Ecofriendly Residential Architecture: An indispensible paradigm of change

The government and the construction industry are proactive and are readily adopting the green building approach for the development of infrastructure.

July 01, 2014 1:17 IST | India Infoline News Service
A huge amount of resources go into constructing and maintaining buildings. This is even more so for green buildings, given that there is a premium for having green features. Mumbai consists of 20% of green buildings in India and in fact the number is increasing at a faster rate.

The government and the construction industry are proactive and are readily adopting the green building approach for the development of infrastructure.

According to a study, in the next 3-4 years about 200 million sq ft of commercial space and 45 million of retail space is expected to be constructed across the major cities of India which indicates that there is a great opportunity for developers and occupiers to promote green buildings. The challenges faced for development of green buildings in India are the extra investment in an unstable real estate market scenario and difficulty in sourcing green building materials.

Backdrop Laid for the Green Movement
The global green building movement started in the 1990s, marking the start of an early trend to optimise energy use in buildings and construction. It conceived the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system five years later. A number of foreign countries followed suit with the establishment of partnerships and environment assessment methods.

In spite of these international developments, it took quite some time for India specifically in Mumbai to join the wagon of promoting global green building. Initially there was lack of cognizance amongst the industry on the sustainability of green building construction. Today it is one of the imperative practises followed in the construction industry and contemplated as a cornerstone in the design of buildings.

Changing mindsets
The biggest obstacle laid in changing mindsets, there was a substantial price tag involved in going the green way. The first thought that would run across businessmens mind would be on the finances required. The financial aspects weighed heavily in any business decision. But gradually with large section of the industry realizing that going green will only make their structures last for long term.

Plugging the knowledge gap
Given that the green market in Mumbai is just emerging, there is yet a lack of skilled professionals which impeded the ability of the market to meet the demand for green buildings. The training and development of such personnel was thus vital to advance the green building agenda. A comprehensive training framework is put in place to nurture a core group of green building professionals with a target of producing green certified structures. This tactic motivated in upgrading the capabilities of existing personnel and bringing in new entrants to develop a proficient workforce.

Embarking on Sustainable Structures
The city of Mumbai has willingly acknowledged the rightful solicitation of green technology to uphold high level of sustainability. The real estate projects aims at full utilization of solar energy for power and thermal stabilization along with the prime focus on water harvesting and waste recycling. Another important facet that has been looked into profusely is that of landscaping. Most of the structure design proposes terrace farms to minimize the loss of plantation on the ground.

Utilization of LAR designs, a concept that encourages ecological architecture inspired by pyramid style. Herein the designers propose vegetation on all terraces which would meet the cooling requirements of the building. Besides that the design also concentrates vastly on rain water and solar energy harvesting. The recent residential edifices believe in utilizing power and meeting the energy requirements from the wind turbines.

The road ahead
Consumers today have become increasingly aware of the choices they can make to play a role in saving the earth. This reflects growing consumer demand for green buildings, and would drive developers to build more green properties across the city.

The growing awareness on the benefits of green buildings among international and domestic occupiers are eventually driving the demand for green buildings. As a result, developers are taking a keen interest in developing green buildings which is the future of Indian realty.

The author is Managing Director, 3D Architecture Pvt Ltd.

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