Owning a home is impressive, but possessing one that also cares about the environment is creditable. According to the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC), green structures in India occupy 1.24 billion square feet, compared to a population of 1.21 billion. The figure is expected to reach 5 billion square feet by 2020, which is the US’s current green construction area.
IGBC Mumbai chapter vice-chairman Gurmit Singh Arora said, “We have more than 500 projects of constructed green homes. Mumbai leads other cities in the green home arena. The current estimate of green residences is about 1.24 billion square feet in space, which means we have 1 square foot of green space for every Indian. This is extremely laudable as green housing in India is hardly a decade old phenomenon.”
There’s room for improvement. According to Arora, the current green space figure of the US is five times more than that of India. However, expectations are by 2020 India would cross the 5-billion square feet mark.
“Statistics show that India is adding 24 per cent more green construction every year. Going at this rate, we will cross the green construction (including commercial and residential) of the US soon,” said Arora.
It’s a known fact that green construction doesn’t come cheap. However, there’s a problem of perception. S Raghupathy, executive director of IGBC, said, “Earlier when green construction was launched, the pricing was on the higher side by about 14-18 per cent, as most of the raw materials were imported. But now the difference between a normal construction and a green one is a mere 2-3 per cent. Most of the ingredients are locally available and it has also been made mandatory to use them.”
Another myth is that products such as fly ash used in developing green buildings are toxic and thus hazardous. However, V Suresh, principal executive officer of Hirco said, “We use by-products from thermal power plants, including fly ash. Instead of chucking them into open lands or sea, we use these elements, thus reducing pollution.”