Global corporations have swung their interests in building sustainable commercial complexes. Which has led to an increase in sustainable building materials reaching to the masses.
Ever since former US Vice President’s documentary on climate change “An Inconvenient Truth” cast a spell on us all, sustainable living has been endorsed by the developed world, and is slowly catching up with the developing world only now.
Because there is a massive gap in educating the populace in India about short and long term advantages (to self and society) about sustainable living, we have not seen the stakeholders of our society to influence sustainable communities.
Some startling stats
Mind boggling stats on energy consumption in India
- 32% of population lives in urban areas
- 700% energy consumption in the last 4 decades, and growing
- There is a shortage of average 225 million liter water per day in major Indian cities
A revolution has begun in building a green India
- 1 Billion square footage building area has been certified as green by LEED India
- Wipro saves 40% energy worth INR 1 Cr on a 1,75, 000 Sq.feet building every year
- Godrej saves 63% energy worth INR 9 Lakhs on a 20,000 Sq.feet building every year
- ITC saves 45% energy worth INR 90 Lakhs on a 1,70,000 sq.feet every year
The commercial folk: These are the top notch businesses who occupy lakhs of square feet of space to produce and service local and global communities. The self drive to build sustainable spaces for big businesses is to achieve economies of scale. The less energy they consume to make products, the lesser the production cost and higher the profit.
Residential: This is the majority of us, home buyers and owners. We also tend to find out sustainable ways of constructing our houses to reduce project costs and energy bills. Besides these factors, it is not natural for us to seek to inculcate green building initiatives responsibly. This trend is changing, however.
Builders and developers: Today, many more Indian developers have understood that green certification can attract more customers and investors, and are aligning themselves with green concepts.
Government bodies/authorities: This is the big brother or the father figure who can influence sustainable constructing and living within our societies and communities, at will. Coupled with international and private green bodies, our government(s) (both state and central) have stepped up efforts to incentivise builders, businesses, and households to build and live in responsible and sustainable societies.
Banks: Most of residential property development is fueled by credit offered by notable banks. These banks also have to work with the government to offer competitive credits to builders and homeowners who adhere to green building codes issued by local government bodies. Unless, individual home owners receive rebates or tangible, instant benefits, the society cannot become sustainable.
There has also been a significant increase in ‘green’ growth in the residential segment. There are now investors such as International Finance Corporation, UK government’s Department of International Development (DFID) and the National Housing Bank, which is significantly boosting this relatively new segment.
The big supply gap
It is one thing to kick start a revolution to live with nature in harmony and not to burn our resources more than we need. However, what we need is not a revolution, so much as evolution. We need to come to terms with our responsibilities as citizens of communities and live sustainable lives, by using resources efficiently.
To do so, we need to understand how to implement green initiatives, and this is where the gap shows its ugly face. Across each stakeholder, there is gap big enough which needs to be filled in order to move from “theoretically” seeking sustainable lives to practically implementing and living it. Let us look at each stakeholder’s point of view to assess the gap.
Among the general public: homeowners, businesses
The public need to be aware of the importance and necessity of creating and living in sustainable houses. The governments should lead the public with necessary information and incentives to help build a sustainable society. It is also true that building material manufacturers create robust and open conversations with the public about sustainable products. The advent of the internet has made it possible for businesses to strike conversations with the public across many digital touchpoints. Such as blogs, social media etc.
Among property developers
Property developers need to seek out, associate and adhere to green building codes and building materials built for sustenance. This way, the developers can educate and offer sustainable houses and commercial complexes for the masses and also build efficient communities. There are many green certifications offered by local governments.
Among material manufacturers
Sustainable building material manufacturers should associate with green certified property developers, builders and architects to form a community to share best practices and products to build sustained societies. If each stakeholder works in silos, sustenance cannot be achieved. Out of the partnerships and eco-friendly building materials, the manufacturers need to build a solid USP to make it more attractive to the public.
Case study: Wienerberger India, the world’s largest bricks manufacturer
Wienerberger, an Austrian company which has a big manufacturing plant in Kunigal, Karnataka, stands for high-quality clay products that are still pure, natural products despite of all technical advancements, making them a perfect example of a sustainable concept.
The company invests continuously in new environmental friendly technologies and develop products that are produced with the greatest possible respect for the environment in order to serve societies. Despite its size, Wienerberger considers itself as an integral part of society, it works and acts in accordance to social, ecological and economic principles.
The company works closely with all stakeholders and interacts sharing expertise and building sustainable houses and commercial complexes in over 30 countries, in India too. To bridge the gap with the common public, Wienerberger has launched an initiative called the Gosmartbricks.com (the platform you are reading this article on). This platform helps the company share valuable information on sustainable building, to the public (also to other stakeholders).
You may read more on the sustainable projects undertaken by Wienerberger, here.