Sustainable living has been gaining significant importance owing to the mindset change among the environment conscious individuals. The rapid degradation of the planet and resulting ill-effects on the environment has sounded alarm bells globally. The call for sustainable living has come about due to rapid urbanization, and the cities turning into concrete jungles.
The fast depleting green cover and open areas have given way to high rises and concrete blocks. There has been a growing concern among people to safeguard and protect the planet from self-destruction. Real Estate developers have taken heed, and are working cohesively towards building a sustainable future for the coming generations as well.
Investors are taking an increasing interest in sustainable real estate, as investing in these properties can reduce a portfolio’s operational risk. This trend is a response to the growing demand for buildings that conserve resources, operate with a neutral impact on the climate and make it a healthy living environment. The innovation drivers here are proving to be digital technology and networking.
Sustainability is the need of the hour and the demands of the consumers have led to a rise in the number of green buildings built across the country. Green building involves the practice of using environment friendly and energy efficient processes and technologies throughout the building’s lifecycle from designing, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation and deconstruction.
About 10 percent of buyers are enquiring about homes are now checking if the project offers green homes and has any certification to support the claim, showed an industry study by the National Real Estate Development Council. Energy efficient, environment-friendly Green homes and commercial structures is the new buzz word from homebuyers and office occupiers. In last one year, there has been rising number of homebuyers showing interest in buying not just homes, but green homes.
Presently, approximately 5 billion sq.ft Green Building footprint is only under IGBC (Indian Green Building Council). IGBC also estimates that the market potential for green building products and technologies to be about USD 300 billion by 2025. As per LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), the annual top 10 countries and regions, announced by USGBC (US Green Building Council), India is ranked third after China and Canada, with more than 752 LEED-certified projects. India now has an ambitious target of having 10 billion sq.ft green building footprint by The Indian green buildings’ market is expected to double and may reach around 10 billion sq ft by 2022, valued between $35 billion-$50 billion.
Currently, green features are widely noticeable in luxury projects however with time; this trend is being passed on to mid-segment and affordable residential housing as well. There has been a growing acceptance and demand for green homes as homebuyers wish to live in residences that have been created without compromising on the natural surroundings. Many businesses and people globally are actively making a conscious effort to protect natural resources. Projects that are equipped with rainwater harvesting, solar panels, green surroundings, and effective waste management systems and provide enough natural light resonate more with today’s homebuyer.
Additionally, with the cities already starved with vast open and green spaces, the presence of greenery in a project is often consciously desired. The initial costs of sustainable living may seem to be high but the long-term benefits are immense and immeasurable. Apart from the residential segment, there is a growing awareness and increase in the use of this concept in the commercial and hospitality sectors too.
Property companies’ number one approach to meeting the targets has been to focus on energy efficiency initiatives. We are seeing significant improvements in heating, ventilation and air conditioning equipment, along with greater use of efficient lighting, and a focus on improved plant and infrastructure. Efficient lighting equipment is proving one of the most cost effective and impactful ways to reduce building emissions, as it directly and immediately reduces energy consumption. And the improvements in technologies, coupled with reduction in acquisition costs have accelerated adoption.
Increased asset values are a further consideration. According to the World Green Building Council, the percentage of owners reporting that new green buildings have an asset value more than 10 percent greater than those of traditional buildings has nearly doubled, to 30 percent.
The real estate sector also had a hard time initially reconciling its economic objectives with responsibility for the environment and society. But attitudes have changed, prompted not just by legal requirements but also by stakeholder expectations that have risen worldwide – among investors and also among stakeholders, tenants and clients.
Energy efficiency is the key factor. It can already be optimised on a small scale by digitally collecting consumption data (‘smart metering’) and on a larger scale by sensor-controlled elevator, lighting and heating systems (the ‘smart home’) that can even automatically emit their own warnings of potential disruptions.