India’s Green Building Boom

(3BL Media/Justmeans) - India is booming: the rise of a huge middle class, a free-spending younger generation and business-friendly government reforms is making it one of the world's fastest-growing emerging market economies, one that expects to post 6.6 percent growth this fiscal year. By contrast, forecasts have the US economy growing at 2.3 percent in 2017. But if a rapidly growing India wants to enter the modern world, it needs to fix its infrastructure. The government has ambitious plans to develop industrial corridors, smart cities along with practical intentions to repair, or build new, airports, highways, schools and hospitals.

This urban explosion is creating unique challenges and opportunities related to natural ecosystems. Policy makers need to think innovatively about a range of issues from land-resource planning to broader ecological and energy implications. Improving the energy efficiency of buildings is an often overlooked strategy that can help alleviate many of the challenges that all cities face—from climate change to public health problems to unemployment and poverty. Thankfully, green building has seen a dramatic increase here. The US Green Building Council (USGBC), the developers of the LEED green building program, is committed to advancing even more rapid adoption of green building practices in India, which is projected to grow 20 percent in by 2018.

Green building is about reducing energy waste and water use. It’s about creating jobs and sparking economic growth. Therefore, investments in the building sector are less risky and create better returns when directed toward energy-efficient buildings. Emerging economies like India are engines of green growth. A recent USGBC survey shows 87 percent of Indian green building professionals anticipate the use of LEED in India to increase overall. Around the world, green building construction is doubling every three years, according to the World Green Building Trends 2016 report, by Dodge Data and Analytics and India already ranks third among the Top Ten Countries for LEED.

Globally, cities are expected to add 3 billion people from now to 2050, almost doubling the global urban population. The world is poised for a building eruption: an area equal to roughly 60 percent of the world’s current total building stock will be built or rebuilt in urban areas by 2030, mostly in emerging countries such as China, India and Indonesia.

The World Green Building Trends 2016 report suggests that environmental regulations, combined with the desire to create healthier neighborhoods and to “do the right thing,” are driving this growth. The greatest growth anticipated is new high-rise residential construction, mixed-use development and commercial building. Among the key benefits of this green building explosion is the extent to which it can ensure healthy indoor air to millions of India’s people. This promises to be more important than ever in coming years, particularly in light of rising air quality concerns.

Photo Credit: USGBC