When the average person reaches the end of this sentence, the world’s population will permanently increase by 20. It is estimated that by 2030, the world’s population will be close to 8 billion. At this rate, we are in a more urgent situation. And now resources are desperately needed, more than ever. With this growing population living, the global building sector is expected to grow at an unprecedented rate. Over the next 40 years, 230 billion square meters of new construction will take place worldwide. As a result, energy demand in buildings is expected to increase by 50% by 2050. Improving energy efficiency has not kept pace with this growing demand.
The building and construction sectors together account for 36% of global energy consumption and about 40% of total direct and indirect CO2 emissions. Global use of energy in buildings has increased by 1% annually since 2015, such as building-related CO2 emissions.
Strict measurement of excessive demand is mandatory
Buildings in India contribute 40% energy consumption, 30% raw material consumption, 20% water use, 20% land use and emit 30% solid waste and 20% water. The real estate sector accounts for 24% of India’s annual CO2 emissions, which contributes to global warming and poor air quality. Is India ready to deal with the environmental damage in this sector? Urban India needs to build another 2.4 million homes by 2020, creating a huge opportunity for change. 2/3 of the infrastructure built in India lies in the future. This includes the opportunity to build our built-in infrastructure in such a way that we mitigate the effects and transform the places where we live, work and play.
The first step in sustainable living
Traditionally buildings are built / designed so that as much energy as is required from the grid. Creating a low carbon world requires a change in this thinking process. Using integrated design approaches through the incorporation of active and passive strategies, the real estate industry as a whole must move towards net zero energy building. Simply put, Net Zero Energy produces as much energy as buildings and communities use in a year. For the energy requirements of Net Zero Energy building, either energy is taken from the grid which generates energy from renewable sources or energy is generated onsite with the help of solar panels and wind turbines. Through the internal design, and through the power generating equipment installed on the site, the amount of net energy used at the end of one year becomes zero.
The apparent challenge is to reduce the use of energy
Despite the higher advance costs associated with Net Zero Building understanding, implementation and maintenance, growing awareness among stakeholders is accelerating the rate of adoption of such measures. Integrating this philosophy into the whole chain, from the concept and design of the project, can significantly offset the advance cost, compared to the recovery features only in existing projects. In terms of requirements and indeed sustainable construction opportunities, Net Zero buildings can be an essential part of India’s future real estate market.
Properly designing a building means integrating strategies for resilience, climate mitigation and adaptation. Net zero buildings can be realized by focusing on:
1) Passive Strategy: Reducing energy demand through architectural design, and
2) Active Strategy: Creating supplies through onsite or offsite renewable and storage technology. According to the UN Environment Global Status Report 2017: “In many countries the potential for energy and emissions savings in buildings remains largely unaccounted for due to a lack of sustainable building and construction policies and poor investment as well as continued use of less efficient technology. Consumer preferences and behavior also play an important role. “
Sustainable urbanization is at the root of everything
We are seeing an increase in Net Zero building. The global Net-Zero Energy Building (NZEBs) market is projected to reach US 78 78.79 billion by 2025. Six of the 60 major opportunities related to the provision of UN SDGs fall into this category: affordable housing, energy efficient buildings, building resilient cities, sustainable and modular buildings, smart metering, water and sanitation infrastructure. Global goals open up an economic reward of at least 12 12 trillion, and more than 50% of this opportunity lies in the developing world.
Global Zero is achievable through appropriate building codes, regulations, policies, technologies and observations. India is one of the largest emitters of greenhouse gases in the world and we are home to the second highest number of urban dwellers living in low coastal areas sensitive to rising sea levels. Climate change poses a huge risk to India. About 70% to 80% of the building stock projected in India by 2030 has not yet been built. This makes it a great opportunity to incorporate this design philosophy into the core of construction activities. It takes time to fix things. And with the rapid development of construction technology, the desire for luxury buildings and the need for rapid development, energy demand during construction has increased and the benchmark continues to rise. However, consumers’ choice of renewable energy alternatives, such as increasing or increasing the demand for solar energy, can significantly contribute to achieving net zero emissions. The development of technology to make renewable resources affordable is also gaining momentum in India
Our future strategies must include a larger measure that will improve efficiency and reduce energy use. Efforts must be made to reduce onsite and offsite power consumption and for carbon sequestration. Consumer awareness and progressive policies must be the way forward for the construction sector.
(Sunita Purushottam, Head-Sustainability, by Mahindra Lifespace)