With construction in full swing, DLF Limited is planning to launch luxury villas over the next few months at its New Town premium residential township project located off Bannnerghatta Road in Bangalore. With a classic Mediterranean architecture amid lush greenery, the villas will offer buyers all the regular features found in a regular villa such as modular kitchen, Wi-fi connectivity, small family pool etc. However, what makes the project different from others is that it will use energy-efficient solar water heaters and street lights with rainwater harvesting and a sewage treatment plant of its own.
With a footprint in 22 cities and 13 states, Sobha Developers Limited has been integrating environment-friendly technologies and practices such as rain water harvesting and organic waste converters at different stages of developing a project. One of the company’s projects, Sobha Turquoise, has a platinum rating. It is the highest level of certification issued by the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) under the residential category.
In July, The 3C Company along with the Orris Group launched a 47-acre green residential project called Greenopolis in Gurgaon. To create buzz around the project, the developers got world-renowned American illusionist and magician Franz Harary to launch it. Focusing on the efficient use of energy, water and building material, Greenopolis will not only use heat-reflective glass that helps in controlling glare and solar heat but will also have electric charge points where residents can get their electric vehicles charged.
Welcome to the world of environment-friendly or green buildings. It is just not the big developers such as DLF or Sobha that are building sustainable and eco-friendly housing projects. From Tata Housing Development, Unitech and Mahindra Lifespaces to companies such as Raheja Developers, Bangalore-based Nitesh Estates, Godrej Properties and Assotech, developers of all hues and sizes are going green.
From using low volatile organic compound paints, adhesives and insulations inside the apartments to using fly ash bricks of low energy density for external walls, developers are going all out to woo buyers for green projects.
Thanks to initiatives undertaken by developers as well as state and central governments, green projects have grown considerably in the country since 2000. While there are no official figures available, there are over 1,620 green building projects spread over 1.15 billion sq.ft of space registered across India.
According to the IGBC, there are 245 green buildings that are certified and fully functional. In fact, environmentally sustainable projects are just not limited to residential space but also in commercial segment.
From the developers’ point of view, green projects come with their own advantages.
“As a responsible developer and being a part of TATA Group, reducing carbon footprints becomes one of our most important corporate social responsibilities. Tata Housing pioneered and developed a sustainable green township development in India in 2006. Still in keeping with our group ethos as well as acknowledging the first mover advantage, we accepted the mandate of adopting eco-friendly and sustainable green building technologies,” says Brotin Banerjee, Managing Director and CEO, Tata Housing Development.
The company’s first green development project was Xylem, Bangalore’s first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environment
Design) Gold-certified green IT park. The company’s other properties such as Aquila Heights in Bangalore and Raisina Residency in Gurgaon are also gold certified green developments, while the company’s premium luxury villas at Lonavala is platinum-rated by IGBC.
However, The 3C Company Director Vidur Bharadwaj offers a different perspective. “Carbon credit is given to large community level projects and in our experience the carbon credits given in the industry are not lucrative enough as they don’t offer much incentive for projects to apply for them,” he says.
Industry experts feel if the incentives provided are more lucrative, many realty players may also apply for carbon credit and this could lead to a major change in the industry.
It is just not the private developers who are eyeing the green housing segment. State governments too are jumping on to the bandwagon. The Kerala State Housing Board is set to launch limited scale commercial ventures to build 60 environment-friendly apartments in Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram. The apartments will be set up on land it owns in Panampilly Nagar in Kochi and Ambala Nagar in the state capital. The board has also applied for Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment (GRIHA), the national rating system for green buildings developed by The Energy Research Institute and the Ministry for New and Renewable Energy.
Though green houses cost up to 5 per cent to 10 per cent more than conventional ones, they provide long-term benefits such as energy and water savings. Compared to traditional realty projects, the demand for eco-friendly ones is not very significant but is picking up.
“Of late, in India the buyers are recognising the value of green building and most of them like buying in green accredited projects. It is because in the long run it helps cut electricity consumption and offers other benefits,” says Manoj Goyal, Senior Vice President, Raheja Developers Limited.