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Emerging Trends and Technologies in Green Buildings
The building sector, which is one of the biggest consumers of resources and emits a significant amount of pollutants, as well as wastes, can play a vital role in building a sustainable environment by increased usage of green technologies. Excerpts from a recent report by Anarock Property Consultants Pvt. Ltd.

The building sector is one of the major consumers of natural resources, such as water, energy and other raw materials. The sector generates a large number of wastes and pollutants during three phases of its life cycle viz; construction, maintenance, and deconstruction.
As per an estimate, the sector consumes an approximate 25 per cent of water and 35-40 per cent energy, apart from other raw materials. The use of green building practices and technologies, however, can help in addressing these concerns along with giving an impetus to build a sustainable environment for future generations.

Biomimicry
Also known as biomimetic, this is a concept of imitation of the various models, systems and elements of nature and incorporating it in a buildings’ design and architecture. It has led to the adoption of many innovative designs to optimise the use of buildings’ air ventilation along with better cooling and heating control.

Green Roofs
Also known as living roof technique, the roof of the building gets fully or partially covered with vegetation and soil, on a planted waterproofing membrane. It moderates the heating and cooling of the building along with improving the air quality.

Vertical Gardens or Living Walls
In this technique, the plantation is done vertically on either side of walls. This technique helps in degrading the pollutants and enhancing the air quality.

Glass Fibre Reinforced Gypsum (GFRG) Panel
This is a very cost-effective and durable technique of development. It takes lesser time and requires lesser raw materials, such as sand, cement and other products. Additionally, the core component – Gypsum – is easily available at a cheaper price considering that a huge amount of it is generated as a waste from fertilizer and mining plants.
Buildings which use GFRG panels have a better lifespan and do not require beams and columns.

Monolithic Concrete Construction
Unlike conventional techniques, in this method, all structures, such as walls, floors, beams, columns, slabs, etc., along with window and door openings, are cast in a single operation with the help of modular formwork made of aluminium. With thinner walls and columns, it provides a higher usable area.
It is one of the potential technologies that can be used in affordable housing on a large scale, and it also conserves natural resources.

Rain Garden
This concept helps in enhancing the groundwater absorption by reducing the amount of rain runoff. It uses planted depressions to allow water runoff to go through impervious urban areas, pathways, driveways, compacted lawns, roofs, parking lots, etc.
This technique allows more time for water to be absorbed in the ground that leads to an increase in groundwater levels, low soil erosion and reduced water pollution.
Apart from the above, there are many other innovative technologies and materials that are extensively used in green building practices, such as Cradle-to-cradle design, smart glass, green concrete, passive building concept, cavity walls, lighting sensors and building management systems.

Challenges and barriers for Green Buildings
Whilst the usage of green building practices is on a rise, there are few challenges and barriers too. Over the last few years, the slowdown in Indian real estate sector has led to a stash of huge unsold inventory. In addition, the impact of recent reforms amidst subdued demand has further dampened the market sentiments, and the majority of the developers are struggling to offload the existing inventory.
Current market conditions have made the developers rather sceptical about the usage of any technology that increases the cost of construction. Apart from this short-term market situation, below are the few challenges for green buildings’ practice implementation in India.

Lack of awareness
A big section of Indian users are still unaware of green building concepts and its enduring benefits. A majority of users perceive that green building practices are expensive and financially not feasible.

Inadequate Government rules, standards and policies
There is an absence of stringent and mandatory laws to enforce large-scale implementation of green building norms.

Higher cost of equipment and products
The equipment and products used in the construction of green buildings cost higher than the conventional ones, and so small contractors and developers cannot afford them.

Lack of skilled resources and subject matter experts
A majority of industry stakeholders, such as policy makers, architects, engineers, contractors and workers don't possess adequate skills and knowhow required for green buildings’ construction.

Inefficient incentives and subsidies for developers
There are very few incentive plans and even the existing ones vary across states or even cities, based on the governing bodies. In the majority of cases, incentives are in the form of additional FAR/FSI, followed by a rebate on property tax and other schemes. However, these incentives have not been significant enough to encourage the developers and homebuyers.

Approvals and clearances
Developers already face a tedious process of approvals and there is an apprehension that further addition of green buildings’ related compliance may cause an additional delay.
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