Protecting the environment and conserving the natural resources is no longer a requirement rather a need of the hour today. The loss of nature is one of the main drivers for the COVID-19 pandemic, which has caused so much suffering throughout the globe. COVID-19 is a type of disease that is caused by a virus that is transmitted from animal to human. Deforestation and Human expansion into wild spaces and increasing exploitation of species are bringing us closer to animals and the diseases they harbor. Similar types of diseases (Ebola, SARS, Plague, Lyme, etc.) kill around 20 lakh people all around the world every year, and we are furthermore increasing the risks of a pandemic by cutting into nature.
We live in a world where our air is polluted, natural resources are depleting fast and the problems due to climate change are mounting globally. Forest fires, extreme heatwaves, devastating droughts, and terrifying floods are usual nowadays. Let alone in 2020 itself we have faced severe heatwaves, cyclone Amphan, swarms of desert locusts and now floods in various regions throughout the country. None of this information is revelatory. We already knew we had to change. But the impacts of COVID-19 – the deaths, illnesses, economic damage, and poverty – have told us that we can delay no longer. Thus, the strategy of economic recovery that focuses on the environment and health will be the best means for long term prosperity.
India is the third-highest carbon emitter in the world and real estate is a major offender. And as the country strives to reduce its carbon footprint, the developers in India are increasingly focusing on green building projects. A Green Building is one which uses less water, improves energy efficiency, conserves natural resources, generates less waste, and provides healthier spaces for occupants, as compared to a conventional building. Certified green buildings usually result in energy savings of 40-50% and water savings of 20-30% compared to conventional buildings in India.
Why should you opt for a green building?
- Energy Saving and then saving on energy – Homeowners can get many benefits while living in a green home. The most important is in the reduction of operating energy costs from day one and for the entire life cycle of the building. Green homes are constructed in such a way that they receive natural lighting and air without the use of electricity. For Example, A carbon-neutral apartment building in Bengaluru offers homes that are 1.5KW solar powered and has an independent grid-tied to a solar setup that can give back unused energy to the local grid. Each unit not only runs on renewable energy but generates revenue as well for the end-user.
- Water Savings – The rising pollution and population put pressure on water sources. In many cities, water is already a scarcity so conserving it is very important. Methods like water harvesting can save as much as 30 – 50% water cost. A green home will not only reduce the water cost but also help you to conserve this scarce natural resource. The water conservation strategy implements rainwater harvesting, groundwater recharge with sustainable withdrawal, and reuse of wastewater through treatment.
- Enhanced air quality – To enjoy good air quality in your house, it is important that the design is such that you have uninterrupted air circulation and have natural air filtration such as plants. Using shades can shield your house against heatwaves. The use of solar chimneys and exhaust fans can also enhance the quality of air inside your house.
- Natural Lighting – Placement of windows for maximum exposure to daylight can significantly reduce your dependence on electric appliances for lighting. You should not block your windows and let sunlight come into your house. Also, the use of natural paints and light colors maximizes the natural lighting in your drawing room and bedroom.
- Enhances Resale Value – Green homes are not only eco-friendly but more appealing to new buyers because they are more efficient and reduce the total cost incurred by the occupants. A well-maintained green home enhances the resale value owing to the benefits it offers to prospective buyers.
Incentives to those who build Green Homes
State Governments, including West Bengal, Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand and Maharashtra (Pune) are offering additional Floor Area Ratio (FAR) ranging from 5 to 15% for IGBC silver, gold and platinum rated projects.
Though initial expenses for a green home are marginally high, but in the long run it turns out economical as your ongoing maintenance charges like water and electrical charges are drastically reduced. The biggest advantage is the conservation of nature and the environment and the legacy that we will leave for the next generation.
Studies depict 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 well-being of people who work in green offices or live in green homes.
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