Green buildings in the city may be less than 1 pc of the overall residential market, but it is heartening to note that the concept is fast gaining ground, says Prashanth G N.
The concept of green living has been around for at least a decade. But, while government and office buildings have gone green, the residential landscape in Bangalore is not as green as one would like it to be — meaning, the number of exclusive green apartments and residences are very few, while talk about them is high. But there is a small silver lining in this green gloom — green apartments or buildings are becoming part of the developers’ mind share and real estate plans now take off with the green concept in mind.
Real estate analyst Navin Nandwani points out that green buildings typically use less water, optimize energy efficiency, conserve natural resources, generate lesser waste and have healthier open spaces. “A green apartment or residence will assure you operational savings for the rest of your life even if you pay a little more for it as compared to a conventional building. You will reduce waste in everything you do within and outside the house because of the installations and design of the house, and by consuming less of everything and conserving — you save money.”
On the menu
Water is conserved through rainwater harvesting and installation of taps allows for the supply of water at regulated speed to reduce wastage. Solar panels are installed on top of homes, allowing for solar water heating, which in turn saves electricity. CFL bulbs and tube lights reduce electricity consumption in the long run. Design of the home ensures that the house faces a particular side and makes best use of landscaping and sunlight.
“When you install such facilities, a green apartment will naturally cost more, but you get long-term savings. As of now, the percentage of green residences in Bangalore is in single digits. But when new offers are being made, green buildings are now part of the planning menu. The fact that builders give you the option of a green building means the concept is here to stay and will grow. The entire concept is about conservation at the macro level,” says Nandwani.
India, on the whole, has around 2,000-odd green buildings. This number is expected to grow to a lakh by 2025, according to the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC). The new buildings will include hospitals, hotels, offices, institutions, colleges, convention centres and IT parks. Bangalore is estimated to have around 100-200 green buildings or buildings with ‘Green’ certification. The penetration level is low and falls below five per cent of all constructions, according to the IGBC. But the residential sector, which has begun on a slow note, is expected to overtake commercial buildings at the end of the next decade.
Maharashtra is said to have the highest number of green buildings, followed by the National Capital Region and Tamil Nadu. Suresh Hari, secretary of the Confederation of Real Estate Developers of India-Bangalore (CREDAI), says the concept of green homes in Bangalore is fairly widespread, but the number of buildings certified as green, or that have obtained authentic green certifications are very few.
“Within the CREDAI group, green certification may be around eight to 10 per cent, while certification outside is less than one per cent. Overall, the green building market within the larger residential market is around one per cent. It has to pick up more pace because people are not yet aware of what a green building is.
“Some think it is just the lawn or green paint, which it is not. Houses in Bangalore have one or the other green building element, like garden on the roof or rainwater harvesting, but since they don’t have all the elements, they would not be certified as green buildings. What is heartening, even if the green building market is just one per cent, is that builders are now incorporating green elements at the planning stage itself.
“So from now on, the apartments you get would be green buildings which cost just five to six per cent more. Long-terms savings would be higher.”Hari says, at present, green buildings in the commercial space are more than in the residential space in Bangalore. “This is because people are not generally aware of what a green building means. So asking for green buildings won’t be high. Developers have to create an awareness campaign. Once the concept becomes clear, purchases will be higher.”
How are green buildings evaluated? At the pre-construction stage, green buildings should include good proximity to public transport, right type of soil and land, right location, presence of flora and fauna, and before construction activity starts, a natural landscape. At the planning and construction stage, they should ensure resource conservation, reduction in resource demand, resource utilization efficiency and recovery, reuse, and provisions for occupant health and well-being; the resources considered are land, water, energy, air and green cover. And finally, it must include operation and maintenance of building systems and processes, monitoring and recording energy consumption, and occupants’ health and well-being.
The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED India) Green Building Rating System is a nationally and internationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings. Part of the Confederation of Indian Industries, IGBC Green Homes is the first rating programme developed exclusively for the residential sector.
It is designed to rate new residential buildings — individual homes, high-rise apartments, gated communities, row houses — and existing residential buildings. Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment (Griha) is the other popular system for evaluating green buildings. Launched by The Energy and Resources Institute, Griha has over 300 projects registered in the country.