What Are Green and Sustainable Homes? Check What Real Estate Experts Say About Its Future

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The growing end-user investments in green and sustainable homes are serving as indicators of green shoots for the real estate sector after the pandemic. The National Capital Region (NCR) has been leading the bandwagon, as per a Knight Frank report, with 98.5 lakh million sq of gross floor area of LEED-certified Buildings recorded between January and October 2022.

A green or sustainable building is a building that is environmenally sustainable because of its construction and features. It intends to maintain or improve the quality of the environment in which it is located.

The sheer expansion of LEED buildings shows a prominent change in the buyers’ attitudes in India. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is the US-based global green building rating and certification system. The study has billed the National Capital Region as the topmost LEED building growth centre among seven cities, such as Bengaluru, Chennai. Pune, Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR), Hyderabad and Kolkata.

Recently, a study by Colliers and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), titled ‘Enabling Net-Zero Built Environment’, has also shed light on the increasing buyer-friendliness towards green real estate and high-performance buildings. The report stated that green buildings record higher occupancy rates and rental premiums.

The homebuyers’ buying behaviours, post-pandemic, have gone through a metamorphosis. Millennials and youngsters are also batting for green and eco-friendly projects and are willing to invest more money in them.

Pyramid Infratech’s Ashwani Kumar said, “Green projects are the need of the hour to combat climate change and promote energy efficiency. It’s good to see that realtors are taking stock of the buyers’ demands and announcing eco-friendly projects. In fact, the adoption of green and eco-friendly features has become a major yardstick for buyers to decide whether to invest in housing projects.”

Raheja Developers’ Nayan Raheja said, “The eco-conscious homebuyers’ mindsets have a major role in the escalation of green real estate. The pandemic health crisis has led to an intellectual awakening among the real estate buyers. The end-users are showing a proclivity to invest in green residential societies and plotted development because of its adoption of modern and renewable technology in building structures.”

The developers’ bodies like CREDAI have also passed resolutions to reduce carbon footprints and construction pollution emanating from sector-based activities in the face of drastic climatic changes and natural vagaries. At its annual NATCON-2022 event, the Conference of Real Estate Developers’ Association of India (CREDAI) pledged that all the developers who are part of the association will achieve 100 per cent carbon-neutral status by 2050.

The Colliers and Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) study also highlighted the concept of ‘green leases’. This means the coming together of landlords and homebuyers, where both parties say yes to a green lease agreement and agree to collaborate to improve the building’s energy sustainability and environmental performance. The study stressed the importance of developers and homebuyers collaborating in a similar manner to beef up eco-friendly measures in long-existing and new buildings.

Why Green Homes Are Getting Popular?

Green Homes Use Eco-Friendly Construction Materials: The high GST rates on traditional construction materials such as steel, cement, and iron have prompted developers to look and opt for alternative raw materials. This has also invariably led to the advancement of green homes, moreover in NCR. To say that developers have completely renounced using steel and cement in the construction of homes would be a misnomer.

But, they have started using environmental-friendly materials such as bamboo, aluminium formwork, cob, cork, and adobe brick, among others which are energy efficient in nature and cut back energy loss by 5-10 per cent.

Ankit Kansal, founder and MD of Axon developers, said, “Green and sustainable housing is not a fad but a reality, that all of us have to acknowledge and embrace. Globally real estate constitutes 57 per cent of the overall greenhouse emission. In India, it contributes around 26 per cent of the emission. These are alarming statistics, given the fact that the country is on a cusp of a massive real estate boom. Hence, it is essential for everyone to embrace sustainable tools, practices, and resources throughout the project planning to construction to renovation.”

He added that a prudent step would be to lower the usage of concrete, brick, and mortar and replace them with wood, bamboo, muds, thaw, etc, wherever possible. Likewise, focus on rainwater preservation, L-shaped windows, LED lights, lower volume water pipes, better ventilation etc. Such steps can be monumental in not just reducing air and water pollution by 30-40 per cent but will also optimize the cost of construction, electricity & water bills, etc.

Green Homes Use Solar Panels: The use of solar energy is one of the cornerstone features of green homes. Solar energy is a renewable, green, and clean energy that causes the least environmental pollution. Solar panels are used for converting sunlight into direct electricity in green homes. It efficiently reduces dependence on fossil fuels which leads to air, smoke, and dust pollution. It cuts back on energy and electricity bills as solar panels can efficiently work during the peak hours of energy consumption, which is mostly noon and afternoon hours.

Green Homes Use Efficacious Waste Management And Water Harvesting Systems: The proper maintenance of the application is as important as its installation. Green residential societies emphasise proper installation and usage of waste segregation apparatus, for example dividing waste into biodegradable and non-biodegradable substances. Rainwater harvesting systems espouse the principle of ‘energy and water preservation’, which is one of the fundamental reasons why green housing projects have come into existence.

Rajesh K Saraf, managing director of Axiom Landbase, said, “Green homes have become the ideal home investment zones for real estate consumers across the National Capital Region. They provide an equanimous and verdant atmosphere which fulfils every person’s desire to have a qualitative family lifestyle. It naturally increases life expectancy, endorses energy conservation, brings down pollution levels and provides a safe and secure environment.”

Green Homes are Well-Ventilated and Properly Insulated: Proper insulation and ventilation result in lower energy consumption and absorption rates by families. Green Homes usually feature spacious and roomy bedrooms which are well-ventilated, which cuts down a home’s energy expense. It significantly minimises greenhouse gas emissions, and families save mainly on electricity and power bills.

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