With measurable steps like energy-efficient design standards, water conservation and waste management guidelines, and incentivizing sustainable practices, the Central government can guide the real estate industry towards climate-conscious construction.
Prem Group - Ridham Gada, Partner, Prem Group & President Elect NextGen, NAREDCO Maharashtra
There has been a growing emphasis on climate-conscious construction practices within the real estate industry. This shift is largely driven by increasing awareness of the environmental impact of buildings and a rising demand from consumers for environmentally friendly and sustainable properties.
Climate-conscious construction for long-term sustainability
We, at Prem Group, prioritize environmental sustainability and have been using several measures since decades now to minimize the impact of our construction activities. Techniques for dust suppression during demolition, dust dispersion during construction phase and incorporation of rainwater harvesting systems have always been a part of our projects.
Waste management a significant aspect of sustainability
The construction industry generates a significant amount of waste, including materials such as concrete, wood, metals, plastics, and packaging. Proper waste management is crucial for reducing the environmental impact and promoting sustainability. The first step in effective waste management is to prioritize waste reduction and prevention. This involves careful planning and design to minimize waste generation during the construction process. Strategies such as accurate estimation of material quantities, efficient procurement practices, and prefabrication techniques can help reduce waste from the outset.
One of the primary goals of waste management is to maximize the reuse and recycling of construction materials. This includes identifying opportunities to salvage and reuse materials on-site or in other projects. Setting up designated areas for separating and sorting waste materials enables recycling of materials such as concrete, wood, metals, and plastics.
Currently, there are no norms in place for responsible disposal of non-recyclable waste other than hazardous materials or contaminated soil. The waste from construction sites is required to be disposed in allocated areas and there are no prescribed measures for recycling of the waste. However, green building certifications, such as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) or Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM), encourages construction companies to adopt waste management practices.
Carbon credits and carbon emission calculators as incentives
Carbon credits are issued in tons of greenhouse gas emissions, which are more significant in manufacturing industries that use coal. For the construction sector, the Indian Green Building Corporation (IGBC) is working closely with several Central and State Government agencies to promote the green building movement in the country. Some of the Central and State Government agencies have given recognition to IGBCs’ Green Rating Systems. For example, in Maharashtra the Urban Development Department offers an additional FAR of 3%, 5% and 7% for Green Buildings rated by IGBC as Silver, Gold and Platinum, respectively.
The Centre needs to chart a tangible road map for the construction industry and make the respective states responsible for implementing it. Currently, the norms include basic clauses for reducing dust dispersion, clearing of land, and mandates use of earth for greenspace.
However, with measurable steps like energy-efficient design standards, water conservation requirements, waste management guidelines, and incentivizing sustainable practices, the Central government can encourage and guide the construction industry towards climate-conscious construction. Additionally, the Central government can collaborate with industry experts, architects, and environmental organizations to develop best practices and provide technical support to the states.