Green buildings & construction: Green codes

Green buildings & construction: Green codes

Green buildings and construction requires strict adherence to codes. Let us not tarnish them.

It’s unfortunate that it took a pandemic to make us realise the importance of a healthy lifestyle. But the pandemic has caused a major shift in consumer preferences, since safety and hygiene is given more importance. With the health risk posed by the pandemic, the investment into projects that hold high-level safety and hygiene has been increased by most developers.

In such a situation, the focus on green buildings and construction has only increased. Moreover, what’s important here is using as much green materials as possible so that Mili Majumdar, MD, GBCI India, says, “There are multiple ways to measure whether an installed product is green. Environmental labels and declarations are standard ways of providing information about the overall environmental character and other aspects. The objective is to create and strengthen the market for environment-friendly products and services through verifiable and accurate information. Some labels also focus on the health aspect and the impact of materials, thus helping to distinguish between harmful and healthy materials.”

Using renewable resources such as solar, and rainwater harvesting have become a norm. Amar Mysore, executive director, Brigade Group, says, “Where it is feasible, use building materials that are extracted and manufactured locally to minimise carbon footprint generated during transportation. Building elements are also manufactured off-site and delivered to the site to maximize the benefits of off-site manufacture. This includes reduced construction waste, maximized recycling, higher-quality elements, better Occupational Safety and Health (OHS) management, and reduced noise & dust levels. One can also use building materials comprising recycled materials such as ground granulated blast-furnace slag (GGBS) and fly ash.”

Then there are some who ensure that materials used and products installed in the structure have reduced or zero carbon footprint. Shabbir Kanchwala, sr VP, K Raheja Corp, says, “In some cases, we also use biodegradable products. We are using recycled products like fly ash in concrete as a replacement of cement; Portland pozzolana cement which is integrated cement that has a certain amount of fly ash, glass, aluminium, and steel with other recycled content; and fly ash blocks etc. We also ensure the equipment is eco-friendly and has the least impact on the environment. CFC free water-cooled chillers which releases fewer greenhouse gases and halons free firefighting system have also been installed on sites.”

Also, there are green building codes such as the NBC (National Building Code). Green building code in India defines all the specifications that a developer can adhere to in order to qualify a project for Green certification. Rakesh Reddy, director, Aparna Constructions & Estates, says, “The criteria for green buildings are also beneficial to covid-19 prevention and control. Developers should measure the performance of green products by how they achieve the green building criteria. These criteria include protecting the health of occupants, reducing the risk of infection, providing a stable living environment during the pandemic, and maintaining essential facilities.”

How green is my valley
Green construction is related to taking precautions as stipulated in the codes so that the environment is not affected. Yashodhan Tere, design head, chief architect, The Wadhwa Group, says, “As a fraternity it is our duty to offer health and happiness through our projects. It contains an array of items starting from environment-friendly materials, techniques, site hygiene, etc. There are other aspects like renewable energy and water conservation that improves the health of a building and also end users. But the most important aspect is an efficient apartment layout. A naturally lit and ventilated space surrounded by greenery and vegetation creates a healthy micro climate which is the need of the hour in this pandemic.”

Agreeing with this, Anubhav Gupta, CEO Vikhroli, chief CSR and sustainability officer, Godrej Properties, says, “Additionally, we anticipate an increased adoption of green building and wellness standards more robustly integrated and demonstrated in use particularly for the residential sector. Deployment of home automation systems, real time measurement technology, touchless interfaces, use of antimicrobial or antibacterial materials and a robust facilities management program to suitably cope with events like the current health emergency are need of the hour. After this pandemic, it is possible that the scope of sustainability in real estate is likely to expand and include a development’s ability for its inhabitants to cope better with public health and other emergencies which may arise in the future.”

Going Green is not about ‘tokenism’; it includes a change in attitude and practices so that eco-friendly is not just a slogan, but a way of life. Dr Niranjan Hiranandani, national president, NAREDCO and MD, Hiranandani Group, says, “It is not only about labels and certification about material used during construction; it includes usage of eco-friendly material which will enhance the sustainability quotient of the project. One can’t have the old system continue with a few cosmetic ‘green’ additions; it has to be driven by a change in the thought process which should reflect at the planning stage as also be visible in the architecture and design aspect, rather than just in terms of usage of ‘green certified’ products during construction.”

According to Aditya Kushwaha, CEO & director, Axis Ecorp, “According to a 2020 report, a mere 5% of buildings in India were classified as green building. These buildings are in demand not just because they are good for the environment but also for the health of people. While the cost of construction of these buildings is higher, they offer lower energy costs. The guidelines are very comprehensive. Even in our recent projects – Axis Blues & Axis Yog Villas – we have adhered to green construction.”

Today, even warehouses are built green. Rajesh Jaggi, VC, real estate, Everstone Group, says, “Green warehousing is one of our core focus areas. To achieve it, we are integrating sustainability into our assets and operational management. We have received the EDGE Certification from Green Business Certification Inc for 45% of our buildings and the Advanced EDGE Certification for 55% of them. We are the first organization in India to have been awarded the Platinum certification by the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) for our logistics parks near Delhi NCR. We have implemented the Miyawaki Approach for landscaping sustainability, which further leads to denser foliage and tree cover.”

Set in stone
Although the awareness regarding environmental issues has increased in past few years, residents are given a checklist to follow in their daily practices to balance the system of the building. Vinit Dungarwal, director, AMs Project Consultants, says, “There are different parameters such as durability data of the product, it’s recycled content information and material safety data sheet provided by the manufacturers to measure these aspects. We can also check indoor air quality test data to keep a tab on its impact.”

“To make the green building stay green throughout its life, we conduct dedicated sessions to educate occupants on how to maintain the property, set-up display posters at key areas to raise awareness on green maintenance, provide guidelines that reinforce the green practice in the community and also have members who are champions of green, says Kalyanaraman, COO, Navin’s.

Conservation of water and energy is a need of today’s world, with many parts of India facing crisis due to lack of these resources. Alok Agarwal, sr VP, contracts & planning, Adhiraj Constructions, says, “Efficient solid waste management during and after construction. The debris has been ground properly and used as proper engineering landfills. The organic waste compactors will be installed at designated location to ensure efficient solid waste management.”

Pradeep Aggarwal, founder & chairman, Signature Global Group; chairman, ASSOCHAM, National Council on Real Estate, Housing and Urban Development, says, “Steps like UPVC door & windows for light transmission and energy saving, CP fittings with low-flow fixtures, Low VOC paint for environment and human wellness, external weather coat paints with temperature reduction, LED in common areas, segregating waste into dry & wet to produce manure for landscape plantation makes living better.”

Yukti Nagpal, director, Gulshan, believes that the goals a green building must fulfil life cycle assessment, structure design efficiency, energy, efficiency, water efficiency, materials efficiency, indoor environmental quality enhancement, operations and maintenance optimization, and waste reduction.

Speaking about products, Neeraj Akhoury, CEO India, LafargeHolcim; CEO & MD, Ambuja Cements; executive director, ACC, says, “EcoPact, our green concrete product range, was launched in February. The product was developed in line with our overall sustainability commitment. It is a low carbon concrete for high-performing, sustainable and circular construction. With ECOPact, we can contribute to creating a positive impact on our community of builders and on every eco-conscious home builder. The innovative manufacturing process of the ECOPact range reduces CO2 emissions by up to 100%, while also making it suitable for all structural components: from foundations to columns and beams, external or internal walls, driveways, walkways etc.”

Source : Construction Week Online

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