‘We aspire for sustainability to be embedded in the day-to-day lives of citizens.’

The ultimate vision for sustainability is a zero-carbon footprint, i.e. zero dependencies on external energy sources. With respect to sustainability, today, the emphasis of the industry is on water conservation. However, there is a growing trend to utilise unconventional alternatives for conserving natural resources, says, Amar Tendulkar, Chief of Design, Mahindra Lifespace Developers Ltd, in an interview with Architecture Update.

Q. What made you to shift to Mahindra Lifespaces as your workplace? Throw light on two ambitious projects of Mahindra Lifespaces – MWC Chennai and MWC Jaipur.
To work with Mahindra Lifespaces where Quality, Sustainability, Commitment and Trust are buzzwords is itself an achievement. I am proud to be involved with a reputed organisation like Mahindra Lifespaces on the design aspect. This is a value add to my journey, which started after my post-graduation and working with Ar. BV Doshi.

My ambition is synchronised with that of Mahindra Lifespaces’. Our unique Mahindra World City (MWC) brand embodies our approach to urbanisation – via the development of pioneering integrated cities built on the ethos of ‘Livelihood, Living and Life.’ MWC Chennai was launched in 2002, spans ~1500 acres and encompass dedicated Special Economic Zones, Domestic Tariff Areas and residential and social spaces. The business zone is divided into three sector specific SEZs for IT, Auto Ancillaries and Apparel & Fashion Accessories, and a Domestic Tariff Area. The residential space is currently home to over 2000 families across its six multi-format residential projects. Residents have easy access to nearby social infrastructure. The CBSE-affiliated Mahindra World School, a hospital, banks and ATMs, a commercial centre with retail outlets and a food court, a childcare centre, the MWC Club and a business hotel are all located within MWC Chennai. MWC Chennai is also India’s first IGBC Gold (Stage 1) certified Green Township and home to corporate India’s first operational SEZ.

Our developments are community-centric; we make sure that they contribute to the city fabric, while also ensuring that they are environment-friendly, safe and secure.
Mahindra World City, Jaipur, is promoted as a joint venture between Mahindra Lifespace Developers Limited and RIICO (Rajasthan State Industrial Development and Investment Corporation). Spanning across ~3000 acres, it houses a multi-product SEZ, a Domestic Tariff Area (DTA) and residential/social zone is currently under the planning stage. Jaipur being a heritage city, has its own cultural and architectural roots with a particular character and layers of development already in place. Our focus for the development of social infrastructure at MWC Jaipur will amalgamate the heritage aspects of Jaipur with modern ones for the City to thrive sustainably.

In terms of sustainability, MWC Jaipur has achieved global environmental firsts. It is the first project in Asia to receive Climate Positive Development Stage 2 Certification from the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40), a global network of large cities acting to address climate change.

Q.What is your mission for sustainable urbanisation? When you take any projects, what do you do? What is your approach towards that?
The ultimate vision for sustainability is a zero-carbon footprint, i.e. zero dependencies on external energy sources. With respect to sustainability, today, the emphasis of the industry is on water conservation. However, there is a growing trend towards utilising unconventional alternatives for conserving natural resources.

In reference to the green building research papers being published and the agendas formulated by our governing bodies, the goal is to make every building sustainable in due course. To do so, the entire lifecycle of a building – from site selection and design, to construction, occupancy and end-of-life phase should be made resource-conscious. We aspire for sustainability to be embedded in the day-to-day lives of citizens.

For example, in MWC Chennai, the lake conservation efforts done by us have fetched successful results and have not only benefitted the MWC residents but also the entire region including nearby villages. Additionally, the MWC Chennai does not have a divisive physical boundary or compound wall separating from adjacent communities. The natives or villagers from nearby area use the MWC road network for their commute and also participate in the activities like ‘weekly bazar’ which is mutually rewarding and also help closely stitches the fabric of the sustainable communities.

At Mahindra Lifespaces, all developments, across our portfolio, be it residential buildings, Mahindra World City projects and industrial clusters (ORIGINS by Mahindra World City) – incorporate green architecture, environment-friendly building materials and a sustainable supply chain. We have a 100% green certified portfolio – all our buildings, cities and industrial clusters are either IGBC certified Gold/Platinum or GRIHA certified. Green buildings are being developed by Mahindra Lifespaces to increase resource efficiency (energy, water, and materials), while reducing the impact on human health and the environment, through better selection of sites, design, construction,operation and maintenance, i.e. the complete building life cycle.

Mahindra Lifespaces believes that lasting, industry-wide innovation requires a collaborative approach encompassing multiple stakeholder communities. Towards this end, it has established the first-of-its-kind Mahindra-TERI Centre of Excellence (CoE) together with The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI). The CoE is a research facility that will leverage state-of-the art research techniques and tools to develop energy-efficient solutions adapted to Indian climatic conditions. The CoE is developing a database for market-ready, scalable and energy-efficient materials and technologies to boost the development of green buildings in India. The CoE’s research output will be available in the public domain to ensure wider adoption by developers, architects and home owners.

Mahindra Lifespaces is also a founding member of the Sustainable Housing Leadership Consortium, a think-tank convened by IFC (International Finance Corporation) with representation from early contributors to India’s green building and affordable housing movement. The consortium aims to mainstream sustainability in India’s housing sector and support the transition to a low-carbon economy.

Q.What are the design principles you follow?
The design principle begins with a search for sustainable locations that are in close proximity to relevant social infrastructure and mass transit routes. Later, we create blueprints that encourage green living and manage the complex cause and effect relationships in resource efficiency. Futureproof, innovative and latest technologies are used for designing of a building. Optimal use of daylight is achieved via design, orientation, type of glass, shading and the right mix of enablers to reduce dependency on artificial light during the daytime. All Mahindra Lifespaces projects are designed keeping in mind the sun-path to maximise daylight potential and natural wind flow for residents. This also helps reduce electricity consumption. Besides this, we also ensure that rainwater helps to recharge maximum water level. Recycled water is then used for landscaping purposes. Resource-efficient materials are selected as part of the structure, fixtures and fittings as well as on-site infrastructure.

In terms of operations, we are going to monitor individual consumptions and usage of the resources via meters. The generated data will act a backbone for taking right measures in creating appropriate solution for energy conservation.

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