– By Ramesh Ranganathan

Slow living, eco-friendly process, environmental awareness! These are not just slogans in an advertising campaign, but values ​​that people seek to incorporate into their lives – every part of it. The clothes we wear, the vehicle we drive, the house we live in are all seen from the angle of reducing our carbon footprint. We’ve seen this transition happen gradually over the past decade, and the events of the past two years have only accelerated awareness and adoption. As with real estate buyers and consumers, environmental sustainability has also become a cornerstone for developers. For an industry that understands the importance of truly building for the future, sustainability is integrated from the concept and design phase, through the construction and execution process.

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Better return on investment thanks to durability

According to a recent research report by the World Economic Forum, buildings, along with deforestation and the depletion of raw materials, are responsible for 40% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Countries and businesses are looking to address this issue urgently. For example, trends suggest that international institutional investors are including green certifications as a mandate and have made it part of their investment DNA. This sends a clear message that, within the next five years, if a building – whether commercial or residential – does not adhere to sustainability principles, it will struggle to attract the right group of investors over the long term. .

This is undertaken by setting clearly defined energy efficiency targets, a large-scale transition to renewable energy and working on architecture and design, material efficiency and circularity. Some important aspects of wellness include monitoring indoor air quality, removing airborne contaminants, improving lighting levels that directly impact mood, energy and productivity, and the optimization of water quality while promoting its accessibility. A “green house” can cost up to 4% more upfront, but it will pay for itself in the long run, saving up to 40% on electricity bills and 20% on water bills. This can be achieved with smart design, by optimizing light and ventilation, harvesting rainwater, etc. The landscaping and green areas of the design also help improve indoor air quality, which our lungs will be eternally grateful for, and are designed to ensure low maintenance costs.

Impactful public-private partnerships

While conscientious consumers undoubtedly play an important role in this move towards sustainability, state and central government incentives in the form of tax breaks and concessions have contributed immensely to the rise of responsible real estate development. . Environmental regulations stipulate basic minimum standards such as rainwater harvesting, organic waste converters, solar heating, lighting, etc., making it more the norm on how future developments will take form. Conscientious and reputable developers have decided to go further, not only focusing on their own developments, but also proactively launching programs that have an influence on the community as a whole. Some of these initiatives include reforestation in the surrounding areas, rejuvenation of lakes, desilting of rivers and water channels, beach clean-up campaigns and other initiatives that truly contribute to the goal of sustainable development.

Building for the future

While first world countries and their cities such as London, New York and Paris are actively working to upgrade their existing infrastructure with more user-friendly measures, India has a huge advantage over them. We are on the cusp of a real estate revolution that is spreading through small towns and villages. This wave, fueled as much by industry as it is by the residential sector, can be navigated more responsibly by designing infrastructure from the ground up that will include these measures and be scalable in the future. Not only is this the right step to take, but eco-friendly construction methods also improve the chances of getting higher rents and rates for the structure.

Since the onset of the pandemic, homebuyers have increasingly sought a healthier lifestyle, with appropriate spaces not only inside the home but also in its surroundings – teaming up with amenities and areas safe and accessible communities. And it’s a thought that has taken root beyond the metros, as people seek to return to their hometowns and take advantage of the new hybrid working styles that are emerging. There is a sense of satisfaction in owning a healthy space not only for them but also for their future generations. Well-travelled, highly educated and environmentally conscious consumers are increasingly demanding environmentally friendly real estate solutions and “deliberately choosing green homes”. All of these factors work together to build sustainable cities, with homes not only of, but also for the future.

(Ramesh Ranganathan is the CEO of K Raheja Corp Homes)