Sustainable Real Estate was a buzz word Real Estate during the last decade but now people are very concerned about the importance of sustainability in every walk of life be it agriculture, packaging, and construction. So with these evolving times, sustainable development has now become a major focus area for the developers in the real estate industry. UEPA (US Environment Protection Agency) defines sustainable real estate development as the method of utilizing technologies for maintaining environmental aspects and attaining energy efficiency throughout the building’s lifespan. Developers and occupants both have discerned that it is the time to make a shift towards sustainable Real Estate development. Real estate developers are now focussing on all 3 elements of Triple Bottom-line approach i.e People – Planet – Profit.
Why Sustainable Real Estate Development Practices are the need of the hour?
India is experiencing urbanization at a very rapid rate and real estate industry plays a crucial role in feeding the rising demands. This eventually leads to the copiously high pollution levels in the country due to unfeasible use of ordinary building material. Sustainable utilization of natural resources is the need of the hour. It has become an absolute imperative for real estate developers to adopt sustainable measures to minimize the negative effects on the environment. Currently, the real estate industry is consuming about 40% of the total energy needs of our country and a study revealed that 5% of carbon footprints come from the real estate industry. With such figures constantly hogging limelight on digital media, many developers are shifting towards sustainable development practices with greater vigour.
Which Sustainable Real Estate Development Practices are developers focusing on?
- Prioritizing ‘greener homes’ in their product launches that provides energy efficient spaces for the conservation of natural resources and minimizing the waste thus making a healthier space for residents
- Materials used to promote a balance between resource efficiency and environmental concern keeping in mind the comfort of the occupants.
- Sustainable and Locally Sourced Materials that reduce carbon footprint. Real Estate Developers are looking at local solutions to new design challenges. This practice is actually not at all novel as since times immemorial “locally sourced” was a method that all builders used to construct houses. Builders used to choose from wood, clay, thatch or stone depending on the resources that were abundant in a particular region and topography of that region
Developed nations like the US and Russia have adopted the concept of green buildings with a great rate as almost 50% of their non-residential buildings are labeled as ‘green’. This should serve as a motivation to boost up the process in our country to focus on sustainable buildings. Research shows that India will be doing well in the green building market and it is believed that the market share of Green Buildings will be double from existing levels by the year 2022. Still, there are great challenges ahead as the population living outside Tier 1 cities have low awareness of the concept of greener homes and consider them as expensive projects so they are still apprehensive themselves from investing. Also, there are no direct incentives for developing energy efficient buildings so private developers are not getting a nudge to adopt them in a big way.
What next is in store for Sustainable Real Estate Development?
Real estate experts like Eldeco MD, Pankaj Bajaj opines that in the next few years the concept of green homes will be at the center stage in the real estate industry. According to him, “Green homes are not just fad, they are here to stay. They are healthier and durable to live in and this will be attracting buyers to shift their buying strategies towards energy efficient homes.” As India steps forward for a sustainable environment through real estate development, it has a big challenge in form of rampant urbanization. Green buildings will prove to be a big support in minimizing the negative of buildings on our nature and also catering to the demand of the rising population. Government is also playing its part by creating awareness among the people of the country through several schemes and policies. The thrust is to make a sustainable environment through energy efficient resources that help in the conservation of natural resources and this practice is going to benefit the whole ecosystem of real estate.