With urbanization enveloping India, the growth of commercial real estate projects is bound to be dogged by higher energy demands, sooner than later.
Given the fact that buildings avail about 40% of the energy consumption reported worldwide, commercial real estate project developers have now shifted the focus to developing and designing real estate that incorporates energy-efficient features that reduce power consumption.
Sustainable practices for energy consumption are the driving force behind this trend in real estate projects.
Energy-efficient real estate property does not come at a cheap price. It requires higher capital investment initially and that is why most companies avoid it.
However, in the long run, there are tremendous benefits in terms of operational costs, energy-saving, and environmental. The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) has reported that the cost of erecting a ‘green –building’ can be recovered within 2-3 years.
In opposition to this, buildings that fail to conserve energy are bound to increase operating costs. The cost-benefit ratio works better in the case of projects under development, as compared to a developed building that is being retrofitted with energy-efficiency means.
Generally, buildings rely on multiple systems for lighting, heating, and other functions that consume huge amounts of electricity whereas the green building concept smartly interlinks these services to reduce operational costs and energy consumption.
- Energy is conserved with the help of simple design plans that optimize the use of natural lighting. This includes strategically placed sunshades, the size, and location of doors and windows, etc.
- Ventilation and space-conditioning help in regulating the temperature within the premises, preventing overheating and over-cooling, especially during peak summer and winter seasons. Thus minimizing the use of energy to a great extent.
The architecture of the building may also be planned in such a way that it is not directly under the influence of the Sun during summers, and even traps heat in winter!
It is estimated that such green building practices could result in as much as 30% savings for consumers.
Energy-efficient buildings all have a common feature of having a compact structural blueprint.
This principle is followed in its surface area to volume ratio. The lesser the value of the ratio, the lesser the heat conduction.
Green buildings are ideal for locations that have perennial hot and dry weather for the major part.
However, the practice of erecting any commercial real estate project as a green building is not as mainstream in the Indian market.
Even as of now, the majority of the real estate property coming up are not green buildings, and only about 1% of India’s current real estate footprint, can be labeled as Eco-friendly.
The rating systems such as Indian Green Building Council (IGBC), and Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment (GRIHA) are there to evaluate the energy efficiency of buildings, and these organizations are doing a great job of promoting environment-friendly practices in the country.
However, the primary reason behind low traction in building Eco-friendly buildings is that developers do not yet see any monetary gain from building real estate projects as per green compliance norms.
The additional attribute of having to invest capital in constructing a building as per energy conservation norms does not provide the incentive to real estate developers in India to contribute to the large-scale adoption of energy efficiency in the construction industry.
This scenario calls for policies that incentivize the incorporation of Eco-friendly practices in the projects.
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