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Real estate finds its 'green' pasture

Indian developers are latching on to the advantages of making environmentally friendly buildings, reports Saurabh Turakhia.

india Updated: Sep 28, 2007 20:17 IST
Saurabh Turakhia

With the Indian economy in the midst of construction frenzy, experts and environmentalists have felt the need to manage the overburdened infrastructure with appropriate initiatives.

As a result, the concept of 'green buildings' is fast catching on. This is true of IT parks, SEZs, commercial properties and to a small extent, residential properties. Essentially these are projects that take into account ways and means to conserve energy, reduce emissions and avoid waste. This happens through use of energy efficient appliances, optimum location to make the best use of solar energy available etc. The concept is more the need of the hour rather than an impressive buzzword.

A blog on www.ecoworld.com, a site with information on green technology states that according to statistics provided by the US green building council (http://www.usgbc.org/), for every 10 per cent gain in green building efficiency, the US reduces energy consumption—from all sources—by 4 per cent.

Though a tad expensive, it is in the best interest of developers to opt for green projects. Mike Thompson, Director of Environmental Affairs, Trane, a global provider of cooling and heating systems and services told HT: "In the US, a lot of residents insist on green projects as it increases the resale value of the property. It also helps them by way of cheaper electricity bills." Thompson estimates that air-conditioning contributes to 40 per cent of energy consumption for a commercial building. He adds that energy-efficient wiring also helps.

The projected growth potential for green buildings in India is estimated to be Rs 2,000 crore by the year ending 2008 according to the last Green Building Congress held in India.

Some Indian players are already putting efforts to develop green projects. Kanakia, a real-estate player is developing a fully green million square feet corporate office park at Powai. Rasesh Kanakia, chairman, Kanakia Group says, "Many foreign companies like IBM and chemical and engineering companies keen to set up their offices in India prefer to do so in green projects."

Pradeep Jain, chairman, Parsvnath Developers, said: "We are implementing the concept in our SEZ and standalone IT centre projects." The real estate player has got approval for 11 SEZ projects and has IT projects in Gurgaon, Kochi, Indore, Dehradun among other places.

The United States Green Building Council (USGBC) has developed The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System, which is an accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings.

Trane India provided energy-efficient air conditioning solutions at Reliance's Dhirubhai Ambani Knowledge City project. It has also worked on projects for companies such as Ranbaxy and Cipla. Its solutions have been deployed at Olympia Tech Park (gold rating from USGBC) in Chennai and Spectral Services Consultants (platinum rating from USGBC) project in Noida to make these more energy-efficient.

Pune-based Marvel Realtors, which develops luxury apartments also gives a thumbs up to the concept. CEO, Vishwajeet Jhavar says: "We have solar heaters and water harvesting in all our projects including recent projects like Marvel Diva and Marvel Elan. We also replant trees as far as possible to the extent they have been cut down."