There’s always more you can do for our planet
Who wouldn't want to stay in a safer and healthier home? Who wouldn't want to feel good that they are living in a home for the now, but ready for countering climate change? And finally, who wouldn’t want to stay in a home which is safe-guarding against rising maintenance fees in an uncertain world?
The answer from anyone would be a resounding YES. And, the best part is that this doesn’t have to be an either/or situation.
For a while now, we have all been hearing about climate change and sustainable living. And urban homebuyers and real estate developers alike, have not only been aware of this, but are trying consciously to find ways to adopt sustainability.
However, the popular myth has been that living financially and environmentally sustainable is mutually exclusive.
Let’s unpack this a little.
While home is where the heart is, COVID has made our homes more important now than ever before. This means a key aspect of living sustainably is dependent on our homes. And this brings a key stakeholder in the system into the discussion – the Real Estate developer. When it comes to assuming their responsibility towards sustainable construction, I can assure you, many of them are cognisant of their responsibility and are willing to comply. But, their struggles aren’t too dissimilar to where any of us are when making decisions about our lives. And, that’s where as a buyer and a future resident of these buildings, each of us have a role to play as well.
Amidst the pressures of compliances, RERA and time management, Real Estate developers are trying to prioritise sustainable design decisions. And that’s where we can help them. We need to simply ask the right questions. Questions like, “I would like to keep my dependency on tankers for water to a minimum.” How can you make it possible for us?” Or “I would like to ensure no waste from my home causes further pollution in the city. How can you enable us?” You get the idea.
Each of such questions would help the developer with their priorities. The second thing a buyer can do is to understand the financial implications of sustainable design. Now, there are enough design approaches to construct with low additional capital investment; however, for this discussion, let us assume that there is an additional cost.
The developer would be happy to spend, but many times are discouraged with the buyer’s lack of enthusiasm. Again, that’s where we have a role to play. We need to be collaborative with the developer and ask the right questions. Ask them to explain each additional expense and further, ask about the expected impact – both environmental (to keep our homes future-ready) and economical (the expected savings in the maintenance costs).
Each design decision will have one or both of these, primarily targeted at the buyer. This would then boil down to adopting an investor mindset. And, if we are smart with our questions and open-minded, we can empower the developer to make right choices. The expectation from us must be that we are able to live in future-ready and financially viable homes. So, if we play our role well, we would be enabling all stakeholders to step up and ultimately work towards a more sustainable future for all. Isn’t that what we all can aspire for? Then, what’s stopping us?
- Sriram Kuchimanchi
Founder and CEO