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Green Construction


The real estate sector is one of the most globally recognised sectors. The housing sector in India is growing at a rapid pace and contributing immensely to the growth of the economy. In India it is the second largest employer after agriculture. The real estate sector comprises four sub sectors - housing, retail, hospitality, and commercial. The growth of this sector is well complemented by the growth of the corporate environment and the demand for office space as well as urban and semi-urban accommodations. The Government of India along with the governments of the respective states has taken several initiatives to encourage the development in the sector. Environmentally responsible and resource-efficient buildings are becoming an integral part and future of the construction industry. Developers, end users and the government have understood its need and importance and are adopting it at a fast pace. Many home buyers are paying attention to green homes and sustainable buildings by recognising the importance and link between green properties, cost savings and healthy living.

Green buildings incorporate sustainable features like the efficient use of water and energy, the use of renewable energy and recycling recyclable materials, and the effective use of landscapes and building management systems. A green building creates less waste and provides a healthier living environment.

Characteristics of Green Buildings

The Green buildings in India are getting nod from all walks of society because of the string of benefits attached to them.

The main characteristics of Green Buildings in Indian Real Estate are:

  • Lower consumption of water and electricity
  • Use of techniques like electricity generation with solar panels, rain-water harvesting.
  • Use of energy-efficient thermostats reduces the consumption of power for large appliances like air-conditioner, etc.
  • Buildings with water treatment plants recycle the waste water
  • Use of natural building material instead of synthetic ones
  • Buildings promote community living where a single resource caters to more people at a time, thus enabling a reduction in resource consumption and better utilisation.

Waste Heat Recovery System

The integrated RISDA plant includes a Wastage Heat Recovery System, thereby making it environment friendly, since the waste heat from the system gets utilised/recycled to generate power. The waste heat recovery system makes the Risda plant one of the most efficient in terms of electrical energy consumption.

Waste heat from cement kilns is usually used for the drying of raw materials and fuel.

Cement is the binding material that is mixed with an aggregate such as sand or gravel and water to form concrete.

Eco Friendly Building Material

  • Clay Fly Ash Bricks - Burnt Clay Fly Ash Bricks are primarily composed of cement, sand, fly ash and water. The chemical components of these bricks make them highly resistant to moisture which is why water particles can hardly ever penetrate the surface of these bricks. Due to high strength, practically no breakage occurs during transport and use. They also provide high fire Insulation.
  • Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (AAC) - AAC is light in weight and is solid but still soft. Its resource efficiency gives it a lower environmental impact. This material is completely inorganic and not combustible. There are no toxic gases or other toxic substances in AAC, it is well suited for urban areas with high rise buildings and those with high temperature variations. Due to its lower density, high rise buildings constructed using AAC require less steel and concrete for its structural members. It will not degrade under normal climatic changes either. Its assembly is much quicker and smoother
  • Recycled Plastic - Instead of mining, extracting, and milling new components, researchers are creating concrete that includes ground up recycled plastics and trash, which not only reduces greenhouse gas emissions, but reduces weight and provides a new use for landfill-clogging plastic waste.
  • Wood - Plain old wood still retains many advantages over more industrial building materials like concrete or steel. Not only do trees absorb CO2 as they grow, they require much less energy-intensive methods to process into construction products. Properly managed forests are also renewable and can ensure a bio-diverse habitat.
  • Natural Paint - With these products, you don't have to worry about any harsh chemicals or compounds as they are made from water, plant dyes, essential oils, resins, clay, chalk, milk casein and even bees' wax. The scent is minimal if not pleasant.

Eco Friendly Home

Cool Roofs is a green building technology that is especially suited to the climate of India. It is a relatively cheap option with substantial benefits. It reflects away a percentage of the visible, infrared and ultraviolet radiation from the sun. This reduces the heat gained by the building itself and is called high solar reflectance, as a result, it reduces electricity bills due to lesser cooling requirement and AC loads.

Insulation refers to an energy savings procedure in construction, which provides resistance to heat flow. Naturally, heat flows from a warmer to a cooler space. By insulating a house, one can reduce the heat loss in buildings in cold weather or climate, and reduce the heat surplus in warmer weather or climate. In cold conditions, the main aim is to reduce heat flow out of the building, in hot conditions to reflect the heat for a cooler temperature in the house.

Smart glass is formed by the fusion of potash, lime and silica at high temperature. It has properties that can change in response to external stimuli. This 3-in-1 solution combines a window, a sunshade and a blind. When installed in buildings, smart glass creates climate adaptive building shells, with the ability to save costs for heating, air-conditioning and lighting.

Smart Appliances are generally connected to other devices or networks via different wireless protocols such as Bluetooth, NFC, Wi-Fi, 3G, etc. Some technology in lieu of smart appliances are smart lightning, smart air-conditioning, alarm-systems, speaker systems, etc.

Zero Energy Home are regular homes that are so air-tight, well-insulated and energy efficient that they produce as much renewable energy as they consume over the course of a year. They are ultra-comfortable, healthy, quiet, sustainable homes that are affordable to live in. They minimise toxicity, and also have a zero carbon footprint.

Bio Degradable

Straw Bales are used to create a home's walls as they naturally provide very high levels of insulation for a hot or cold climate, and are not only affordable but sustainable as straw is a rapidly renewable resource and abundantly available.

Grasscrete is a method of laying concrete flooring, walkways, sidewalks and driveways in such a manner that there are open patterns which allow grass or other flora to grow. The benefit is reduction of concrete usage overall and improved storm-water absorption and drainage.

Rammed Earth is an ancient construction technique similar to adobe that uses the raw materials from the Earth to form sturdy buildings through a simple process. The density of rammed earth makes it an ideal material for regulating the temperature of a building. It will stay cool in the summer and warm in winter.

HempCrete is a concrete like material created from the woody inner fibres of the hemp plant. The hemp fibres are fused with lime to create concrete-like shapes that are strong and light. The blocks are lightweight, and hemp itself is a fast-growing, renewable resource.

Bamboo is used for framing buildings and shelters, bamboo can replace expensive and heavy imported materials and provide an alternative to concrete. This has an advantage as, post-disaster rebuilding, and low-income areas with access to natural locally-sourced bamboo, cost effective, recyclable.

Mycelium are the root-like fibres of fungi which grow beneath the surface of the ground, Mycelium can form an incredibly strong material that is not only water-resistant, but also fire and mold-resistant. This is particularly useful because traditional insulating and packing materials tend to be non-biodegradable or poisonous in the case of asbestos.

Ferrock is made with waste steel dust left over from industrial processes. Ferrock is actually five times stronger. It can withstand more compression before breaking and is far more flexible. This unique material actually absorbs and traps carbon dioxide as part of its drying and hardening process - making it less CO2 intensive than traditional concrete.

TimberCrete is a blend of sawmill waste, cement, sand, binders and a non-toxic deflocculating additive. It's around 2.5 times lighter than concrete or clay and has a higher insulation value, lighter weight and higher fire resistance. Timbercrete is very environmentally friendly all the way from its raw ingredients through to its everyday use. It also has a good load-bearing capacity. Timbercrete has a lower density and therefore higher insulation value (R value) than clay fired bricks, mud bricks, rammed earth, concrete and concrete blocks.

Benefits of Green Buildings

Environmental benefits:

  • Reducing wastage of water
  • Conserving of natural resources
  • Improved air and water quality
  • Protecting biodiversity and ecosystems
  • Less greenhouse gas discharges
  • Less dependence on fossil fuels

Economic benefits:

  • Reducing operating costs
  • Improving occupant productivity
  • Creating a market for green products and services
  • Less material and labour costs during construction
  • A lesser amount of construction waste

Social benefits:

  • Improve quality of life for occupants
  • Minimise strain on local infrastructure
  • Improve occupant health and comfort
  • Improved indoor air quality
  • Higher resale charges
  • Energy-efficient secured loan

Green Power - Renewable Energy

Sustainable energy solutions are literally found in the air, deep underground and in our oceans. Each of the following can be tapped directly or indirectly by going green.

  • Bioenergy - Biomass refers to any organic matter coming from recently living plants or animals. Biomass is any organic material which has stored sunlight in the form of chemical energy. As a fuel it may include wood, wood waste, straw, manure, sugarcane and many other by-products from a variety of agricultural processes. Biomass is very easily available, low in cost and renewable heat incentive. Using biomass as an alternate source of fuel reduces our dependency on fossil fuels which is better for the planet and more cost effective.
  • Hydroelectric - Today, the kinetic energy from flowing rivers is captured in different ways and converted into hydroelectricity. Hydropower is fuelled by water and so it's a clean fuel source. Hydropower doesn't pollute the air like power plants that burn fossil fuels.
  • Solar - The sun plays a significant role in each type of renewable energy listed here. The most direct use of this renewable energy source is achieved by capturing the sun's energy directly. One can construct or retrofit a building to incorporate a solar hot water, cooling or ventilation system. Using solar power to pre-heat outside air before it is allowed to enter a building can considerably reduce heating costs both in residential buildings and commercial constructions. By simply orienting a building to exploit its windows and capture passive solar heat as much as possible, promoters and architects can create their designs with a mind to consume less energy, increase the sustainable development aspects and improve daylight penetration, which can increase employee productivity without incurring additional construction costs.

Rain Water Harvesting

  • Rainwater harvesting is the accumulation and deposition of rainwater for reuse on-site, rather than allowing it to escape. Rainwater can be collected from rivers or roofs, and in many places, the water collected is redirected to a deep pit (well, shaft or borehole), a reservoir with percolation or collected from dew or fog with nets or other tools
  • The harvested water can also be used as drinking water, for longer-term storage and for other purposes such as groundwater recharge
  • To enhance irrigation in arid environments, ridges of soil are constructed to trap and prevent rainwater from running down hills and slopes. Even in periods of low rainfall, enough water is collected for crops to grow
  • The main purpose of rainwater harvesting is to use locally available rainwater to meet water requirements throughout the year without the need of huge capital expenditures. This would facilitate the availability of uncontaminated water for domestic, industrial and irrigation needs
  • Water insecure households or individuals in rural areas will benefit the most from rainwater harvesting systems. Traditional water harvesting systems were bawaries, step wells, jhiries, lakes, tanks, etc. These water storage bodies were intended for domestic and irrigation needs.
  • Using water indoors for toilet flushing, clothes washing, bathing, showering, and hot water service require additional plumbing and a pump. This runoff could be caught and used for recharging aquifers by adopting appropriate methods.

Indoor Environmental Quality

  • Green building refers to both a structure and the application of processes that are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building's life-cycle
  • The Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) is one of five environmental categories created to provide comfort, well-being and productivity of occupants
  • These indoor environments are directly linked to our physical and mental well-being; in turn affecting almost every facet of our lives
  • The low solar heat gain coefficient of glass results in lower sun heat in a building, resulting in the building being cooler
  • Water-efficient fittings result in more efficient water consumption
  • Building materials such as paints, coatings, adhesives, sealants, and furniture that may emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are substances that vaporise at room temperature and can cause health problems, thus using organic paint would not result in health abuse
  • Plants not only contribute to the appearance of the office and provide aesthetic value but also can help reduce air pollutants and introduce more oxygen to increase air quality
  • Ventilation includes both the exchange of air to the outside as well as circulation of air within the building. It is one of the most important factors for maintaining acceptable indoor air quality in buildings