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Corporate offices in Mumbai go green

Jul 23, 2012

According to the latest report by the Indian Green Building Council, offices in the Andheri area of Mumbai are ensuring their buildings are green and are investing heavily in energy-saving measures.

Corporate offices in Mumbai are taking the first step in the direction of making their buildings green. In areas of Andheri East, Marol, MIDC, and Sakinaka, establishments are all getting certified from national and international agencies for their green quotient. However, home buyers have not shown such interest, according to developers and green building consultants.

According to IGBC, the Indian Green Building Council, there are more than 25 IGBC andLEED certified buildings in Mumbai, out of which about 10 are in Andheri.

The IGBC was formed by the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) in 2001 and rates buildings in India for their energy efficiency and sustainability.

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is an international rating suite for buildings and neighborhoods. LEED-India also provides building owners, architects, consultants, developers, facility managers and project managers the tools they need to design, construct and operate green buildings.

 

Code green

IGBC defines a green building as the one that uses less water, optimises energy efficiency, conserves natural resources, generates less waste and provides healthier spaces for occupants, as compared to a conventional building.

“People do not know the benefits of having a green home. Rather it is difficult to convince them. I had been to a seminar about a month ago where I met people who believed that having a green home is expensive and is meant only for very high class people,” says Neha Singhani, a green building consultant based out of Jogeshwari.

“There are two types of buildings. One that you build and sell and second that you build for yourself like hostels, hospitals, library etc. Mostly it is the second kind that go for eco-friendly aspect. They have more space to spare and work upon, more floor space index etc. Apart from that, corporates take up going green as their corporate social responsibility (CSR). It completely depends on how they do it. I mean some do it for marketing strategies so they go all elaborate on it. While there are some who simply build eco-friendly buildings. A latest example is that of ITC which is making sure that its every new building is platinum rated with LEED,” says Sajal Gothi of Green Labs consultancy.

There are many trends that interior designers and consultants are using in green homes. Some of them are lower power densities by using CFL, T5 and LED lights, solar hot water systems instead of traditional electric heaters, sewage treatment plants for landscaping and toilet flushing, using better building envelope materials including glazing, walls and roof systems, rain water harvesting, etc.

 

Green Andheri

According to the IGBC report, Enercon India, Kalpataru Square, HSBC Office, Hiranandani Crisil House, Unilever House etc. are some LEED-accredited buildings.

“The future is very good, as there are areas which are affluent and have water shortages, which can be addressed by reuse and recycling of water,” said Gaurav Monga, who heads of the marketing, publicity and designing of the projects at Ecohomes.

However most of them are corporate houses. “There is awareness amongst buyers, but the home buying decision still depends on a host of other more important factors such as location, price and developers reputation. Greenness of a home still remains to be a very small factor when a buyer decides to buy a home,” says Monga.

Agreeing with him, Gothi says, “For residential buildings, it is yet to happen and will take some time. Since developers incur costs in making such buildings, they quote their service prices high, which kind of puts off the buyer, especially residential ones. They have to remember that at the end of the day, people are getting the pay back.”

 

Effects and figures

“There are tangible and intangible effects of green homes. The biggest tangible gain is the reduction of costs of water and energy throughout the life cycle of the building. About 20-30 per cent energy could be saved, while about 30-50 per cent water could be saved,” explained Singhani.

With all kinds of national and international ratings available for green homes these days, it is a great marketing strategy to sell the project too. “The other benefits are great air quality, lighting during day, good health for occupants, safety and most importantly, conserving depleting resources. The increase in cost will be only between 5-15 per cent bringing down the overall initial project costs, if the integration of basic green aspects is done right at the initial designing. Some developers even claim no increase in initial costs because of smart planning” explains Singhani.

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