Why It Is Now Critical For The Construction Sector To Go Green
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With rapid urbanization and the change in the global climatic conditions, environment is getting affected in many harmful ways. The global climate change is a fact and an immediate action is required if we want to avoid its devastating effects. And it requires action from everyone because everything that reduces the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and pollution of the soil, water and air is helpful. Private homes are estimated to be responsible for about one fifth to one fourth of global carbon dioxide emissions; and for that reason eco- friendly construction or green building is not just a way of life but it is a necessity.
Today, it is also very important for entrepreneurs to think as Eco-Citizens and commit themselves to healthier communities for building more environment friendly and sustainable projects. By adopting green building practices, entrepreneurs and the real estate sector can reduce its negative ecological footprint and simultaneously help create a more sustainable environment over the long haul. Efforts towards sustainable real estate development involve optimal use of natural resources, reduction and recycling of wastes, and significantly reduce pollutant emissions. A sustainable environment is the most precious legacy humankind can leave for future generations.
For energy efficiency and sustainability the following factors are important:
The right financial mechanisms to make energy savings more valued by those involved in the development, operation and use of buildings.
A holistic design approach, from city level to individual buildings that will encourage interdependence and shared responsibility among stakeholders in the building value chain.
Mindset and behavioural changes to achieve action on energy efficiency by building professionals and building users.
These three levers have to be supported by policy frameworks, including specific regulations, taxes and subsidies, education and training.
Harish Munireddy, Founder Weatherseal, feels rapid urbanization and increasing manufacture of harmful materials has made environment polluted with the passage of time. “It has become very necessary and needful, for the entrepreneurs to build or manufacture products which reduce the environment pollution and help in also building a pollution free country. We at Weatherseal have the main motive to manufacture windows and doors with the usage of UPVC material which does not harm the environment,” he informed.
Rohit Gera, MD, Gera Developments and VP CREDAI Pune Metro, considers it to be important for consumers to be responsive and give priority to green products when they are in the marketplace. “In case of buildings there is a tremendous opportunity to provide green sustainable features however these come at the cost and unless consumers are willing to pay in order to protect the planet going truly green is not possible,” he rued.
New-age environment friendly resources
In the recent years there has been a massive shift towards sustainable energy sources. This is indeed a welcoming trend as eco-friendly construction material is not just utilitarian but also adds a unique dimension to the homes. Indeed, we have stepped into the new age that is high on innovative transformation of homes.
Although new environmentally-friendly building techniques and resources are proposed and tested every year, they all share common objectives for reducing their overall impact on human health and nature. Eco-friendly buildings should serve the following purposes:
Efficiently make use of air, water, and other resources by welcoming them in
Protect human health and improve productivity
Reduce pollution and waste
Save money on operational costs
Feature an aesthetically-pleasing design
Manoj Asrani, CEO of Viiking Infra and Realty Pvt Ltd; part of the Viiking Ventures Group, sees a value proposition in designing green. His projects have implemented green initiatives like East – West facing homes, solar power panels, home automation, rechargeable wells for rain water harvesting, sustainable site design and recycled, modern energy efficient and biomass materials.
Asrani shared the measures to be taken into consideration while building green construction:
Use of RMC (Ready Mixed Concrete) instead of bricks to reduces wastage
Solar panels for energy
Rainwater harvesting (when treated, the water can be consumed, or otherwise used for watering plants)
Power generation using wind or solar as alternate resource (this requires large spaces)
Insulation and hypo-thermal glass
Optimised design to ensure minimal use of conventional energy
Recycled construction materials
IoT Integrated Automated Building Systems
DGU Windows to reduce sound and heat from coming in
Shadow concept in construction
Abhishek Bhardwaj, CMO, Shristi Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited also shared the new age construction materials that one could use for building homes. Have a look:
Blocks over bricks: Blocks are a great substitute for the more conventional bricks. One block, technically, is four times the size of a brick and thus, the time to lay them is significantly lesser. Blocks are also stronger when compared to bricks. Use of blocks also gives you a better estimate (of costs) beforehand as compared to bricks.
Manufactured sand and Block Bonding Adhesive: This sand is prepared by crushing hard granite stone. This is more readily available and reduces transportation costs significantly. It is devoid of impurities that and in the conventional river sand and gives a stronger foothold during the construction.
Reclaimed wood: Reclaimed wood from various construction sites could be used in the interior of your homes giving it a transformation.
Stone: Recycled stone is much in vogue these days. The character of the stone adds a unique feel to the home.
Barns: Insulating barns or adding more substances to it to create a unique corner to the home is what new age eco-friendly technology is capable of doing.
Recycled steel: It is not just an eco-friendly construction material but also sturdy and aesthetically pleasing.
Development & Sustainability Go Hand In Hand
The growth and development of our communities has a large impact on our natural environment. The manufacturing, design, construction and operation of the buildings in which we live and work are responsible for the consumption of many of our natural resources.
Asrani feels, with the help of technology and a focused approach, sustainability has the potential to compliment the high rate of developments that is happening across the country. “It will further help the cause if we can have a strong regulatory framework which encourages developers to go green,” he asserted.
Environmental benefits of green building are aplenty and include protecting biodiversity and ecosystems, improving air and water quality, reducing waste streams and conserving and restoring natural resources. The economic benefits are reduced operating costs, improved occupant productivity, enhanced asset value and profits and optimized life-cycle economic performance. Social benefits are also important to consider as they help enhance occupant health and comfort, improve indoor air quality, minimize strain on local utility infrastructure and improve overall quality of life.
Technology can play important role at the design stage where energy modelling of buildings can be done so as to arrive at the energy footprint of every single development. “Today many new techniques and technologies that are available that reduce the carbon footprint during the process of construction as well as life-cycle of the building many of these can be used in order to minimise the impact on the environment,” notified Gera.
Challenges Faced In Creating Green Products
Though there is now an increased level of awareness about the need to buy green and environment friendly products in India yet there are various challenges facing the country to actually realize and apply the green marketing concept successfully.
The single biggest challenge, as is agreed by industry experts, is the cost benefit trade off in the minds of the ultimate consumer who will pay for the product. “Most consumers are looking for a quick pay off and are not willing to pay even a small price for protection of the environment. If we can change this mindset where consumers do not mind paying a little bit more for a sustainable future we will see a rapid increase in the introduction of sustainable products and sustainable development,” emphasised Gera.
Bhardwaj shared that a segment of consumers sees no personal gain in buying eco-friendly products and hence are not willing to shell out extra amounts for something which is not for their immediate personal benefit. “Another factor for less growth of green products is that many consumers in India believe that there are no thing as “green products”, what exists are merely selling tactics adopted by the companies to augment their sales and revenue,” he concluded.
According to Gera, local level governments have realised that consumers are not willing to pay the cost for sustainable development and therefore a number of local bodies have provided for incentives in the form of lower property taxes, lower development charges or even higher FSI in exchange for developers undertaking sustainable development. This is in addition to the need for developers to obtain the environment clearance for larger projects, has already created a shift towards more sustainable development.