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So you’re considering buying a property. And you’re considering this at a time when there’s a full-blown climate crisis, with cities running dry, with pollution enforcing masks well before the pandemic could, and with a general sense of “it’s time we acted”. What do you do? You decide to buy a green home—a project that promises sustainability. But now you need a loan to cover this.

Naturally, Indian banks have understood this burgeoning demand—the State Bank of India (SBI), IIFL Home Finance, and HDFC Bank have all announced “green home loan” products in recent months. Most of them have tied up with global lenders such as the Asian Development Bank and International Finance Corporation (IFC)—the investment arm of the World Bank Group—for promoting green and affordable housing in India. 

And why wouldn’t they? The IFC estimates estimates International Finance Corporation Climate Investment Opportunities in South Asia Read more a whopping $1.25 trillion investment opportunity in green residential housing in India by the year 2030. It also estimates that 70% of the buildings required by 2030 are yet to be constructed in the country.

There’s a clear spotlight on buildings as India accelerates its push towards net-zero emissions by 2070. The International Energy Agency predicts that buildings and buildings construction sectors combined are responsible for over one-third of global final energy consumption and nearly 40% of total direct and indirect CO2 emissions. 

The answer is green buildings—or buildings that focus on eliminating negative impacts on climate and environment in their design, construction or operation. They typically focus on efficient use of energy, water and other resources, waste reduction, higher use of renewable energy, and use of non-toxic materials.

Take Godrej Properties’ brochure for its premium residential complex in Mumbai ‘The Trees’, for example, which outlines the following:

Source: Godrej Properties

A call made by The Ken to the Godrej customer care to enquire about another property in Noida threw up similar words: an “urban forest, green cover, and a sustainable lifestyle” in the National Capital Region.

But only 5% of the country’s construction market is green as of now, something builders like Godrej and Total Environment are looking to change. Though a whole host of traditional builders—such as Raheja Group and DLF—are also rushing to build green housing projects. Most of them have opted for green building certificates, which are granted to buildings that reach a certain level of performance against a set of environment- and energy-related criteria. This is all measured by independent rating agencies.

Star System

Green building certifications are usually voluntary and delivered by independent organisations, both national and international—classified into Bronze/Silver/Gold/Platinum or 1/2/3/4 stars.

AUTHOR

Shruti Sonal

Shruti is a Delhi-based reporter who looks at India's clean energy ecosystem through the lens of the intersection between businesses, policy and environment. She has previously worked with Reuters and Outlook Business.

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