Call for Action Event for Decarbonization

Bengaluru,13th September 2023 India’s building and construction industry currently works at the intersection of a diverse and fragmented value chain made of different actors with significant societal and environmental impacts. To keep their impacts in check, a Call for Action Event as part of the Decarbonisation Business Charter (DBC) a joint collaborative effort by WRI India, Alliance For an Energy-Efficient Economy (AEEE), EcoCollab and Mahindra Lifespace Developers was held on September 12 in Bengaluru.

As part of the charter, stakeholder consultations were organized to identify key actions for the value chain across the building and construction sector. It outlines actions for architects, designers, developers, contractors, property owners, facility managers, material manufacturers, and industry bodies that will be imperative for the sector to transition towards a low-carbon pathway.

By adopting a value chain approach, the Decarbonisation Business Charter is a movement bringing together stakeholders across the entire lifecycle of buildings for collective effort in fostering sustainability and achieving a more ecologically responsible building and construction industry.

The real estate sector in Bangalore, like many other urban centers, faces several sustainability challenges. These issues are driven by rapid urbanization, population growth, and economic development in the city. The major issues are listed below:

• Waste Management: Inadequate waste management practices in construction sites and residential areas contribute to environmental pollution. Effective recycling and waste disposal systems are lacking in many parts of the city. As per the estimates, construction and demolition waste in Bangalore ranges from 3,500 to 4,100 tonnes per day.

• Water Scarcity: Over-extraction of Groundwater: Bangalore heavily relies on groundwater for its water supply, and excessive extraction by real estate projects has led to declining water tables. Moreover, Improper drainage systems in many real estate projects exacerbate flooding during the monsoon season.

• With the fast paced growth of infrastructure in Bengaluru, the city is going to consume a huge amount of natural resources and will lead to higher embodied carbon from building sector.

The special address at the Call for Action event was delivered by Mr. Amarnath N., CEO, Karnataka Renewable Energy Development Limited (KREDL). While the keynote address was delivered by Mr. Jonas Brunschwig, Swissnex in India, Consulate General of Switzerland, Bangalore mentioned that this year Switzerland, India are celebrating 75 years of Indo Swiss friendship, this cooperation will continue on strong footing and we can build over the next 75 years.

Mr. Guruprakash Sastry, Head Climate Action, INFOSYS, said, India has committed to achieving net-zero emissions by 2070, requiring coordinated efforts across all sectors. Infosys, an enterprise with a forward-thinking approach, achieved net-zero status in 2020, demonstrating that energy efficiency is economically viable. The case study presented delves into Infosys’s vision, strategy, and financial commitments, highlighting its successful journey toward net-zero emissions. It aims to inspire others to pursue energy efficiency and sustainability, providing strategies and evidence-based research to instilling confidence in stakeholders’ efforts to reach net-zero emissions. From 2008 to 2020, Infosys was able to avoid 2.36 billion KWh through energy efficiency efforts while the company size increased 3 times between that period. Moreover, through sustainability efforts Infosys was able to reduce its Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions by 75% during the period of FY2008 and FY2020. This signifies that through energy efficiency and renewable energy implementation it is possible to decouple growth from GHG emissions.

Mr. G.C. Modgil, Senior Fellow ASHRAE, CEO – Sterling India, provided a glimpse of real-world applications and success stories from their ongoing and finished projects across various building types, all achieving NetZero status. He further stated, “These projects showcase the cutting-edge technological innovations employed by Sterling India and highlight the pivotal role of smart building systems in optimizing energy utilization and reducing carbon emissions. From commercial structures to residential complexes, Sterling India is revolutionizing the construction industry by demonstrating that NetZero is not just a concept but a practical reality. Dive into their portfolio and gain valuable insights into the sustainable future of our built environment, where innovation meets environmental responsibility.”.

Dr. Srinivas Shroff Nagesha Rao, Consultant, UNDP, said, Steel is a key ingredient in the construction of buildings. UNDP’s work in last one and half decade in decarbonizing steel production in the Mini Steel Plants in India were highlighted during the presentation. These interventions presented not only reduce carbon footprint in industry sector but also help decarbonizing buildings sector as steel is one of the key contributors to embodied energy in buildings. He further highlighted on, “Decarbonizing steel contributes to triple benefits – reducing energy bills to producer, reducing GHG emissions and reducing local pollution. Direct rolling is a game changer in avoiding reheating of steel in steel rerolling mill – one of the significant energy consuming processes altogether.”

Commenting on the Call for action event Dr. Manjunatha L.R., Vice President – Direct Sales & Sustainability Initiatives, JSW Cement Limited said, Construction industry is responsible for about 40 percent of the energy consumption 30% of the Green House Gas emissions and 10% of the dust emission and air pollution world over. As we continuously aim for economic growth with infrastructure and housing developments for our ever-growing demands, reducing carbon footprint in constructions is the need of the hour. There is a need that stakeholder like architects, engineers and builders should adopt low carbon materials like blended cements, green steels, low carbon concretes and plasters in their constructions. This event will really bring all the stakeholders together on a single platform to discuss, analyze and implement actional goals to decarbonize the building industry.