Developers think green while planning projects

Developers think green while planning projects

Mumbai: Indian companies seem to be turning over a new leaf, literally. More than 20% of the 80 million sq. ft of commercial real estate expected to come up in the top seven metros in India in the next two years will be green buildings.

About 22 buildings with varying degrees of eco-friendliness are expected to come into the market by 2009.

Green buildings are those that use eco-friendly technology to reduce the consumption of electricity, water and other natural resources and minimize the impact of the building on the local environment. Developers constructing green buildings include DLF Ltd, Emaar MGF group, K Raheja group, Kalpataru Properties Pvt. Ltd, RMZ Corp. and Lodha Developers group. Clients include Microsoft Corp, Reliance Energy Ltd and Godrej & Boyce Manufacturing Co. Ltd.

Environment acceptable: The under-construction greenfield international airport at Hyderabad.

Residential and commercial buildings are responsible for 25-40% of total energy use, 30-40% solid waste generation and 30-40% of global greenhouse gas emissions, or emission of gases such as carbon dioxide and hydrofluorocarbons that cause depletion of the ozone layer and lead to global warming.

According to, a climate-change website, deaths due to global warming are expected to double to 300,000 in the next 25 years and, by 2050, more than a million species may become extinct and the Arctic Ocean could be devoid of ice. The Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) estimates that by 2010, the space available in commercial buildings in India could go up to 100 million sq. ft. In January, IGBC started a system of certifying buildings, known worldwide as Leed (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Buildings Rating System.

Under this system, buildings can be certified as certified, silver, gold and platinum. So far, around 58 buildings in India have received Leed ratings. Typically, a green building with a platinum certification reports 25-30% energy savings.

The New Delhi-based The Energy Research Institute (Teri) has also instituted a certification programme, known as Griha, that offers star ratings one through five with five being the highest. Teri has registered 12 projects, including a 4.2 million sq. ft integrated township project in Kolkata.

The new Hyderabad international airport being developed by the GMR group and slated to open in March is a registered green building with a silver rating. The airport, with a built-up area of 1.26 million sq. ft meant to accommodate 3,200 people per hour at peak capacity, will use rainwater harvesting and waste water technologies and maximize the use of natural light through glazing and skylights.

Among other green buildings, the 2.06 million sq. ft Ecospace Business Park in Kolkata, a registered platinum building being developed by Ambuja Realty Development Ltd and RMZ, procures 85% of its construction materials locally, and uses solar energy for external lighting and thermal insulation to reduce air-conditioning load.

Water-saving fixtures at RMZ Millenia Business Park in Chennai are expected to reduce water consumption by 50% while Nirlon Ltd’s 2.8 million sq. ft Knowledge Park at Goregaon in Mumbai is being built with steel salvaged from its other sites and using energy-recovery systems to reduce energy consumption.

The 1.4 million sq. ft Godrej IT Park in Mumbai’s Vikhroli, with a gold certification, uses 100% water recycling and solar energy for lighting.

“As an energy company, we are always interested in anything that saves energy. So it made a lot of sense for us to go for a green building when we were drawing up plans for our IT park...," said a Reliance Energy spokesperson. The company’s upcoming 650,000 sq. ft IT park at Mumbai’s Santa Cruz has a platinum certification and uses locally-sourced materials.

“Green buildings will be a part of our commercial portfolio in the coming years," says Abhinandan Lodha, director, finance, at Mumbai developer Lodha Group. Adds Anuj Munot, director at Mumbai-based Kalpataru Properties, “All our future commercial buildings will be green buildings and we are exploring the possibility of getting similar certification for our residential buildings also."

Kalpataru is building a 240,000 sq. ft commercial office in Andheri in Mumbai. It has a gold certification, uses light and carbon dioxide sensors for energy saving, and recycled material for construction. Lodha Group is building two green buildings in Mumbai: the 850,000 sq. ft silver-certified Lodha i-THINK Techno Campus on the Jogeshwari-Vikhroli Link Road and the 400,000 sq. ft Lodha Excellus, with a basic certification. Both buildings will have water recycling and recharging.

“One reason that many developers are opening up to the idea of green buildings is that the costs have become more easily recoverable with rising rentals," says Tanaji Chakravarti of real estate consultancy, Jones Lang LaSalle Meghraj. He has co-authored an anthology on green buildings in India, brought out by the firm recently. Worldwide, the popularity of green buildings has grown. There were an estimated 642 million sq. ft of green spaces in 2006, says a report by Jones Lang.