Architects and designers should encourage real estate developers to adopt sustainable designs in their projects, says Priyadarshani Desale, Faculty – College of Architecture, SDPS Women’s College, Indore.
India being a continuously developing country, infrastructure deficit bottlenecks are not new. Development being slow, most of the tier-1 cities face the problem of inadequate and frequent power failure, absence of drinking water, traffic congestion, inefficient storm water drains and so on. In addition to these deficits, tier 2 & 3 cities experience even absence of basic infrastructure and common facilities. Nowadays many big players are coming up with hundreds of acres of development projects.
Majority of the land parcels are being developed only by private developers, replacing the responsibility of the common infrastructure development from government body to private player. Real estate sector comprises commercial real estate and residential real estate. Townships and SEZ have to cater to infrastructure within as well as road, transportation, water supply (treated and untreated) and sanitation, solid waste management and so on.
Government has now made environmental clearance compulsory for large scale projects. The clearance is on parameters which include sustainable site planning, water management, managing transport including noise and air, building materials and technologies, solid waste management, construction and demolition, and energy conservation. However, a gap is observed between on-paper clearance of norms and their practical implementation.
Real estate players are choosing IGBC/USGBC LEED certifications or equivalent systems which add glamour to their projects apart from sustainability. Architects and designers should encourage developers towards sustainable designs in real estate projects. It is imperative to revisit the national building norms and standards.
Risk analysis amongst the social, economical and environmental aspects is crucial at the planning level where social risk analysis will include Water Access Percentage of city population with potable water, supply service, number of interruptions in water service and so on. Identifying the environmental risks at advance stage will help us mitigate or prevent the adverse environment impacts and climate change. Then sustainable practice will be as usual as the RCC construction technology used nowadays. Price of water and domestic water consumption per capita are important economic parameters to be thought of. Like electricity metering, even water metering should be made compulsory to create awareness in society.
Developers feel that the sustainable planned way is a costly affair. Government, through association of CIDC, TERI, MoEF or NGO, can help facilitate real estate players for sustainable measures in planning, implementation and maintenance. Developers will also be inclined to choose the sustainable path.
To ensure that real estate developers practice sustainable development, the major bottleneck, initial seed capital, should be removed as it is slightly more for the sustainable way than for conventional. The alternate source of seed capital funding for developers needs to be identified either through private source or government subsidy, as benefit in floor space index/floor space ratio or concession in the period of tax payment.
For better planned and sustainable infrastructure with common facilities, joint ventures between private real estate developers and JNNURM can be thought of.