Tackling Climate Change Through Sustainable Real Estate

Fousiya Zaker F

The World Green Building Council says that buildings are responsible for 39% of global energy-related carbon emissions, out of which 28% is from operational emissions (energy required to heat, cool and power operations) and 11% from materials and construction.

With the world population rising rapidly, these carbon emissions during construction (called upfront carbon) will be responsible for half of the total carbon footprint of new construction between now and 2050.

Therefore, it is clear that the real estate sector has a very crucial role in mitigating the world’s climate crisis. 

Sustainable Real Estate

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicts a climate catastrophe approaching us very soon – floods, extreme temperatures, storms, and so on. Such a situation will have drastic impacts on the real estate industry. Sustainability in real estate hence becomes a necessity.

Sustainable real estate development is the next step in investor evolution. It includes using eco-friendly materials, design techniques and technologies in the construction process. It aims to reduce the carbon footprint of a building. Subsequently, the homeowners experience reduced operational costs while helping the environment heal.

This is not a concept for the future anymore. The future is already here and it is very exciting to know that “going green” is demanded by a huge fraction of consumers today. Nearly all industries are now working to achieve this goal, including the construction sector.

While green real estate development can cost more now, LEED (Leadership in Energy and Design) certified buildings will fetch premium prices later. Sustainability is constantly moving up the corporate priority list. It is also forecasted that buildings that fail to meet the standards of sustainability will be considered less valuable. Consumers will soon focus on whether a building promotes a net-zero future, supports physical health and wellbeing and is resilient to climate change.

India’s Contributions to Climate Resilience Through Sustainable Real Estate

Indian real estate has already begun to answer the country’s demand for sustainability. Many new projects are now using greener operations and materials. 

Mahindra Lifespaces has launched net zero energy homes called Mahindra Eden in Bangalore. They are said to reduce energy demand by 33% and would generate 5% of their energy requirement using solar rooftop PV and small wind turbines onsite. Other characteristics of the buildings include energy-efficient lighting and equipment, reduced water demand (by 74%), an enhanced waste management system along with the diversion of 100% of e-waste from landfills, etc.

Godrej Construction has minimised the adverse environmental impact of construction and has recycled 25000 metric tonnes of concrete debris. Other leading real estate players like Lodha and TATA Realty have also committed to reducing their carbon emissions.

Several reports show that green real estate assets in India have seen major growth in the past decade.

In Summary

People are exposed to the crisis we are facing regarding climate change. We are beginning to intentionally choose eco-friendly housing options with the aim to contribute to a healthier world.

A green home would cost up to 4-5% more currently, but the returns from it will be tangible – up to 40% savings on electricity, 20% savings on water, a healthier body through better light and air quality and so on. 

Builders and buyers should keep working hand in hand to build climate-resilient nations worldwide.


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