Developers & Buyers together have to realize the importance of Green Homes says, Mr. Shabbir Kanchwala, Senior VP, K Raheja Corp in conversation with Nimisha Gupta
By Accommodation Times News Service
Q1. How do you see the “Green Building Movement” in India and challenges in the way of its development?
Answer: Green Building Movement in India is a progressive step towards sustainability and healthy living. Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) has taken a wise decision by prioritizing project clearances. There are still a few challenges and some of them would include:
• Sustainability initiatives come at a high cost - Seeing cost as a barrier is a short-term view. Sustainability programs can improve the efficiency of a business, which saves costs in the long run.
• Identifying suppliers and time consumption - Keep the process simple. Have the capabilities to implement positive change and spend time to achieve the targeted goals
Q2. At present how you see the demand and supply market of green products and technologies here and worldwide. How is their availability and competition?
Answer: Talking about the global sustainability agenda, there has been a consistent growth in demand for sustainable projects. It is important for every developer or user to understand the need and benefits of green products and technologies. Also, one must understand its business value which in turn can make businesses profitable. There is a stable growth in demand for green buildings and its products which have resulted in making the cost of using these products more reasonable. Many new products like VOC paints, High CoP chillers, usage of wood and bamboo, insulation on the roof, etc. have been introduced to meet the growing demand for green products. There is a clear demand and supply gap where it is observed that demand is rising, and supply is comparatively lower leading to high competition. Masses are pro-actively investing in green products and there exists a dilemma to match demand and supply of these products.
Q3. What has been the role of government in shaping green building environment? Any example of other countries where green buildings are given policy supports in terms of incentives on lower power tariff, lower bank loan, lower taxes, and lower insurance.
Answer: The Government has been proactive in promoting and shaping this concept of the green building environment. Some of the incentives which are given by Government to promote green building environment include providing easy and faster clearances by Ministry of Environment and Forests which are applicants of IGBC Green Building Certification. Also, additional discount by SBI announced to the owners of green homes will result in demand for these homes and will motivate builders to construct more as even builders will be provided with some concessions. The government has announced many such incentives in other states of India and we are optimistic about the development of Green Buildings as Government is also focused on promoting this agenda.
Q4. Do you think that this lack of incentives is the reason of there is very minimum investment in green home concept?
Answer: The Government is slowly increasing incentives for Green Home concept. More awareness about benefits and usage of green products will see growth in investment. Also, this will happen only when developers and buyers together and in unison realize the positives from green.
Q5. Why there is so less support of green building policies. No incentives on tariffs, loans, taxes incentives, insurance benefits?
Answer: It’s a new concept comparatively. Any new concept takes its due course for acceptability, and the same is happening here too. This is a concept that is critical for a better life for us and our future generations and there is no escaping this route. In due course of time demand for the same will most definitely grow.
Q6. Are green buildings highly costly? If yes please explain and if no please explain?
Answer: Green buildings most definitely cost slightly more than conventional ones. A green Platinum building would cost 10-15 percent higher than the conventional building, but the payback period would be in 3-4 years with a reduction in operational costs. Alongside it protects the environmental, has economic and social benefits and finally protects the needs of future generations.
Q7. IGBC promotes green building concept. Can you please tell IGBC strategies in promoting this very concept?
Answer: IGBC rates new residential buildings which include construction categories such as individual homes, high rise residential apartments, gated communities, row houses and existing residential buildings which are redesigned in accordance with the IGBC Green Homes criteria. IGBC Green rating systems encourages steps for energy and water conservation which is a priority of country like India. It also encourages the use of materials which are available locally, and have recyclable content and good thermal resistance properties, which again work well. IGBC has formed local chapters like the Mumbai chapter, Pune chapter, Delhi chapter etc. to promote Green concept through local stakeholders, further IGBC is organizing training programmes, green competitions for school children and in architecture and engineering colleges. It has also introduced the annual international green building conference at various key locations of India, each of these steps playing a crucial role in promoting the concept.
Q8. What measures one should adopt to promote awareness about green building practices for the benefit of professionals in the construction industry? How do you map it with the overall economic development and business potential of India?
Answer: It is critical to bring together the industry at a common ground to think green. These can come from discussions, seminars, conferences etc. amongst the industry players. Similar programs are required to create awareness amongst the end consumer. Lack of awareness and buy-in is a constraint and that needs change. There is tremendous scope for development and as some reports state; the Green area will reach 50 billion square feet by 2020 in residential sector alone.
Q9 Can we achieve the target of “Affordable Green Homes”? What are your IGBC plans and measures in promoting this concept?
Answer: Yes, we can. As I mentioned earlier, SBI has announced some concessions to developers and consumers of green homes (0.5% rebate in interest loan amount), which is an encouraging step. There is a constant rise in demand for green products resulting in reduced cost of the raw materials, which will make the constructions cost effective and in turn benefit the end users. IGBC has introduced multiple rating programmes applicable to end use of building e.g. IGBC introduced rating programmes for factory, new buildings, interior, existing building, large townships, commercial SEZ’s, homes, green societies, landscape rating etc.
Q10.As in the lead management of IGBC what is your message to construction fraternity?
Answer: There are several incentives and services provided by IGBC to stakeholders and developers, encouraging and promoting the green concept. It is important for all of us to come together to utilize them and make most of these services, while alongside also promoting it.
It is us, who are responsible to come together to make India a ‘green sustainable country’, one that our future generations will be proud of.