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Saturday, January 20, 2018

With never-ending developments in real estate, going green has become the need of the hour. Anuja Chavan explains how to go about it

It’s been almost three weeks since we started with 2018 year. What all resolutions we made? And what all out of them are still continuing? Was going green for long run one of them? I bet, for majority of the environmental enthusiast out there, going green with New Year was ‘the resolution’, but where do we stand in achieving it?

Even the government of India promised ‘housing for all till 2022’! Well, no matter how much we deny or say, going green for real estate especially residential sector is costlier and ‘still not needed’, we know, it’s the need of the hour. Let’s see how simple ideas can help the developer and the resident to have a green home.  

Concept of green home
Green home dose not just mean a house built from less harmful or locally produced construction materials. It simply means that the environmental impacts of the green building during and after the construction are not negative. Infact, they are positive by which the green building helps conserve energy, conserve water, reduce use of natural resources, reduce the surrounding pollution and help conserve environment in general.

The major problem faced in construction of green building is, it’s a challenge for both architects and developers considering the use of unconventional construction materials plus the additional and most important component of added cost.

But from statistics and the data collected, it is seen that, although green building costs more than conventional ones, the extra cost required can be recovered in three to four years owing to the reduced operational costs, less maintenance and henceforth. For example, green building has both tangible and intangible benefits listed below:

Now, though the benefits for constructing a green building are long terms ones, the developers should have some incentives to go for it, since taking up construction of green building is still seen as a project without profit or costlier and quite not with the trend. To set the trend, government too can give some incentives for residents as well as builders or developers.

Incentives for green buildings
Marginally higher cost of construction of green buildings has kept a majority of developers away from such projects. Keeping the current and certain future challenges to the environment, the Government should encourage developers with higher incentives in terms of FSI and/or some degree of tax exemption to encourage them to adopt green building technologies.

Or, for that matter, Government of India Grid connected rooftop solar PV power projects in residential, institutional and social sector schemes with benchmark support cost depending upon the category of installation capacity and off grid and decentralised solar thermal application scheme (capital subsidy scheme for installation of solar thermal system) is an appreciable step forward.

Plus, added with local governments’, Government of India’s efforts, private sector not for profit organisations like the Indian Green building Council (IGBC), offers a wide array of services where one can rate their own green building, apply for green building certification, get green building training etc.

(Source: Data collated from various surveys and information from web)

Going Smart
Not only this, Government of India’s concept of ‘smart city’ and much closer to this concept the ‘solar city’, which aims at minimum 10% reduction in projected demand of conventional energy at the end of five years through a combination of enhancing supply from renewable energy sources in the city and energy efficient measures. And the good news for Maharashtra  is, 48 cities overall in country were selected for this solar city project, out of which 31 were approved and Nagpur, Thane, Kalyan-Dombivali, Aurangabad, Nanded, Shirdi are among the approved ones in Maharashtra.

All these efforts on institutional, societal and personal level can pave the way for green building era as even the Chief Executive Officer of World Green Building Council quotes, “A Green Homes revolution is happening around the world.” So, why can’t we hope that for Mumbai!

(Anjua Chavan is a B.Tech civil engineer ­with a certified World Bank course in sustainable urban land use planning)

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