Indian Green Building Council (IGBC), a professional body which certifies green buildings, has placed Bengaluru at the third position among Indian cities. Mumbai tops the list, with Delhi following it. With 332 IGBC registered green building projects, both residential and commercial, the number of green buildings is not even 5% of the total buildings in Bengaluru.
The city is yet to catch up with the sustainable building norms despite the push to promote green buildings.
“Price is a factor why both builders and buyers are not so keen on green buildings,” said Westline Builders CEO Nasir Mohiddin. “If a green building has to meet all the parameters, it comes with a price. The concept has takers in luxury segment but it won’t sell at mid-segment or budget home projects,” he added.
The Council has four certification levels and the cost increases as you go up. While a simple certification (silver) does not cost much, gold and platinum ratings cost an additional sum of at least INR 200-INR 300 per sq ft. “Sometimes, it goes even up to INR 500-INR 600 per sq ft (additional) if we have to strictly adhere to the standards,” Nasir said.
Council’s Bengaluru chapter chairman Syed Mohamed Beary does not think cost is a factor. “Initially, it used to be as high as 10-12% of the total project cost but now it has come down to 2-5%. The return on investment is 2-3 years and that is the reason why big developers are showing interest in green buildings,” he said.
Cities such as Pune, Kolkata, Chandigarh and Jaipur offer an additional floor area ratio of 5-15% for the developers who adhere to green norms. “But it has not been happening in Bengaluru,” he said.
Mandatory or not, pull factor is equally critical, believes Sanjay Seth, CEO of Green Buildings Rating System India (GRIHA). “If buyers insist that the developers have green parameters, then naturally the market will transform,” he noted.
Though after a prolonged delay, the Urban Development Department has recently decided to push at least some components of green buildings in its town-planning policy. “The draft building byelaw that we published in July has a chapter exclusively for green buildings and sustainability provisions. The plan is to include at least a few basic components of green buildings in the byelaw and promote it. We are scrutinising objections and suggestions and will notify it soon,” UDD Secretary Anjum Parvez said.