Nearly one-third of total office spaces in six major cities have been certified as green buildings, as real estate developers are focusing more on sustainability aspects in their projects, according to CBRE.

In its report 'Indian Real Estate's ESG (environmental, social and governance) Landscape and its Progress to a Sustainable Future', property consultant CBRE has analysed office stock for the top six cities (Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Chennai) to ascertain the status of green-certified stock in these cities.

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"Certified green office stock grew by 177 per cent to 212 million square feet in Q3, 2021 (July-September) from under 80 million square feet in 2011," the report said.

Over the past decade, the consultant said, green real estate assets have grown tremendously, and their share in the total office stock has increased from 24 per cent in 2011 to 31 per cent in 2021.

"Certified stock (of office space) has also increased substantially, growing at a CAGR of 10.7 per cent compared to 7.7 per cent for the overall stock since 2011," the report said.

In the past five years, CBRE said, there has been a 37 per cent increase in the supply of certified buildings, as compared to the previous five years (2012-2016).

"This indicates that the Indian real estate sector is becoming more aware of its responsibility towards ESG principles and moving rapidly towards imbibing sustainability in its assets," the report said.

Delhi-NCR and Bengaluru together account for about 54 per cent of the total certified office stock of India.

"ESG is integral to CBRE's business strategy from the way we operate as a business to serving our clients and in helping them meet their own targets," said Anshuman Magazine, Chairman & CEO - India, South-East Asia, Middle East & Africa, CBRE.

Office segment properties

All major real estate companies that are into office segment -- such as DLF, Prestige, Embassy group, Godrej Properties, Macrotech Developers (Lodha), RMZ, Salarpuria Sattva, Kalpataru, Hiranandani group, K Raheja Group, Hines India and Max Estates -- are focusing a lot on environmental aspects and have received green certifications from LEED or Indian Green Building Council (IGBC).

The three Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) launched so far in India -- Embassy Office Parks, Mindspace and Brookfield India Real Estate Trust -- are also giving a lot of emphasis on sustainability aspects.

Max Estates COO Rishi Raj said: "This COVID-led disruption has lent us a lifetime opportunity to transform where we work, and how we work".

"Offices have now moved beyond the conventional idea of a standard brick and mortar building to a new, modern, and sustainable ecosystem that cares for you and your holistic well-being." Raj noted that companies have now enhanced focus on ESG, which has translated to their operations and choice of partners and workspaces.

Max Estates lays great emphasis on sustainable design, energy-efficient operations, and employee wellness via our unique work-well philosophy, he added.

With ESG coming into major play, the CBRE report said that green certification has also become an important metric for tenant decision making.

To promote green buildings, the report suggested that the Centre and states should incentivise developers and asset owners in the form of higher FSI, lower statutory fees and lower incidental taxes.

Apart from offices, the concept of green buildings is now catching up in residential segments as well, and many developers are constructing such projects.

Kalpataru has recently announced plans to develop only green buildings and will provide EV (electric vehicle) ready parking in all its upcoming projects.