17 October 2019

Industry Focus- Green & Sustainable Constructions

Green Buildings: From Aspiration to Inspiration


Together with being one of the largest economies of the world, and by extension one of the largest users of energy, India is now getting around to embrace the concepts of sustainability, energy efficiency and green buildings thus far the preserve of developing countries. The green initiative in India is driven by several forces, including the government’s recognition that the infrastructure and energy supply are under enormous pressure. According to the US Energy Information Administration, India is the fourth largest energy consumer in the world, behind China, the United States and Russia. With the growing green buildings, India’s green building market is estimated to double by 2022 reports ROHAN AMBIKE.


Green building industry will grow by 20 per cent in India in the next three years, mainly on account of environmental regulation and rising demand, a report said. The US Green Building Council (USGBC) has announced the outcome of the Dodge Data & Analytics World Green Building Trends 2016 SmartMarket Report, in which the USGBC is a contributing partner. "The new report finds that by 2018, the green building industry in India will grow by 20 per cent driven largely by environmental regulations and demand for healthier neighbourhoods," USGBC said in a statement.


Among these innovative green building materials, some of them stand out due to their durability, cost effectiveness and local availability:


Innovative Green Building Materials




Bamboo has been intensively utilized as a building material since ancient times. However, due to the scarcity of wood in recent years, bamboo has gained great importance as a source of renewable fiber - as a suitable alternative to wood. Particularly, bamboo is suitable for low cost housing in earthquake-prone regions due to its sturdiness and versatility. This versatile forest produce lends itself to be manufactured into mat-based industrial products such as bamboo mat board, bamboo mat veneer composite, bamboo mat moulded products, bamboo mat corrugated sheet for roofing, etc.


The Indian Plywood Industries Research & Training Institute (IPIRTI) has developed this technique, which has proved to be a boon for the housing industries among North Eastern states. Since corrugated sheets are most versatile for roofing, development of corrugated sheets from bamboo mats was taken up at IPIRTI, under a project sponsored by the BMTPC. Sinusoidal wave platens have been designed for hot pressing phenol formaldehyde resin coated and preservative treated bamboo mats into corrugated sheets. These sheets are environment friendly, energy efficient and possess good fire resistance as well.




Rice Husk Ash Concrete


Rice Husk Ash (RHA) produced after burning of rice husks can be used as an admixture for concrete. RHA has high reactivity and pozzolanic property, which improves the workability and solidity of the cement. RHA concrete also reduces heat evolution during slaking, increases strength, impermeability and durability by strengthening transition zone, modifying the pore-structure and also plugs the voids in the hydrated cement paste through the pozzolanic reaction. Minimizing the alkali-aggregate reaction, it also reduces expansion and distills pore structure and hinders diffusion of alkali ions to the surface of aggregate by micro porous structure.




Plastic Bricks


The concept of plastic bricks first came up in Africa when in an experimental project financed by a European Union, plastic bags were melted and transformed into bricks with a cement mold saving both money and time. Plastic bricks have been extensively used in highway and railway infrastructure. Plastic from the millions of the bottles and bags are melted and molded in the form of bricks are used in the construction of the roads. This has considerably enhanced the elastic nature of the surface helping in more load-bearing capacity of highways. In India, this technology has been initiated on an experimental basis for railway sleepers, but was stopped since the danger to fire is a major concern.




Bagasse Particle Board


Bagasse is the residual pulp from sugarcane after the juice has been extracted. A considerable amount of excess bagasse generated from sugar mills is left to rot or burnt as fuel for boilers. This by-product is now being used as a substitute for wood in particle boards that are light and low cost. Bagasse-based composites offer potential as the core material for laminated floors, replacing high-density and expensive wood fiberboard. As such, bagasse does not have enough strength and water resistance to be used on its own. However, if it is made into a laminated particle board with resin as a bonding agent and wax as dimensional stabilizer, then it can be used for laminated floor and furniture applications.


The widest application of bagasse is in the manufacture of particle boards as low-cost construction materials and for the furniture industries. IPIRTI has developed a technology for the manufacture of Bagasse particle boards, which emits less formaldehyde and meets the requirement of strength properties for medium density particle boards. Usage of these innovative green building materials has considerably reduced the exploitative use of concrete, wood and other traditional resources.







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 biodiverse habitat.





Ferrock is a new material being researched that uses recycled materials including steel dust from the steel industry to create a concrete-like building material that is even stronger than concrete. What’s more, this unique material actually absorbs and traps carbon dioxide as part of its drying and hardening process – making it not only less CO2 intensive than traditional concrete, but actually carbon neutral.




Global market


Buildings have an enormous impact on the environment and climate change. At 41 per cent of the total US energy consumption, buildings out-consume the industrial (30 per cent) and transportation (29 per cent) sectors. Buildings use about 14 per cent of all potable water (15 trillion gallons per year). In the United States alone, buildings account for almost 40 per cent of national CO2 emissions. Standard building practices use and waste millions of tons of materials each year.



In comparison, green buildings use natural resources efficiently, minimise waste and result in lower utility bills and impact on the environment. LEED-certified buildings have 34 per cent lower CO2 emissions and consume 25 per cent less energy. Water-efficiency efforts in green buildings are expected to reduce water use by 15 per cent and save more than 10 per cent in operating costs. Retrofitting one out of every 100 American homes with water-efficient fixtures, could avoid about 80,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions, which is the equivalent of removing 15,000 cars from the road for one year. LEED projects are also responsible for diverting more than 80 million tons of waste from landfills, and by 2030 that number is expected to grow to 540 million tons.





Indian green building market


As the demand for more sustainable building options increases, green construction is becoming increasingly profitable and desirable within the international construction market. The market is responding to these cost savings and environmental benefits at a dramatic rate. According to a Dodge Data & Analytics World Green Building Trends 2016 SmartMarket Report, the global green building sector continues to double every three years, with survey respondents from 70 countries reporting that 60 per cent of their projects will be green by 2018. India ranks third, among the top 10 countries for LEED green buildings. In 2016, nearly 650 Indian building projects earned LEED certification.


India’s green building market is estimated to double by 2022 at 10 billion sq ft, valuing around USD 35-50 billion, driven by increasing awareness level, environmental benefits and government support, according to property consultant ANAROCK. “Though at a nascent stage, India has emerged as one of the leading countries in terms of green buildings’ projects. India ranks only second after the US in terms of the number of green technology projects and built-up area,” said Anuj Puri, Chairman, ANAROCK Property Consultants. More than 4,300 projects with about 4.7 billion sq ft of built-up area had registered for green technology as of September 2017, ANAROCK said in its report ‘Go Green - The Mantra for Sustainable Living’.


Puri said this is only about 5 per cent of the total buildings in India, and hence there is huge potential for further penetration of green building technology. “Growing at an exponential rate, the Indian green buildings’ market is expected to double and may reach around 10 billion sq ft by 2022, valued between USD 35 billion-USD 50 billion,” he added. ANAROCK has defined green building as the practice of using processes and technologies which are environment friendly and energy efficient throughout the building’s lifecycle from siting to design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation and deconstruction.


LEED (USA), BREEAM (UK), DGNB (Germany) and CASBEF (Japan) are a few of the key global entities that define, categorise and certify green buildings across different countries. In India, IGBC and GRIHA define the green building norms. Stating that green buildings can improve the environment’s ecology in numerous ways, the consultant said that it can reduce the energy consumption by 20-30 per cent, water usage by 30-50 per cent and significantly reduce waste generation by extensive recycling.


ANAROCK said that the green building may cost higher by up to 15 per cent than the conventional buildings. Still, the long-term benefits such as low operating costs along with potential health benefits for the occupiers, makes it a viable option. The report said that the growth of green building in India would be driven by increasing awareness, environmental benefits, government’s support, subsidies and compulsions. The improving affordability is also a factor in the growth. The report also pointed out those countries with more population & limited resources that will to adopt green buildings’ practices faster.


ANAROCK said that real estate development is one of the biggest consumers of natural resources and generates significant amounts of wastes and pollutants. “This sector alone ingests about 40 per cent of natural raw materials, 25 per cent of water and 35 per cent energy resources. In addition, it emits 40 per cent of wastes and 35 per cent of greenhouse gases,” it said, adding that the real estate sector can reduce its negative ecological footprint by adopting green building technologies.


Green buildings being a special segment of the real estate industry as whole and ongoing trends of promotion of sustainable development, a substantial party of the real estate market is going to be in green building sector. As per the industry estimates, for the new buildings, Almost three fourth of the buildings to be constructed in India by 2030 are yet to be built. As the awareness about green buildings is on the rise along with favorable policies, a major portion of these buildings will be green buildings.


The new high-rise residential, communities and mixed-use development are expected to be the top three sectors for green building growth in India in the coming years. Environment friendliness and reduced operating costs are already among the parameters, real estate customers consider seriously before investing. The promotion of green buildings - the aspect it largely lacked till three-four years ago, is going to have immense impact on the future green building market.


Growth in green building market in India is also likely to bring about enormous economic growth by creation of a new industrial sector. The notion of green building being  completely new in India, there are very few number of existing professionals in the sector. But as the market grows, there will be demand for architects, technicians, energy experts, environmentalists, consultants etc. having adequate knowledge of the sector. Some of the green building rating agency providers like IGBC or GRIHA has already started building professionals dedicated for green buildings. In next one decade or even less, the trend will enhance remarkably. As the worth of green buildings is being perceived by more sections of the society with the passage of time, the ultimate objective of sustainability i.e. economic development maintaining the environment looks easy to achieve.




Cost-effectiveness of green buildings


Upfront investment in green building, makes properties more valuable, with an average expected increase in value of four per cent. By virtue of lower maintenance and energy costs, the return on investment from green building is rapid: green retrofit projects are generally expected to pay for itself, in just seven years. Green buildings reduce day-to-day costs year-over-year. LEED buildings report almost 20 per cent lower maintenance costs than typical commercial buildings and green building retrofit projects, typically decrease operation costs by almost 10 per cent in just one year.


Between 2015 and 2018, LEED-certified buildings in the United States are estimated to give $1.2 billion in energy savings, $149.5 million in water savings, $715.2 million in maintenance savings and $54.2 million in waste savings.




Benefits of green buildings




One of the most important types of benefit green buildings offer is to our climate and the natural environment. Green buildings can not only reduce or eliminate negative impacts on the environment, by using less water, energy or natural resources, but they can - in many cases - have a positive impact on the environment (at the building or city scales) by generating their own energy or increasing biodiversity.  






Green buildings offer a number of economic or financial benefits, which are relevant to a range of different people or groups of people. These include cost savings on utility bills for tenants or households (through energy and water efficiency); lower construction costs and higher property value for building developers; increased occupancy rates or operating costs for building owners; and job creation.






Green building benefits go beyond economics and the environment, and have been shown to bring positive social impacts too. Many of these benefits are around the health and wellbeing of people who work in green offices or live in green homes.

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