The biggest stakeholder in this set up is the consumer, and ironically the biggest challenge affecting the growth of the green building sector is lack of awareness and demand among end users. We, as consumers, have to demand green. “Unless we become demanding, the growth of the green footprint will remain slow. Take for instance the star labelling program instituted for electrical appliances by Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE). It’s only after massive awareness campaigns were undertaken that consumers started demanding electrical appliances that had at least three-star rating. The manufacturers got the message and gradually they phased out products with one or two stars. This trigger from the consumers pushed the market for energy-efficiency, and we believe that the same will soon happen for green buildings as well,” says Sanjay Seth, CEO, GRIHA Council.
Amongst the many challenges being faced is that green buildings continue to be projected and perceived as expensive by the developers. This deters the consumers from investing in them. Further, the concepts of lifecycle costs and paybacks are still not understood properly by the consumers, he adds.
“We at GRIHA Council have taken upon ourselves to engage with resident welfare associations (RWAs) and spread the message of greenness, water conservation, waste management, energy efficiency, resource efficiency, etc. This initiative, we feel, helps us answer the question: what’s in it for me; and explain to residents that they are the real beneficiaries. For instance, energy efficiency helps reduce energy bills, and these are tangible benefits that consumers can avail,” explains Seth.