The intangible benefits of new green buildings include enhanced air quality, excellent daylighting, health of the occupants, and conservation of scarce resources.
The effect of climate change in India has been pronounced. Five of the warmest years occurred in the past 15 years. Heatwaves now last longer than before and are more intense. Himalayan glaciers are retreating. The frequency of cyclones is growing across the country’s 8,000 km coastline. The sea level has been rising at about an average of 1.7 mm.
India is already the third-largest global emitter of carbon dioxide (CO2), even though the per capita emissions are well below the global averages. Emissions could rise exponentially with the economic growth if not kept in check. As the country develops, there will be a higher demand for energy, natural resources, vehicles, air conditioning and buildings.
Buildings are one of the biggest consumers of energy and sources of CO2 emissions. According to a Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction (GlobalABC) report, the residential, non-residential and building construction industry accounted for 36% of the global energy consumption in 2020. The three segments were also responsible for 37% of global carbon dioxide emissions.
But there’s growing evidence that controlling building emissions can help address climate change, create sustainable and thriving communities, and drive economic growth. The building sector has the most potential for delivering significant and cost-effective greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions, according to UN Environment Programme (UNEP).
The body believes that countries will not meet emission reduction targets without supporting energy efficiency gains in the building sector.
If countries don’t mitigate climate change risks, many parts could become inhabitable due to extreme weather and rising sea levels, displacing the inhabitants in these areas. The only option for such residents would be to head to the cities, putting pressure on the existing infrastructure.
Rising temperatures and more frequent and intense droughts are already causing crop yield declines and failures, disrupting livelihoods and food security. The retreating Himalayan glaciers, which feed river systems, can impact water availability severely.