HYDERABAD: The future of real estate strongly associates with ‘Green Buildings’. Despite the fact that almost all real estate developers acknowledge it, only a handful of them are able to follow. Launching a green project, from a real estate developer’s perspective, is commercially unviable and thus not necessary. And they are right to a large extent. Since green projects require a relatively higher level of initial capital expenditure, developers find it difficult to go ahead unless they are supported by meaningful incentives from the government.
The global scenario
Countries which have been successful in promoting green practices in construction have ensured an active involvement of state governments and local authorities in the process. For instance, in the United States, Chicago’s Department of Construction and Permits (DCAP) provides permits to green projects within 15 days, on a preferential basis. The city of Portland offers free technical assistance to real estate developers on implementing environment-friendly practices in their projects.
Hyderabad as a torchbearer
Recognising the role of local bodies in promoting environmental-friendly practices in real estate development, the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) has taken steps in the right direction. The Corporation is providing 10 per cent concession on property tax on using solar water heating equipment. Furthermore, an additional concession of 10 per cent is granted on developing water harvesting infrastructure.The Corporation has also reduced the impact fee for developers who adopt environment-friendly practices in their projects.
Nevetheless, Hyderabad has always been a centre of excellence in terms of green buildings. The CII-Sohrabji Green Business Centre is one of the few buildings, which was awarded the ‘platinum’ rating by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)way back in 2004. It was the greenest building in the world in that era.
Today, more than 20 buidlings are certified by LEEDs in Hyderabad. Although the number of green buildings is growing steadily, there is a lot to be done vis-à-vis India’s global footprint in this segment – and Hyderabad looks like a torchbearer indeed.