and are future ready.

Green & net zero buildings can help to mitigate the impact of climate change by reducing energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, promoting healthy indoor environments, and improving resilience to extreme weather events. They can contribute to climate resilience by helping to protect people, property, and ecosystems from the impacts of climate change.

The Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) has played a vital role in the adaptation of green and sustainability principles. Since it was established by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in 2001, it has been spearheading the green building movement across the country. Its headquarters CII-Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Centre in Hyderabad is India’s first Platinum rated green building and third in the world.

For its first initial decade of work, the IGBC had built expertise and brought in awareness to the greening of individual buildings. As the understanding evolved that buildings cannot operate into silos and are closely intertwined with the surrounding built environment, the IGBC has developed ratings corresponding to infrastructure - campuses, townships, railways and factories.

Currently, the IGBC has 31 different rating systems that cut across all categories of buildings and built environments. It has well-defined standards and guidelines that help companies and communities alike adopt sustainable practices. All the IGBC rating systems are voluntary, consensus-based and market-driven building programmes. The rating systems are based on the five elements of the nature (Panchabhutas) and are a perfect blend of ancient architectural practices and modern technological innovations. They are applicable to all five climatic zones of the country.

"The IGBC is now considered as the country’s premier body for certification of green & net zero buildings, with more than 11,000 registered projects equivalent to 10.27 billion sq ft of green building footprint across the country. This has facilitated India in becoming the second country in the world in terms of largest registered green building footprint. In Telangana alone, there are about 700 registered projects having green building footprint of around 1.7 billion sq ft,” C Sekhar Reddy, Chairman, IGBC Hyderabad Chapter, told Bizz Buzz.

"The IGBC is also a founding member of the World Green Building Council (WGBC). The projects from neighbouring countries of Nepal and Bangladesh are also adopting IGBC Green Ratings. IGBC Certified projects have received recognition in several national and international forums," he informed.

“I advocate that every building industry stakeholder, builder and developer take up IGBC Ratings for a high-value asset that performs well and is sustainable. Even the stock of existing buildings needs to go green to mitigate their resource consumption and environmental impact. It is essential that we build a more efficient and green future for the generations of tomorrow,” said Sekhar Reddy.

He said that the IGBC rating would also help the developers in getting faster clearances from the government authorities. Various governments are providing incentives for green buildings across India. Moreover, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) offers fast track environmental clearance for green building projects which are pre-certified/ provisionally certified by the IGBC.

The soft infrastructure required for consultancy, training, third-party assessment, and verification protocols for green buildings has been developed by the IGBC. It has highly scientific tools like energy simulation and lighting analysis. Today, there are over 100 green consultancy firms across the country and 6,100+ accredited professionals with certified knowledge of green building design and construction.

The IGBC green building ratings are considered as standard indicators of high-performing energy efficient sustainable assets. In addition to energy saving, cost savings, and improving the health and well-being of occupants, IGBC Green Building Certification bearers benefit from the brand recognition, leadership and market competitiveness of being sustainability champions.

Green building techniques, such as efficient insulation and renewable energy integration, help developers create structures that are more resilient to extreme weather events and changing climatic conditions. Also, adopting sustainable practices enhances a developer's Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) quotient, leading to improved investor confidence, stronger stakeholder relationships, and a positive reputation within the industry.

By embracing sustainable development practices, the developers can align themselves with the growing demand for eco-friendly solutions, capturing the attention of environmentally conscious customers and staying ahead in a competitive market. Going green allows them to differentiate themselves and showcase their commitment to sustainability, and attracting a discerning clientele who value eco-conscious choices.

There are also other organisations to certify green projects in India. The US Green Building Council is a global organisation that promotes sustainability in building design, construction and operation through LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating system, which is the most widely used green building rating system in the world. However, it is confined to certifying only the office spaces of the MNCs in India.

The GRIHA (Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment) Council is another certifying organisation in the country established jointly by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) and Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE). It has almost 3,571+ registered projects with 565 million sq ft of green building footprint.

According to Ar Srinivasa Murthy G, Co-Chairman, IGBC Hyderabad Chapter, as much as 80 per cent of the green buildings in India are certified by the IGBC. "Any residential or commercial project funded by the government must be green-certified. The IGBC has become the most credible organisation in the country as it charges very less when compared to other organisations and it has a wide range, covering 30+ ratings. It has an expert team who do scientific analysis and energy audit every year and give rating to the projects," he said.

The green homes provide an opportunity to prioritise the well-being and productivity of the residents. Both the customers and the builders prefer green properties due to the positive environmental impact. The enlightened developers contribute to mitigating climate change and protecting the environment by implementing sustainable practices, reducing carbon emissions, and preserving natural resources for future generations.

Rambabu Boorugu, Executive Director & CTO at Pranava Group, said: "Today, the environment-concious property buyers are showing interest in green buildings for many reasons. The green buildings promote a healthier indoor environment through better air quality, natural lighting, and ergonomic design. Our company currently has two IGBC-certifed projects.One Hyderabad Residential is Platinum rated and One Hyderabad Commercial is Gold rated. Assessment is going on for two more projects and they are likely to certified very soon."

Venu Vinod Reddy, Managing Director, Cybercity Builders & Developers Pvt Ltd, said: "We have two IGBC- certified projects - Cybercity Oriana and WestBrook. Except some highy-educated customers, not everyone comes with the knowledge of green homes. A majority of them get convinced to buy after our sales team explain the salient features of our green projects."

When asked about the price escalation for adopting green building initiatives, he said the cost of construction may be increased by only 5-10 per cent for using qualified products but the residents enjoy a lot of savings in terms of power consumption and water usage. There will be no need of switching on the lights, fans and air-conditioners during daytime due to proper ventilation and light.

Long-term operational saving is another major benefit of green homes to both buyers and developers. Incorporating green technologies and design principles can significantly reduce energy consumption and operational costs, providing them with substantial long-term savings and improved profitability.

Unlike a few years ago, the incremental cost of adaptation of energy-efficient and sustainable criteria to new or existing buildings is minimal. The investment payback period has been reduced from about seven years to one year. This is partly due to the efforts of the IGBC. Over the last 20 years, it has led a market transformation. Now, there is a wider availability of sustainable materials and technical know-how.

N Sharath Chowdary
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