Why does the city of Bengaluru need more green buildings?
With a population of 13.9 million, Bengaluru is accommodating the major chunk of the Indian youth. The city is in constant demand for more residential and commercial buildings to accommodate the increasing population influx.
With the already increasing space crunch, and not to mention, the climate change, constructing conventional buildings is not a great idea. Having green buildings is a good alternative. According to the World Green Building Council,
‘A green building is a building that, in its design, construction or operation, reduces or eliminates negative impacts, and can create positive impacts, on our climate and natural environment.’
Bengaluru city needs more green buildings. But despite the heightened need, the city has only 332 buildings registered under the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC), which is equivalent to less than 5% of the total buildings in the city. As quite intuitive, there are quite a number of reasons for Bengaluru to increase the number of its green buildings:
- Energy savings
Bengaluru consumes 42 Million Units (MU) energy per day. This growing power consumption can be compensated by using green buildings. Green buildings are known to be self-sufficient. They generate their own energy to meet their power requirements. They use non-conventional energy sources such as solar panels, wind turbines, rainwater harvesting systems, composting systems, etc, and help in energy conservation.
The energy savings can be as high as 15,000 MWh, while water savings can be 45,000 kL, says Syed Mohamed Beary, chairman, IGBC, Bangalore. The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) estimated that if green buildings were adopted across the country, it could save over 8,400 MW power, which is sufficient to light 5,50,000 homes a year.
- Reduction in particulate generation and pollution
Construction works are a major cause of air pollution, especially dust particle generation in the ambient air. This, coupled with the increasing amount of greenhouse gases and demolition waste generated from these buildings, underlines the fact that now is the time to look towards sustainable development through green buildings. The carbon footprint of a building, According to the WHO, the particulate matter concentration and the pollution levels are three times higher in the city than the national standards given by WHO’s safety limit. Green buildings use non-toxic materials, and hence, can help in reducing pollution levels.
- Use of eco-friendly materials
New construction means investing ample quantity of materials and non-biodegradable consumptions like plastic. These add to the already degrading situation of the environment. Not to mention the huge amount of water needed during the entire construction process.
All these problems can be alleviated by adopting green buildings. Green buildings are constructed using eco-friendly materials, like bamboo, recycled steel, sheep’s wool, earth, etc. These materials are able to reduce the environmental impact associated with the development process. They also help in maintaining the internal temperature, thus, reducing the need for air conditioning. Hence, they have emerged as a viable solution for a sustainable future.
- Reduction in natural resources usage
These green buildings are built in harmony with nature. That means they consume less natural resources like water and electricity by optimizing the space available. Such projects allow installing a rooftop solar plant or to convert the parking area into soar carports. The glass facades of the complexes can be replaced with solar panels. These options can reduce the energy requirement by 25-30%. A water harvesting system is also an option to be installed on the roof.
- Increase in awareness
People are becoming more aware of the changing environmental scenarios. And they want to contribute to easing the climatic conditions whichever way possible. Homebuyers are gradually understanding that buildings made from eco-friendly materials are better for nature and also reduce costs in the long run. Also, people prefer to have green outdoor spaces amidst the urban chaos. This is why Bengaluru has seen a surge in demand for such projects over the last few years.
While green buildings are gaining attention over the conventional ones, there still are some hindrances for its complete adoption. The major factor being the cost. According to IGBC, initially, green buildings were 10-12% costlier than the conventional buildings, which has now decreased to 2-5%.
These green buildings have tremendous potential both from environmental and business perspectives. According to the Indian Green Building Council, the number of green buildings is expected to rise to one lakh by 2025. This is a big leap from 2001 when the city had just one green building in India. This will cover hospitals, hotels, offices, institutions, colleges, convention centers, and IT parks. If the city is to work towards saving the environment, for future generations, now is the time to start, not only for Bengaluru but cities across India.