Friday, May 11, 2012: 08:58:36 AM

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Sustainable real estate is the need of the day

The need for building infrastructure that can sustain the ever increasing exodus from rural to urban areas has grown

The demand for a greener environment has been hue and cry for several environmentalists.  Now with global warming posing some serious threats to the environment, the demand for a greener world has gone up even more.

The domestic real estate sector, one of the major contributors to the Indian economy, has also come under the purview of sustainability. Real estate developers have not only been prompted to take steps to ensure proper construction waste management but have also been asked by the government to to ensure a greener environment.
According to the estimates of the Urban Development Ministry, by the year 2050 two-thirds of the population living in 23 cities in India with a population of over 1 million will be living in urban areas. Therefore these cities will be looking at new redevelopment models to meet the demand from the ever-expanding migrant workforce. This will include creating sustainable models and more energy efficient buildings that will help to reduce carbon footprints in urban areas.
J M Mauskar, special secretary in the Ministry of Environment & Forests said at a recent press conference organised by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India(ASSOCHAM) that the country needs to design and construct greener buildings in order to bridge the gap between demand and supply while also sustaining the steady migration from rural to urban areas. The need for building infrastructure that can sustain the ever increasing exodus from rural to urban areas has grown. However, urbanisation must go hand-in-hand with environmental sustainability measures.
Even though least can be done in terms of redevelopment of the existing establishments, new projects can offer various new opportunities to develop greener habitats.
According to Rajat Malhotra, director - Engineering & Operations Solutions (West Asia) at Jones Lang LaSalle India, “India is the second-most populous country in the world and if experts are to be believed, it is en route to pip China from 1st rank by 2025. This only points towards an ever increasing pressure on our already scarce natural resources. The growth forecast in the real estate segment is anywhere between 8-10 % annually.”
Mr Malhotra further said, “India lies in the tropical zone with enough sun and precipitation (4,000 trillion litres) throughout the year, and it is imperative that we harvest both. Therefore from both the opportunity and requirement perspectives this ‘going green’ in our real estate developments is as important for us as it is for any other nation.”
Corporates who have sustainability as a goal need to extend their efforts in the real estate selection. For example, a sustainability-oriented corporate looking for a space for office would go for green space to account for reduction of their overall carbon footprint.
Steps taken
The country has already started to take steps to turn towards a greener environment. Conceived by the Energy and Resources Institute, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has introduced a national rating system named Griha for Integrated Habitat Management.
With the real estate developers gradually adopting green principals to suit environmental requirements, a greener tomorrow is not too far beyond. 
Sambuddha Sengupta

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