The past year has not been an easy one for many Indians. The pervasive drought, and a lack of water has made going about our regular routine cumbersome, and it has altered the day-to-day experience of so many people.
Given this tumultuous year for the environment in India and its repercussions on the health, safety, and security of people, it is more important than ever that businesses and buildings adopt green building practices to mitigate the negative impact that buildings can have on the environment when not built to the highest standards in sustainability.
Ultimately, 2019 has been about people as it relates to green building. In the green building industry, we have been working hard to help people outside of our community better understand the very real and tangible benefits that green buildings have had not just on the environment, but on the health of people within the buildings themselves.
And this year, the industry has really doubled down on this effort and we are beginning to see that hard work mirrored in some of this past year’s trends — and we can expect to see this amplified and scaled into 2020.
One particularly promising sector is in commercial office buildings. Fueled by client demand — especially by leading organizations that understand that green building not only makes economic sense, but also benefits the health and well-being of its occupants — this sector is firmly committed to going green. Frankly, green buildings are the easiest way to achieve these objectives, and people are catching on.
And that momentum from the commercial office sector is spreading to other parts of the industry as well. Hospitality, manufacturing, retail, health care, and many others, are increasingly pursuing sustainable building measures.
It all comes back to people and health. When consumers understand the benefits that green buildings can have on their own wellness and day-to-day experience, they begin demanding it and then the market responds.
What is one of the most effective ways that leaders can know if a building is benefiting the health of occupants or saving money?
Some of the most substantive market transformations from the past year has been ushered in through the adoption of green building technologies by buildings to communities to cities. Real estate and facility leaders are increasingly adopting data-driven technologies that track and monitor building performance in real time.
Not only that, but leaders are able to justify their green investments through objective building performance data, and monitoring these metrics also leads to improved sustainability performance as they are able to track, monitor and make adjustments.
One of the key scores is for human experience, which can also be used by businesses and organizations to drive human capital management while also monitoring the impact on an occupants’ health and wellbeing.
Buildings are more than their structural forms: their design, construction, operations, and management impact the people both inside and outside them, from their immediate surrounding space to entire cities and communities.
In fact, it is clear that the future of going green lies in the adoption of sustainability measures for cities and communities as it relates to their inhabitants and visitors.
And as India readies to join the $5 trillion club, it becomes increasingly imperative that our cities, communities and buildings join the sustainability club too. It makes economic sense, but more importantly, it makes sense for human health and safety.
To bring this progress forward, green leaders will need to work closely with local and national government to ease the process for adoption and execution.
Fortunately, India is actively working on building this bench of future green industry leaders. Educational opportunities for architecture and engineering students are being embedded into existing learning environments so that students can understand the latest in green building practices and benefits and then take those lessons and philosophies out into the world.
Product manufacturers and technology providers are also ramping up capacities in India to cater to India and overseas opportunities for green materials and technologies in alignment with the “Make in India” initiative.
The thread tying all of this past year’s biggest trends in green building together is human experience. And if we continue to double down and bring sustainable building technology, education, and adaptation to India, we will see a truly transformative moment in this industry, in turn raising the standard of living for all in India.
Author is Managing Director - APAC & Middle East, Green Business Certificate Institute (GBCI)