Go­ing Green: Sus­tain­able Malls Lead the Way

The world is go­ing green. Com­pa­nies, in­dus­tries and even in­di­vid­u­als are pur­su­ing knowl­edge that can lead to en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly life­styles. The green move­ment is no longer a fad, but a re­al­ity. Faced with the alarm­ing prospect that the Earth will be

Shopping Center News - - CONTENTS - By Shubhra Saini

We give you an in­sight into what ex­actly is green build­ing, why mall de­vel­op­ers need to go green, and what will the goals of these sus­tain­able malls be.

The need of be­ing sus­tain­able is more im­por­tant and sig­nif­i­cant now than ever be­fore. Sus­tain­abil­ity is di­rectly linked to re­sources and re­source­ful­ness. In In­dia, a size­able por­tion of un­or­gan­ised play­ers in the re­tail sec­tor do not pri­ori­tise the en­vi­ron­ment. What de­vel­op­ers and re­tail­ers don’t, un­for­tu­nately, un­der­stand is that by fo­cus­ing on sus­tain­abil­ity ini­tia­tives, they can re­duce costs by 20 to 25 per­cent. Suc­cess­ful adop­tion of green build­ing strate­gies can max­imise both the eco­nomic as well as the en­vi­ron­men­tal per­for­mance of the build­ings.

Sus­tain­abil­ity should be a key pri­or­ity while plan­ning and de­vel­op­ing a mall, as malls have be­come an in­te­gral part of our so­ci­ety and are looked up to as com­mu­nity cen­tres. As re­spon­si­ble cor­po­rate en­ti­ties, it is the duty of a mall to give back to the com­mu­nity. The need of the hour is to ed­u­cate In­dian mall de­vel­op­ers on the ben­e­fits of be­ing sus­tain­able – go green but with so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity.

In In­dia, the sus­tain­abil­ity drive is re­gret­tably re­stricted to just a few big play­ers, but what mall de­vel­op­ers need to un­der­stand is that cer­tain green ini­tia­tives trans­late di­rectly into the bot­tom line. There is no deny­ing the fact that by im­ple­ment­ing sus­tain­able prac­tices, re­tail busi­nesses can be­come more ef­fi­cient and save money in the process.

What is a Green Build­ing?

The ideal green build­ing would be a build­ing project that would al­low you to pre­serve most of the nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment around the project site, while still be­ing able to pro­duce a build­ing that is go­ing to serve a pur­pose. The con­struc­tion and op­er­a­tion will pro­mote a healthy en­vi­ron­ment for all in­volved, and it will not dis­rupt the land, wa­ter, re­sources and energy in and around the build­ing.

The ba­sic prin­ci­ples of sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment – build­ing con­fig­u­ra­tion, energy use, wa­ter con­ser­va­tion, air qual­ity, main­te­nance, re­cy­cling and ma­te­rial spec­i­fi­ca­tions – are the key pa­ram­e­ters of turn­ing any project into a green project.

Ad­van­tages of Green Sus­tain­able Build­ings

Build­ings ac­count for nearly ½ of all green­house gas emis­sions and over 75 per­cent of all elec­tric­ity pro­duced by power plants. The con­struc­tion in­dus­try needs to play a sig­nif­i­cant role in com­bat­ing cli­mate change symp­toms.

There are many ad­van­tages to green sus­tain­able architecture. The first, and most ob­vi­ous be­ing that it helps save the en­vi­ron­ment. Ad­di­tion­ally, it proves ben­e­fi­cial to mall de­vel­op­ers in re­duc­ing day-to-day op­er­at­ing ex­pen­di­ture.

The ba­sic prin­ci­ples of sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment, such as build­ing conĆgu­ra­tion, energy use, wa­ter con­ser­va­tion, air qual­ity, main­te­nance, re­cy­cling and ma­te­rial speciĆ­ca­tions are the key pa­ram­e­ters of turn­ing any project into a green project.

Apart from this, sus­tain­able de­sign projects can cre­ate a mar­ket ad­van­tage for the de­sign pro­fes­sional, as well as im­prove the pro­duc­tiv­ity and liv­abil­ity of build­ing oc­cu­pants.

Ab­hishek Bansal, Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor of Pa­cific In­dia Group, says, “It is high time In­dian malls start think­ing green, but the road ahead is still long and ar­du­ous. In In­dia, though de­vel­op­ers and re­tail­ers can re­duce costs by 20–25 per­cent by adapt­ing to fea­si­ble en­vi­ron­ment sus­tain­abil­ity ini­tia­tives, a size­able por­tion of the un­or­gan­ised play­ers in the re­tail sec­tor do not pri­ori­tise the en­vi­ron­ment sus­tain­abil­ity fac­tor. The suc­cess­ful adop­tion of green build­ing strate­gies can max­imise both the eco­nomic and en­vi­ron­men­tal per­for­mance of the build­ings. Green build­ings are gain­ing ground in the real es­tate mar­ket. Soon, there is ev­ery pos­si­bil­ity for such build­ings to be­come a norm. The con­cept of green build­ings is not just a sim­ple trend that is gain­ing mo­men­tum in real es­tate con­struc­tion but it is also an ap­proach and its im­por­tance would only con­tinue to rise.”

De­bunk­ing the Myths

> It is a myth amongst mall de­vel­op­ers that cre­at­ing a mall with the vi­sion of sus­tain­abil­ity is an ex­pen­sive af­fair. In fact, if a mall is cre­ated with a ‘green’ strat­egy, will not only be en­vi­ron­men­tally sus­tain­able but fi­nan­cially sus­tain­able as well. If a sci­en­tific ap­proach is taken and plan­ning is done to cre­ate an en­vi­ron­ment-friendly mall at a nascent stage, mall de­vel­op­ment can be cost­ef­fec­tive, long-term costs can be re­duced mak­ing the mall more prof­itable in the long run. > Green build­ings have the abil­ity to com­mand higher rents, as­set val­ues, im­prove the health and well-be­ing of oc­cu­pants, im­prove em­ployee pro­duc­tiv­ity, at­tract ten­ants, re­duce ten­ant turnover, and cost less to op­er­ate and main­tain. In the long run, ad­her­ing to en­vi­ron­men­tal guide­lines and in­cor­po­rat­ing con­ser­va­tion prac­tices helps in bring­ing down op­er­at­ing costs for both de­vel­op­ers and re­tail­ers.

> A green build­ing looks just the same as a con­ven­tional build­ing. It may cost more up­front, but can save money over the life of the build­ing through lower op­er­at­ing costs. The cost sav­ings are most likely to be fully re­alised when in­cor­po­rated at the project’s con­cep­tual de­sign phase with the as­sis­tance of cog­nizant ar­chi­tects. In some cases, when build­ings are care­fully de­signed to be energy-ef­fi­cient, heat­ing, ven­ti­la­tion and air con­di­tion­ing (HVAC) equip­ment can be down­sized for sig­nif­i­cant sav­ings. There are also many green prod­ucts and ma­te­ri­als that cost the same or even less than con­ven­tional ones. Well-de­signed, con­structed, op­er­ated and main­tained green build­ings can have many ben­e­fits, in­clud­ing dura­bil­ity, re­duced costs for energy, wa­ter, op­er­a­tions and main­te­nance; im­proved oc­cu­pant health and pro­duc­tiv­ity; and the po­ten­tial for greater oc­cu­pant sat­is­fac­tion than con­ven­tional de­vel­op­ments.

Bansal, says, “Very of­ten green build­ings are con­sid­ered ex­pen­sive for they use all kinds of mod­ern build­ing meth­ods. How­ever, they save much more money from the mo­ment of cre­ation dur­ing its lifetime than or­di­nary build­ings. This is true

for build­ing all kinds of green struc­tures – of­fice build­ings, schools, churches, and fac­to­ries – not just malls. De­sign­ing and build­ing green struc­tures cost ap­prox­i­mately the same as reg­u­lar build­ings. Ac­cord­ing to a study even 20 per­cent of in­vest­ment into green build­ing will con­vert into 10 times more sav­ings. So, there is no sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ence in prices.”

Rea­sons for Slow Growth of Green Malls

In In­dia, or­gan­ised re­tail­ing is largely an ur­ban phe­nom­e­non. The pace of re­tail­ing in In­dia is still slow. Di­ver­sion of funds to re­tail­ing in the ini­tial pe­riod was not given promi­nence. With re­sources be­ing di­verted to other sec­tors like banking, in­sur­ance, com­mu­ni­ca­tions, and trans­porta­tion, etc, the growth of real es­tate has re­sul­tantly been slow in In­dia.

Other rea­sons for rel­a­tively slow growth of In­dia’s green real es­tate sec­tor are

Pol­icy-level in­cen­tives of­fered by the Gov­ern­ment are not con­sis­tent across all states. While en­vi­ron­men­tal clear­ance norms have gained trac­tion over the years, manda­tory clear­ances are not timely and neu­trally ac­corded. From the de­vel­oper’s point of view, there ap­pear to be in­ad­e­quate in­cen­tives for en­abling green ini­tia­tives, and the avail­able tech­nolo­gies are either too ex­pen­sive or do not ad­dress the re­quire­ments of their de­vel­op­ments.

One way for­ward is mak­ing green build­ings the manda­tory. How­ever, in places where tech­nol­ogy is not avail­able to build sus­tain­able build­ings, this should be rec­om­menda­tory. Manda­tory, be­cause it’s the only way real es­tate de­vel­op­ers will make green build­ings and adopt en­vi­ron­ment­friendly con­cepts.

Also, tech­nol­ogy needs to be avail­able at af­ford­able costs to reach the goal of go­ing sus­tain­able.

A Leap For­ward

The In­dian re­tail realty lacks the pro-ac­tive­ness that US or Sin­ga­pore re­tail real es­tate bod­ies, which have taken great leaps to­wards sus­tain­able, green architecture. To make these Utopian build­ings a re­al­ity, the In­dian re­tail real es­tate seg­ment needs a con­sen­sus on the is­sue of sus­tain­abil­ity.

The ba­sic prin­ci­ples of sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment, such as build­ing conĆgu­ra­tion, energy use, wa­ter con­ser­va­tion, air qual­ity, main­te­nance, re­cy­cling and ma­te­rial speciĆ­ca­tions are the key pa­ram­e­ters of turn­ing any project into a green project.

In the US, the Of­fice of Sus­tain­abil­ity, in part­ner­ship with the De­part­ment of Code En­force­ment, has de­vel­oped an in­cen­tive for prop­erty owners and de­vel­op­ers to ren­o­vate or con­struct build­ings in a sus­tain­able man­ner. The in­cen­tive, which qual­i­fies build­ing projects to re­ceive up to 50 per­cent re­duc­tion on per­mit fees as­so­ci­ated with the project, also re­wards build­ing owners and de­vel­op­ers for in­te­grat­ing sus­tain­able de­sign tech­niques into build­ing projects. The In­dian re­tail real es­tate seg­ment could take a cue from this and work on sim­i­lar lines.

“It is time In­dian de­vel­op­ers as­sume the re­spon­si­bil­ity to adopt green build­ing prac­tices, tech­nolo­gies, ma­te­ri­als, prod­ucts and ser­vices. By ac­tively en­gag­ing in build­ing a green en­vi­ron­ment, de­vel­op­ers can help cre­ate a no­tice­able green foot­print across In­dia,” con­cludes Bansal.

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