Pune Real Estate – Green Is the New Gold

Kishor Pate 2Kishor Pate, CMD – Amit Enterprises Housing Ltd.

If we look at Pune’s real estate landscape, it is quite evident that the city has taken a hit in terms of its previously legendary green cover. This is of course unavoidable in the urban areas, which must accommodate the constantly growing population in the city.

This is the price we must pay for growth, which is ultimately good for the economy. However, there’s no escaping the fact that there is a deep link between green environment and the quality of living that a city’s residents enjoy.

Residential neighborhoods that are bestowed with trees, foliage, lawns and natural open outdoor spaces also have healthier and happier people. This is by no means just a romantic concept.

The existence of green spaces actually contributes to air quality, as trees and other greenery absorb toxic pollutants like sulphur dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen, ammonia, nitric acid vapor and ozone – and give back life-giving oxygen. Greenery and green open spaces also play a major role in controlling urban temperatures.

Just a decade ago, Pune was known for its abundance of green cover, which generously embraced almost all of its residential areas. Today, a lot of this green cover has gone under the development hammer with the unconstrained proliferation of real estate and massive industrialization.

This, coupled with road development and the unbelievable increase in traffic movement within the city, has given rise to serious health issues now cropping up into once healthy neighborhoods.

As a result, today Pune’s citizens are far more prone to suffering from ailments like high blood pressure, bronchitis, asthma, depression and overall stress. A city that was once an epitome of modern natural living is now starved for oxygen and visual relief from the ever-expanding concrete jungle.

Though a green environment evidently benefits everyone, it is particularly important for the very young and elderly. Children obviously thrive most in green surroundings, and senior citizens living amidst sufficient greenery have fewer health problems and lead a considerably fitter lifestyle than those who live in an environment of unrelieved concrete inside the city.

The more the availability of greenery and green open spaces in a residential neighbourhood, the likelier it is for its residents to spend time outdoors and avoid a sedentary lifestyle.

Without a doubt, life in a city should not be merely about owning a beautiful home, but also about being happy and healthy. As the world continues its fight against global warming and urban areas grow, home buyers in cities like Pune are starting to prefer neighborhoods that have amenities like parks, gardens and enough natural green cover.

sahakar nagar pune
Sahakar Nagar, Pune

Locations like Undri and Ambegaon, where the benefit of protected green cover is still available, score high on their preference list – not only because of their greenery but also because they are also more price-friendly than the congested inner city areas.

These are also among the most preferred locations for property investors; as Pune continues to develop rapidly, its greener areas will eventually command premium prices.

After all, green cover is the pièce de résistance that gives luxury areas like Sahakar Nagar, Koregaon Park and Boat Club Road their unique appeal. And for home buyers, it’s not just about giving kids the opportunity to play outside but also living in a healthy environment – and a more active and vibrant community.

Green spaces in and around residential projects have been proven to bring people outdoors to engage in healthy interactions with neighbors. Common gardens and parks are spaces where people meet and spend time together.

Consequently, people who choose greener living spaces over concrete jungles enjoy better social bonding, are more concerned about the development of their community and neighborhood – and live longer and happier lives.

About The Author

Kishor Pate, Chairman & Managing Director of Amit Enterprises Housing Ltd. is the driving force behind one of the most successful real estate development firms in Pune and beyond. Apart from its signature luxury projects like Montecito in Sahakar Nagar and other premium gated townships, AEHL has also launched highly successful affordable housing projects like Astonia Classic and Colori in Undri and the Mediterranean-style township Astonia Royale in Ambegaon.

5 Reasons Why Rainwater Harvesting Is Essential For Pune

Kishor Pate 2Kishor Pate, CMD – Amit Enterprises Housing Ltd.

Pune’s landlocked topography has made water a ultimately precious resource. The water crisis is becoming a serious issue both at the national and global levels, and in cities like Pune, the situation has reached a flash point. The city is seeing a constant influx of migrant population seeking employment in the city’s several industries.

Simultaneously, shallow lands are fast getting covered with landfills, and this has been reducing the number of water bodies available to the city’s residents. Deforestation has been another prime reason for the compounded water scarcity. While forests are being rapidly leveled for new avenues of construction, rainfall patterns too are shifting and getting unpredictable.

In the coming years, the bulk of the global population will be shifting to urban locations. This calls for a rapid development in real estate, and will also bring with it a high demand for natural resources like water.

Limited land necessitates the development of multi-storied residential buildings, and water is required for both the construction and maintenance of these building apart from providing for the daily necessities.

We know that the earth’s surface is 70% water. However, only a small portion of it is drinkable and mostly comes from fresh water sources like lakes, rivers and our underground water table. Rapid urban growth and rise in population will usher in a severely parched future in a scenario where water is needed for everything, ranging from farming to drinking to construction.

The only real solution available for regions like Pune is rainwater harvesting. Rainwater harvesting is getting more popular as a means to fight resource scarcity and is being increasingly practiced in both rural and urban areas.

The process involves collecting, filtering and storing rainwater to meet many residential and industrial needs. The equipment too is simple and includes collection funnels, filter units and storage tanks.

Rainwater is the cleanest source of freely available potable water. Practiced in urban residential projects, rainwater harvesting will be able to meet almost 50% of the city’s water needs. Households as well as commercial buildings can save a lot on their water bills.

Harvesting rainwater is not just about maximum utilization of a freely available resource but also about minimizing the impact of urban development on our natural surroundings. In fact, failure to harvest rainwater results not only in the obvious loss of a precious resource but also in heavy soil erosion.

The several advantages associated with rainwater harvesting include:

  1. Reduced demand for ground water

The water supply in urban homes comes from reservoirs that are fed by lakes and rivers. Treatment plants and pumping station also pump out the ground water, gradually reducing the available amount. In several Indian cities, the ground water table has already exhausted itself and rainwater is the only available solution.

For a city like Pune that is seeing tremendous residential and industrial growth, water for non-drinking purposes can readily come from rainwater. Large volumes of it can be used for cleaning, washing, toilet flushing and gardening. Similarly, industries can use rainwater to meet their production needs.

2. Backup water supply

Rainwater harvesting can be insurance for times when the regular water supply has been compromised. With climate change taking a major toll on the availability of naturally available water, rainwater can be of use during times of drought. Pune and Mumbai, in particular, must resort to rainwater harvesting on a war footing to minimize their dependency on reservoirs.

rainwater harvesting

3. Environment friendly

When a neighborhood starts using rainwater, the community as a whole will be able to fight the problems associated with runoffs, soil erosion and pressure on the drainage systems. Collecting rainwater would also mean reducing the chances of contamination that flows into our rivers and lakes.

Low-lying areas like Pune and Mumbai can also fight the chances of flooding by harvesting large volumes of rainwater. Rainwater harvesting, therefore, meets the needs of the environment and ensures that the city is less affected by chemicals that run off from our farms into our rivers.

4. Ease of implementation

A rainwater harvesting setup is easy to install and maintenance is not a big challenge. The purest form of water, rainwater also does not need very complicated purifying devices to meet our primary needs. Based on basic technologies of collection, filtering and storage, rainwater harvesting setups are worth the minimal initial expense and effort required to set them up in every way.

While the tools for rainwater harvesting can be used by anyone, there are some important facts to remember:

  • Identification of catchment areas that include terraces, car parking, roads and other concrete surfaces
  • Installation of gutters with filtration system that blocks debris on the outside
  • Channels that ensure a smooth flow to the storage system
  • Safety precautions against any kind of contamination, including the breeding of mosquitoes

5. Increasing support from the government

The incumbent Indian government has been rightly focusing on the water scarcity problem, and as a result has been facilitating several plans for rainwater harvesting. New apartment projects are now by law required to have rainwater harvesting systems in place and in several regions.

With rainfall getting scarcer every year, the government is looking to initiate special installations in residential societies, commercial buildings, educational institutions and other buildings. The increasing road coverage in the country also opens up an excellent avenue of rainwater collection for better use.

India’s Center for Science and Environment (CSE) is also creating programs to raise awareness for maximizing the use of rainwater harvesting across the country. It has been supporting several NGOs, consultancies and companies to educate people on what has been a traditional means of collecting and using rainwater for future purposes.

Today, rainwater harvesting should come automatically as a building standard. While builders are already getting aware, customers too should start asking for the same. In several areas, old building which were not integrated with harvesting systems should be reconstructed or retrofitted to support rainwater harvesting. This is by all means a vital measure that cannot wait longer.

About The Author

Kishor Pate, Chairman & Managing Director of Amit Enterprises Housing Ltd. is the driving force behind one of the most successful real estate development firms in Pune and beyond. Apart from its signature luxury homes towers and premium gated townships, AEHL has also launched highly successful affordable housing projects like Astonia Classic and Colori in Undri and the Mediterranean-style township Astonia Royale in Ambegaon.

What Genuine Green Homes Are All About

Kishor Pate 2Kishor Pate, CMD – Amit Enterprises Housing Ltd.

Pune’s ‘green living’ housing projects have been the most effective response to the need for sustainable homes for our future. Green residential projects are not just limited to being a trend anymore – they are rapidly becoming the new standard for healthy and responsible living.

Facilitating a better and cleaner lifestyle, these green projects bring with them aspects like sustainable design, scientific construction and energy-efficient operations. Green homes also achieve optimum energy efficiency, and therefore savings.

A genuine green living residential project is characterized by site sensitivity, energy efficiency, water efficiency and environmental friendliness.

What Is Site Responsiveness?

In simple terms, site responsiveness in a green residential project means that the fertility of the soil in the construction area has been properly preserved, and in fact put to work in the landscaping/beautification process.

This responsiveness is also measured by the number of native trees that have been planted to ensure that the landscape is perfectly balanced with its surroundings.

Also, green homes projects will often integrate reflective finishes on all exposed surfaces in order to minimize the amount of heat entering the indoor premises. Aimed at reducing the harmful ‘heat island effect’, this reduces the cost of insulation required in individual homes to a great extent.

Site responsiveness will further include project designs that reduce the need for vehicle usage. When all basic amenities are within walking distance, personal vehicles will only be used for longer transportation.

Many green residences are also equipped with charging facilities in the parking area. This encourages the use of electric cars – an effective alternative to vehicle emissions.

Energy Efficiency In Green Homes Projects

In India, plumbing, electric systems and air conditioning in green homes will strictly abide by the National Energy Consumption Codes.

A genuine green project will never use chemicals such as HCFC and CFC in air conditioning and cooling. Insulating the walls, ceilings and all exposed surfaces with reflective finished keeps the homes cooler, thus saving energy usage.

Energy efficiency can also be achieved by using photovoltaic cells and solar energy, as non-polluting alternatives to backup generators.

rainwater harvesting
Rainwater Harvesting – Promoting Water Efficiency In Pune’s Hour Of Need

In a city like Pune, deficient monsoons play havoc with the city’s ability to cater to its citizens’ annual water requirements. Rainwater harvesting systems are an acknowledged answer to this problem – a solution which citizens can actively promote by choosing green homes equipped with adequate water harvesting.

Water harvesting systems fitted to the roof of buildings provide the water used in gardening, project maintenance and sanitation, and result in reduced water usage and water bills. Further, every residential unit in a genuine green homes project needs to be fitted with water-efficient flow fittings and flushes.

Environmentally Friendly Construction

The protocols involved in rendering a green homes project environmentally friendly begin at the construction stage itself. They include using up all of the construction material on site and not depending on landfills to dump construction waste.

Construction of genuinely green buildings will also involve using recycled materials wherever possible. Throughout the process, all forms of inorganic waste are collected and treated separately.

One of the most outstanding examples of eco-friendly construction is seen in Aluform – a versatile construction technology that involves recyclable and reusable materials, and results in durable and highly sustainable buildings.

The wood panels customarily used in construction can be used only about 25 times before they must be scrapped. However, the aluminum panels used in Aluform construction have a usage cycle of as much as 200 times.

The Aluform construction process is a major leap forward in sustainable construction, and is being increasingly used by reputed developers in cities like Pune.

Sustainable and green living is about coexisting in harmony with elements that created us. The investment that both developers and home buyers make into this cause is completely worth it, as it promotes healthier and more responsible living and also incrementally increases the planet’s ability to accommodate human habitation.

About The Author

Kishor Pate, Chairman & Managing Director of Amit Enterprises Housing Ltd. is the driving force behind one of the most successful real estate development firms in Pune and beyond. Apart from its signature luxury homes towers and premium gated townships, AEHL has also launched highly successful affordable housing projects like Astonia Classic and Colori in Undri and the Mediterranean-style township Astonia Royale in Ambegaon.

Kishor Pate’s Interview In Construction Mirror

CM-KP

Share the successful journey of Amit Enterprises with our readers.

One of Pune’s most respected and reputed real estate development firms, Amit Enterprises Housing Ltd. has redefined the city’s real estate landscape several times over. With more than 40 completed projects and several more on the anvil, AEHL has pioneered some of the most outstanding and award-winning residential concepts that have become industry benchmarks.

The roots of this firm took hold as early as 1963, when my father, a schoolteacher with vision beyond the conventional confines of a classroom first dreamed a dream that would be immortalized in steel and concrete by me and my family.

My father Shri Govindrao alias Appasaheb Pate (Wani) migrated to Pune from Chalisgaon, a town in Jalgaon District of Khandesh and, after an initial stint as school teacher, launched a real estate brokerage under the name of ‘Vijay Estate Agency’ in 1963. As his eldest son, I involved myself in this business from the age of 17 and quickly mastered the skills and intricacies of the real estate business.

After earning a Baccalaureate degree in Political Science, I turned my attention to breaking new frontiers for the family business. We incorporated Amit Enterprises Housing Limited as a construction firm in 1983 – and the rest, as they say, is history.

Tell us about the practices you follow to reduce the impact of construction on environment.

Our residential projects are firmly oriented towards preservation and conservation of the environment and on site. This involves numerous variables and solutions. We follow a comprehensive design approach that incorporates critical environmental, economic and social dynamics. Creating a housing project that conforms to current international standards requires that the development:

  • Involves the lowest possible site impacts right from the design stage
  • Incorporates specific facilities for waste management, climactic control, heat and energy preservation and water treatment
  • Takes into account health impacts on occupants as well as the surrounding locality
  • Functions seamlessly to conform with these parameters from the pre-construction to the post-construction phase

Tell us about the green projects done by you.

Amit’s Eka in Nasik, Astonia Royale in Ambegaon, Pune and Astonia Classic in Undri, Pune. More projects with green certification are in the pipeline.

According to you, what is the current status of green projects in Indian real estate industry?

India is waking up to the need of sustainable real estate, but as a country we are nowehere near where we need to be as yet. Currently, supply is largely being driven by the demand from Information Technology employees and NRIs who look for more than just top-of-the-line construction quality and amenities in the homes they buy. Because of their exposure to the trend of sustainable homes in the developed countries, they are looking for similar solutions here and expect to find projects with genuine ‘green’ features in India.

There is no doubt now that the future of Indian residential real estate lies in eco-friendly, energy-efficient developments, but more developers need to get active in this segment. Global market analysts are increasingly commenting on the unregulated and ecologically wasteful developments that are choking the marketplace.

All over the country, unscientifically designed buildings are compromising the environment. These buildings waste energy and produce locality-corroding contaminants. With the global real estate focus now firmly on sustainability, India needs to up the ante on ‘Green’ buildings, or environment-sustaining residential developments.

What are the technologies you adopt while doing green project?

At Amit Enterprises Housing Ltd, we are constantly finding and implementing new methods of cost-effective, eco-friendly, high-grade construction. The hallmarks of our genuine green living project are site sensitivity, water efficiency, energy efficiency and eco-friendliness:

Site Responsiveness:

This is a technical term that needs to be explained in plainer words. Site responsiveness means that the entire plot’s existing fertile soil has been preserved and re-used during construction process.

Another measure to ensure site responsiveness is to plant native trees around the project to ensure that the landscaping stays in perfect balance with its natural surroundings.

Often, developers of green residential projects also ensure that all exposed surfaces are designed with a reflective finish to minimize the ‘heat island’ effect. Also, to further reduce environmental impact by motor vehicle use, these projects are designed in such a manner that all basic amenities are within walking distance.

Electric cars are becoming increasingly popular, and they are certainly the most sustainable option for shorter distances. In response to this, the perfect green residential project will feature parking facilities that are equipped with electric charging points.

Water Efficiency:

Water efficiency in a green project means that all roof surfaces need to be provided with modern rainwater harvesting equipment, and lawn areas must be optimized to reduce water consumption.

The residential units themselves must also be provided with water efficient flush and flow fittings. 100% of the generated waste water must be treated for reuse in toilet flushes, landscaping and project maintenance.

Energy Efficiency:

Air conditioning, plumbing and electric systems must stringently follow the national energy consumption code. Also, a bonafide green project will feature air conditioning units that do not require harmful chemicals like CFC and HCFC. To eliminate wasteful and energy leakage, the walls, roofs and glazed surfaces must be adequately insulated.

Photo voltaic cells need to be incorporated to handle a part of connected building load, and the entire project must be further enabled with a non-polluting and highly efficient electric backup system.

Eco-friendly Construction:

All construction materials need to be fully used on site, thereby reducing the landfill load on the city. Recycled material must be used wherever possible, and local/ regional materials need to be given preference during the construction process. During the process itself, organic and inorganic waste must be collected and treated separately.

We are now seeing increasing use of the modern Aluform construction process, which has the advantages of being recyclable, highly versatile and eminently durable. Normal construction uses wooden panels which can be used to a maximum of 25 times before being turned into scrap, while aluminium panels can be reused up to 200 times.

The Alu-form construction technique is a major leap forward for sustainable real estate development, and the final word in green construction. Our continuing commitment to the principles and practice of sustainable development has logically led to our adoption of this construction technology in our projects, which is now being used in many of our projects in Pune and also one project in Nasik.

The Alu-Form system is a revolutionary innovation in construction technology that allows for the speedy, accurate and highly consistent casting of all internal and external walls, columns, beams, floor slabs, stairs and other parts of a concrete building. It is an integrated system which merges the wall and slab panels into a seamless unit. With a drastic reduction of form-jointed sections, the end products have superior resilience to wear, tear and degradation.

Using the building’s architectural blueprint as a guideline, highly resilient aluminium panels are pre-designed for all concrete elements of the building’s superstructure. Alu-Form technology allows internal electrical fittings and plumbing to be incorporated with a high degree of design efficiency, and as part of the overall building plan. This factor reduces the probability of electrical and plumbing failures. On the rare occasions when they do occur, such problems can be quickly isolated and fixed.

This contributes to the overall cost-effectiveness of owning a home constructed with Alu-Form technology. Moreover, the use of this construction technology vastly reduces the chance of on-site mishaps, making it one of the safest systems for building construction currently available.

How do you provide complete satisfaction to your clients?

Over the several years that Amit Enterprises Housing Ltd. has been active in real estate development, our clients have learned to trust and depend on AEHL as a reliable and respectable name in the industry. Our brand is synonymous with quality construction, timely delivery, top-of-the line amenities, the best locations and complete value for money. In the highly competitive real estate market, these attributes are the hallmarks for success. Nothing works better than client satisfaction.

Innovative Construction Techniques And Materials In Residential Projects

Kishor Pate 2Kishor Pate, CMD – Amit Enterprises Housing Ltd.

The paradigm for Indian real estate has changed drastically over the last decade. What was before a fairly straightforward – if lacklustre – equation has now transformed into a dynamic and self-sustaining landscape that brings its own unique opportunities and challenges with it. The questions being asked today by end-users, investors and even conscientious developers are very different from those of a decade ago.

Some of these questions are – what drives the Indian real estate market? Who are its primary influencers? Who are the real beneficiaries? It all boils down to a simple question – is the Indian real estate market growing rationally and holistically?

Inclusive growth in context with the Indian real estate market must necessarily mean that the benefits of growth in the sector must be spread over a wider palette. It is already happening, in the sense that the Indian Government’s heavy investments into infrastructure have created a much larger job market, which includes a wider variety of skilled and unskilled individuals.

Today, a whole swath of industries are directly or indirectly involved in the India real estate story, with business being generated insurance, finance, transportation, construction and information technology.

However, even today, there are many hurdles to the real estate sector’s growth. Archaic and counterproductive land laws prevent our cities from growing logically, and lack of awareness about the benefits of creative and environmentally friendly real estate development is still rampant.

In a country reeling under an acute shortage of affordable housing, it makes sense to adopt methods that allow the supply pipeline to be augmented while simultaneously reduce the amount of waste created in the construction process by reducing, recycling and reusing materials.

The clarion call for change has not gone unheard. Some of the leading developers in India are now engaged on a quest for innovative methods of delivering quality homes while reducing the environmental impact of the construction process. This involves finding and implementing new methods of cost-effective, eco-friendly, high-grade construction.

The Alu-Form Construction Process

This focus has logically led to an increasing adoption of technologies such as the Alu-Form construction process. This extremely progressive technology is a revolutionary innovation that allows for the speedy, accurate and highly consistent casting of all internal and external walls, columns, beams, floor slabs, stairs and other parts of a concrete building.

It is an integrated system which merges the wall and slab panels into a seamless unit. With a drastic reduction of form-jointed sections, the end products have superior resilience to wear, tear and degradation.

Using the building’s architectural blueprint as a guideline, highly resilient aluminium panels are pre-designed for all concrete elements of the building’s superstructure.

Alu-Form technology allows internal electrical fittings and plumbing to be incorporated with a high degree of design efficiency, and as part of the overall building plan. This factor reduces the probability of electrical and plumbing failures. On the rare occasions when they do occur, such problems can be quickly isolated and fixed.

This contributes to the overall cost-effectiveness of owning a home constructed with Alu-Form technology. Moreover, the use of this construction technology vastly reduces the chance of on-site mishaps, making it one of the safest systems for building construction currently available.

Alu-Form construction technology involves extremely efficient, light-weight and flexible materials and cuts down on the need for messy brickwork, concrete leakage and the use of conventional, polluting construction equipment. It is therefore one of the most environmentally friendly construction techniques on the market.

Construction SiteSignificantly, Alu-Form technology puts an end to the problems of construction irregularities and asymmetrical aesthetics which plague even the best of projects. The finished units are flawlessly balanced and streamlined, providing a finished and sophisticated look and feel.

The basic equipment used in Alu-Form construction technology can be reused over up to 300 times, which means that there is significantly reduced wastage. The implied savings during the construction process can then be passed on to buyers into the finished product, making Alu-Form construction technology one of the most viable means of delivering budget housing in our larger cities.

Since it involves less skilled labour and conventional construction materials, it is ideally suited for the speedy completion of affordably priced homes.

The adoption of this revolutionary construction technology is a vital step forward in making budget housing available within market-viable timelines. It will play an extremely important role in bringing India a step closer towards meeting its massive shortfall of affordable housing.

It must be noted here that the use of such innovative construction technologies requires a consummate upgrading of the skills of construction artisans at the grassroots level so that they can understand the entire concept.

Using alternate construction techniques without proper knowledge and instruction can result in compromised construction integrity, safety and project life-span.

Alternate Construction Materials

Other ways of meeting the demand for cost-effective, yet environmentally friendly homes is through the use of alternate construction materials such as recycled fly ash (a waste by-product of coal combustion).

This medium can be utilized to build budget housing of fairly high quality. Other alternate construction media are interlocking bricks, hollow concrete blocks, rubble filler blocks, stabilized mud-based blocks and funicular (or rope-like) shells.

By using alternate construction materials and methods, construction costs can be reduced by a minimum of 10-15% in terms of materials and up to 20% in terms of skilled manpower expenses and construction time.

Modular Housing

Modular housing is yet another method that can be adopted by progressive Indian developers. When supported by the correct design, factory-build modular housing conforms to most standards of structural integrity, safety and environmental impact.

This kind of construction involves the use of pre-manufactured components like roof and floor trusses that can be assembled quickly and with major savings on construction time and labour costs.

Challenges

There is still a fair degree of resistance, both from developers and buyers, to projects built with alternate construction materials.

While innovative construction techniques like Alu-Form construction in housing projects have become widely accepted and indeed popular, the Indian market’s acceptance of housing built with alternate construction materials is still quite low.

In India, unlike in the more developed countries, there is still an erroneous assumption that the use of cost-effective alternate construction materials results in inferior structures.

Knowing that a building has been built with anything but conventional materials and technologies cause potential buyers to have concerns about its safety, durability and resale value.

This lack of awareness can result in a loss for developers who use them, since it would impact the marketability of their product. Alternate construction materials have therefore not yet become a very popular route among developers in India.

The primary challenge lies in convincing buyers of the inherent value of such projects, and also to educate developers on the long-term business potential. There needs to be a greater level of awareness.

About The Author:

Kishor Pate, Chairman & Managing Director of Amit Enterprises Housing Limited, is the driving force behind one of the country’s most successful real estate development firms in Pune and beyond. Apart from its signature luxury homes towers and premium gated townships, AEHL has also launched highly successful affordable housing projects like Astonia Classic in Undri and Astonia Royale in Ambegaon.

What It Takes To Make a Green Project

Kishor PateKishor Pate, CMD – Amit Enterprises Housing Ltd.

The latest ‘green living’ projects in Pune are turning out to be the city’s most resounding response to the increasing demand for sustainable homes so far.

Green residential projects in Pune today are no longer just mere nods to the growing trend of sustainable real estate – they are the personification of this progressive trend towards a better, cleaner, greener way of life.

We now see more and more scientifically planned green projects that meet all the parameters of sustainable design, construction and operations. These projects are designed with the objective of achieving the most optimal levels of energy efficiency possible in residential projects.

The hallmarks of a genuine green living project are site sensitivity, water efficiency, energy efficiency and eco-friendliness:

Site Responsiveness:

This is a technical term that needs to be explained in plainer words. Site responsiveness means that the entire plot’s existing fertile soil has been preserved and re-used during construction process.

Another measure to ensure site responsiveness is to plant native trees around the project to ensure that the landscaping stays in perfect balance with its natural surroundings.

Often, developers of green residential projects also ensure that all exposed surfaces are designed with a reflective finish to minimize the ‘heat island’ effect. Also, to further reduce environmental impact by motor vehicle use, these projects are designed in such a manner that all basic amenities are within walking distance.

Electric cars are becoming increasingly popular, and they are certainly the most sustainable option for shorter distances. In response to this, the perfect green residential project will feature parking facilities that are equipped with electric charging points.

Water Efficiency:

Water efficiency in a green project means that all roof surfaces need to be provided with modern rainwater harvesting equipment, and lawn areas must be optimized to reduce water consumption.

The residential units themselves must also be provided with water efficient flush and flow fittings. 100% of the generated waste water must be treated for reuse in toilet flushes, landscaping and project maintenance.

energy efficiency

Energy Efficiency:

Air conditioning, plumbing and electric systems must stringently follow the national energy consumption code. Also, a bonafide green project will feature air conditioning units that do not require harmful chemicals like CFC and HCFC. To eliminate wasteful and energy leakage, the walls, roofs and glazed surfaces must be adequately insulated.

Photo voltaic cells need to be incorporated to handle a part of connected building load, and the entire project must be further enabled with a non-polluting and highly efficient electric backup system.

Eco-friendly Construction:

All construction materials need to be fully used on site, thereby reducing the landfill load on the city. Recycled material must be used wherever possible, and local/ regional materials need to be given preference during the construction process. During the process itself, organic and inorganic waste must be collected and treated separately.

We are now seeing increasing use of the modern Aluform construction process, which has the advantages of being recyclable, highly versatile and eminently durable.

Normal construction uses wooden panels which can be used to a maximum of 25 times before being turned into scrap, while aluminium panels can be reused up to 200 times.

The Alu-form construction technique is a major leap forward for sustainable real estate development, and the final word in green construction.

While all this sounds tedious and strange to many, the fact is that we are entering into a new age of sustainable living spaces. No cost and effort must be spared in presenting buyers with healthy, cost-efficient homes that are truly in harmony with the environment.

In the end, green homes are symbolic of mankind’s eternal quest to get back to Nature – to stop fighting against the forces that created and sustain us.

Image courtesy of ddpavumba / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Why Live In A Green Home?

Kishor PateKishor Pate, CMD – Amit Enterprises Housing Ltd.

With the constant chatter about sustainable real estate in general and green homes in particular, you may wonder what the deal really is.

Why live in a green home? Are conventional apartments not good enough? Is the concept of green homes even relevant to the Indian real estate market?

There are very good reasons why more and more Pune flat buyers are opting for green homes. They are not just following the West (where green buildings are fast becoming the norm) but using plain common sense.

To begin with, green homes are designed and constructed in a manner which reduces their impact on the environment. In India, real estate development is still one of the main contributors to environmental damage.

The wastes produced during construction seriously degrade the quality of the environment. In fact, buildings in general are responsible for close to 40% of the world’s Green House Gas (GHG) emissions. This directly impacts global warming, which is a major concern now. And yes, it affects all of us.

The Evils Of Environmental Damage

Have you noticed that every new summer in Pune seems to be hotter than the previous one? Have you noticed that our winters are now warmer than ever before? That is the greenhouse effect at work.

The greenhouse effect is a destructive process in which atmospheric greenhouse gases absorb thermal radiation from the Earth’s surface. This radiation is then re-radiated everywhere on the planet’s surface and into the lower atmosphere, thereby raising the average surface temperature abnormally.

The greenhouses gases being referred to here are water vapour, carbon dioxide, methane and ozone. Methane and carbon dioxide produced in massive amounts during the normal real estate construction process.

The resulting buildings continue to generate these gases just by being used, because they have not been designed, built and are not being operated to have a lower environmental impact.

green home buyer

Green Homes – And You

If all this sounds too disconnected with your personal concerns, you should know that there is a lot more to green buildings than just lower environmental damage. People who live in green homes actually enjoy better health, a higher quality of life and a lower cost of daily living!

Yes, that’s right. Green buildings are around 25–30% more efficient in their energy consumption, because they get at least 2% of the energy they consume from renewable or green sources such as solar power generators. This reduces the demand for normal electricity and also the pollution levels around the green homes project.

Also, green buildings use around 20–30% less water than conventional buildings, reducing the water bills. In fact, most of the water used in green buildings is treated and can then be used for landscaping and air conditioning. But that’s not all.

The materials used in the construction of green home projects last a lot longer than the conventional ones. In other words, they help save on the cost of replacement, repair and maintenance. This is one of the main reasons why resale homes in green buildings fetch a much better price than normal ones.

Finally, green homes have superior ventilation systems which bring in fresh outdoor air instead of recycling used-up indoor air. In other words, you breathe cleaner air in a green home.

These are among the many reasons why Pune property buyers are increasingly choosing to buy homes in green buildings.

Pune’s New ‘Green Living’ Communities

Kishor PateKishor Pate, CMD – Amit Enterprises Housing Ltd.

Over the last decade, lifestyle has evolved as an important and often decisive factor in the Indian real estate industry. With the increasing presence of the IT / ITeS sector in many cities of the country, a large segment of Indian home buyers have entered a higher level of affordability and therefore tastes in homes.

This has led to a greater emphasis on larger sizes, evolved ambience and interior décor in the choice of properties. India is now seeing a strong trend in ‘smart’ and ‘green’ homes, which have high levels of lifestyle quotient attached to them.

For an increasing number of Indians, the focus of home buying has now shifted from functionality and inflexible budgets to lifestyle homes. Comfort, convenience and environmental awareness and responsibility play an important part in home buying today. Likewise, privacy and self-sufficiency are also part of the new mantra.

Home buyers in India who have been exposed to residential real estate trends in countries such as the US, UK, Singapore, Australia and Canada now wish to emulate the developed world’s focus on sustainable living.

Among other things, this has resulted in an increasing demand for green homes. Many developers now focus on bringing the world’s contemporary residential concepts to India – and projects with green living features are in increasing demand.

green home buyerGreen homes are more than just a prestige tag. Residential projects that have been designed and constructed on such lines ensure the lowest possible environmental impact of the building and its premises during the entire project’s life-cycle. The result is reduced energy consumption, pollution and waste generation.

Interestingly, the fast-emerging concept of green homes is having a visible socio-economic impact on the neighbourhoods which are thus created. Inhabitants of environmentally sustainable residential projects are aware that the onus of maintaining the overall sustainability quotient of the project is not solely on the developers and the infrastructure and facilitation provided. They are aware that true green living requires a new mind-set and a new lifestyle, as well.

The whole concept of green homes is admittedly still in its infancy in India. However, if we take the city of Pune as a case in point, it actually emerges that there is now an annual increase of 10-15% increase in home buyers who will not settle for anything less.

These homebuyers are committed to the health of their families, exercising their option of wasting less energy and towards preserving the city’s environment for the future generations.

As a result, more and more green home projects in Pune are now actually populated by inhabitants who passionately believe in and adhere to sustainable living concepts.

In a market where many of Pune’s neighbourhoods were previously tailored according to professions, income brackets and social status, today we are talking about an entirely new and highly progressive selection process wherein entire residential communities take up the cause of environmental sustainability.

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Why You Should Choose a ‘Green’ Home In Pune

Kishor PateKishor Pate, CMD – Amit Enterprises Housing Ltd.

Nothing that we see or know of on this planet has remained the same over the last decade. We have used science and technology to improve the quality of our lives, but the very progress that we are so proud is also proving to be a major danger to the planet.

In the papers and on the news, we hear and read about the detriments of climate change – and yet, the whole concept of environmental sustainability remains an abstract concept to most individuals and even industries in this country.

Unfortunately, real estate has been a major contributor towards the gradual environmental degradation of our cities. In and our urban areas, activities like deforestation and draining of water bodies in order to make way for more buildings are rampant.

We are already noticing the change in weather patterns – hotter summers, shorter winters, failed or insufficient monsoons. There is much to be said for traditional values – a hallmark of the Puneri way of life – but it seems that most of the city is still living in the past, where global warming was a distant concept and not a real and present danger.

In cities like Pune, taking the preservation of the city’s ecology and finite energy resources seriously is now more than important – the city is, in environmental terms, already on yellow alert.

green homeDevelopers need to find better, more sustainable methods of designing their buildings in order to reduce their negative environmental impact.

It needs to be understood that the conventional methods of constructing buildings – as well as inhabiting such buildings post construction – are a major drain on available energy while being the single-largest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions.

There was a time when we took great pride in our city’s unique ecosystems and the rich biodiversity to be found in its open spaces, forested areas and water bodies.

Today, we have come very close to decimating this natural wealth by sacrificing it on the altar of mercenary development.

The price that the city is paying goes beyond mere climate change. Though developing buildings with obsolete construction methods is definitely a major culprit in this respect, there is also a greater price to pay for unplanned development.

Reckless and opportunistic creation of buildings basically amounts to inefficient use of land, which leads to increased energy consumption levels, commuting times as well as air and water pollution. The bottom line is loss in economic performance, vastly reduced quality of life and ever- escalating health concerns.

However, the onus of responsibility does not rest on developers alone. Property buyers must also be attuned to the very real necessity of choosing the ‘green option’.

While the response to the need for environmentally sustainable buildings in this city does fall short of the required mark, many developers in Pune have taken up the cause of creating green buildings. The market needs to respond to this, as well.

As long as the demand for homes in cheaply constructed projects that compromise the environment throughout their lifecycles outweighs that for environmentally sustainable ones, the city’s return to its ‘green’ heritage will remain a distant dream.

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Green Home Certification: The Requirements And Benefits

Kishor PateKishor Pate, CMD – Amit Enterprises Housing Ltd. & Hon. Secretary – CREDAI (Maharashtra)

The concept of green homes – meaning environmentally sustainable residential spaces – is still an emerging trend in India, but awareness about this exciting new way of life is rapidly gaining ground.

Buildings account for almost 40% of the country’s overall energy consumption, and more than 60% of all buildings being developed in India are residential projects.

It certainly requires a leap of intelligence to understand where we are headed at this rate, but the Indian market response for green residential buildings is increasing with every passing year.

Not surprisingly, Pune – the Oxford of the East – has become one of the leaders of this new movement. Thanks to the city’s high intellectual acceptance quotient, it is fast emerging as Maharashtra’s primary ‘green living’ city.

This is a proud fact for Pune, since accepting green homes as a way of life is not something that is geared to come naturally to Indian home buyers One reason for this is lack of a clearer understanding of green homes; another is the fact that such homes are perceived to be a lot more expensive.

The fact is that green homes – both in terms of their construction and their use – are one of the clearest and most available means to reducing environmentally harmful waste, tackling water and energy insufficiency, reducing the consumption of fossil fuels by lowered commuting and improving health.

As a matter of fact, building sustainable residential projects is the only real way forward for ushering Indian real estate into a new Era of Sustainability.

More and more Indian developers are now looking for official green certification of their projects via the IGBC (Indian Green Building Council) Green Homes Rating System.

What Is IGBC Certification And How Is It Obtained?

This unique rating programme for Indian residential sector has been developed in accordance with well-defined principles of environmental preservation and increased energy efficiency.

Contrary to common belief, IGBC certification is not a Draconian system which is next to impossible to obtain. However, it does demand a highly disciplined development approach that is aimed towards delivering environmentally sustainable projects.

Green Home

To get IGBC certification, a developer of a multi-storey residential project needs to meet certain mandatory requirements and obtain a certain amount of ‘green’ credits. Projects can qualify for precertification once the developers in question have incorporated IGBC requirements in the project’s design and submitted the relevant documents to IGBC.

The final IGBC certification is awarded once the project is complete. The process is fairly simple and straightforward, but it is also very thorough.

When a developer registers his project under the IGBC Green Homes Rating System, he is making a commitment to ensure that the project will conform to all IGBC requirements.

At every step of project completion, he is required to submit all supporting documents. In fact, IGBC stipulates that documentation must be submitted both at the design stage and at every phase of construction.

Basically, the documentation that needs to be made available to IGBC for pre-certification of a residential project must include information on how and to what degree the developer intends to adhere to the prescribed certification norms.

According to the degree of compliance, IGBC awards a rating. This rating may differ from the rating given at the stage of completion, since the developer needs to offer clear proof that the rating norm he initially committed to have indeed been followed.

Once a developer applies for pre-certification with IGBC, the agency will review the project’s conformance to the certification requirements every six months.

Green Home Certification for Sereno, Baner

Is it worth it? We certainly think so, and we are not alone. It is true that there is a premium of around 5% attached to certified green homes which buyers are required to pay.

However, this premium is not proving to be a big deterrent to Pune’s new and highly informed home buyers. The extra cost is recovered by the end user in as little as three years.

In fact, there are immediate, sustained and very tangible benefits in terms of the savings generated by reduced water and energy consumption, lower medical costs due to significantly healthier living environment and an overall improved life experience for the whole family.

One also needs to factor in the added appreciation value – ten years from now, green homes will have the highest resale value on the residential property market.

Those who invest in green homes today are going to see the value of their investments multiplied by a factor which normal projects will not be able to match.

About Amit Enterprises:

Amit Enterprises Housing Ltd. is a ISO 9001:2008 certified residential development company based in Pune. Two of AEHL’s latest projects in Pune are well on the way for final Platinum certification by the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC).