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Realtors clean up their act

Real estate developers in India are fast waking up to the benefits of constructing green buildings. Varun Soni tells more.

india Updated: Nov 26, 2007 20:56 IST
Varun Soni
Varun Soni
Hindustan Times

Real estate developers in India are fast waking up to the benefits of constructing green buildings. In fact, today the Indian commercial sector is making conscious efforts towards creating ‘sustainable’ real estate, with almost 40 construction projects currently underway, getting registered with the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), a green building rating system developed by the US Green Building Council.

According to a research report titled ‘Sustainable Real Estate Development in India’ released by international property consultants, Jones Lang LaSalle Meghraj, at present, in India, green buildings in Tier 1 cities are at best limited to a handful of top-quality Grade A properties. Typically, green buildings use design techniques, materials and technologies that minimise a building's impact on the environment. Some of the techniques that can help in constructing green buildings are installation of solar water heaters, alternative
construction methods like fly ash-based construction material, groundwater and rain water harvesting etc.

The reasons for the growing interest in green buildings among developers today are obvious: first to differentiate themselves from competition and second, to reduce operating costs. For instance, electricity is one of the largest operating expenses for commercial buildings in India, but by building with sustainable elements, developers can save up to 20% in total electricity costs.

Says Manisha Grover, Head, Strategic Consulting & Research, Jones Lang LaSalle Meghraj and co-author of the research paper, “The business advantages that green buildings create are enormous. It is important that developers and occupiers develop an understanding and work together in successfully achieving improved sustainability performance. Occupiers can greatly assist in implementing a sustainability programme. The overall green building movement has significant business implications and is an opportunity to make a real contribution in the effort to curb India’s environmental crisis.”

The report also details the best practices and processes that owners and occupiers can adopt to reduce the environmental impact of their real estate assets and at the same time, gain from substantial ROI (Return on Investment) from their ‘green’ initiatives.

First Published: Nov 26, 2007 20:55 IST