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Sustainable workspaces in India and their environmental impact

July 21, 2022

We envision a smart city with electric cars, planned streets and sustainable buildings.
Structures like workspaces, hotels, resorts, retail, storage facilities or hospitals are foundational elements of a smart city. These properties are generally a part of commercial real estate, to achieve our vision of the smart city, we have to take into account the impact commercial real estate has on the environment.

Since the construction of these structures requires the extraction of underground water and fossil fuels, the impact of these structures range from greenhouse emissions and water abstraction to air pollution. Hence the carbon footprint left by the commercial real estate industry cannot be ignored.

With global mandates such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals 13, more emphasis has been placed on tackling this issue. Companies are increasingly making Environmental, Social and Governance metrics mandatory for financial, annual or sustainability reports. As a contribution to this cause, enterprises in India are also committing to ESG goals in 2022, by remodelling their businesses to meet India’s net-zero emission deadline by 2070. As far as the infrastructure sector is concerned, cutting-edge innovation, design, and technology have been the driving factors that contribute to the goal.

In order to ensure compliance with widely-accepted standards, green certifications have been formulated, such as those issued by the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC). Many businesses today follow these norms because of the benefits they yield in terms of improving their balance sheets and the work environment.

Let’s dive into details about the steps taken by corporations to achieve a green wave turnabout.

Establishing a carbon-neutral business
A carbon-neutral business uses sustainable production, operations, and sourcing practices for its structures. Moreover, in-depth planning and deep policy intervention act as the core of establishing a carbon-neutral business.

Here are the steps we can take to achieve net-zero emissions:

Commit – Committing to carbon-neutral assets by 2030.
Disclose – Including carbon emissions and energy consumption data within annual, sustainable and/or financial reports.
Act – Developing a roadmap for decarbonising workspaces by 2025, implementing energy audits in relevant spaces and optimising energy production in control areas while procuring renewable energy.
Verify - Getting independent third parties to verify data on energy consumption and emissions.
Advocate - Promoting industry transformation, and contributing to overall net-zero building updates by advising clients and demonstrating leadership through core business activities.

It is important to take into account the detailed inventory of all the emission sources that give us an understanding of the total carbon footprint. This helps us understand the areas where we can curb our footprint. To pinpoint the significant contributors to overall carbon emissions, it is crucial to take the current state of affairs into account. It is also essential to have this data when developing a strategy to reduce carbon emissions.

  • Environmental benefits of investing in a green building
    One of the most significant advantages of green buildings is that they reduce carbon emissions in the atmosphere. There is an emphasis on reducing waste, which means sending fewer materials to landfills. Additionally, the Conservation of scarce resources like water and electricity can be achieved by focusing on conservation and recycling.

    Through the use of water-efficient plumbing fixtures, green architecture not only reduces water waste but also reduces the stress on shared water resources. Green buildings have the capability to be water efficient which helps bring down the dependency on external water sources, like Municipal water provisions.

    Green building materials and products help preserve dwindling natural non-renewable resources by reducing the effects of extraction, manufacture, and transport of these materials on the environment.

  • Social and economic benefits of investing in green infrastructure
    Integrating green standards into building designs is also closely related to well-being measures, which makes these buildings beneficial to employees. The thermal, light and air conditions in green-certified buildings contribute directly to employee productivity and satisfaction. While adhering to green standards may seem expensive in the beginning, in the long run, it is proven to be more economic. Recycling, reducing and conserving energy sources can result in operational cost savings. There are also several government initiatives which credit the company for sustainable efforts. Considering the increase in productivity of employees, the ROI levels up considerably.

    India's commercial real estate industry is on its way to effectively reducing its carbon footprint. Digitalisation is anticipated to enhance India's energy production industry's efficiency. We have already achieved reducing the emissions intensity of our GDP by 28% by 2005 and our goal is 33-35% by 2030. Commercial real estate plays a vital role in achieving environmental goals, as structures contribute to our carbon footprint. Combining technology with these traditional services will reduce carbon footprints, create smart cities, and help the country meet its carbon neutrality targets by 2030. Sustainable efforts also give commercial real estate investors a competitive advantage as tenants and consumers prioritise environmental responsibility.

    With the rising heat, increasing floods, and other physical risks manifested by natural causes, improving upon our green efficiencies will make a massive impact on the environment.


  1. https://sdgs.un.org/goals/goal13
  2. https://www.savills.in/blog/article/207239/india-aritcles/sustainable-workplaces-why-and-how-businesses-can-make-a-difference.aspx
  3. https://www.ciiblog.in/contributing-to-the-national-agenda-with-green-buildings/

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