Few apartments in Bengaluru adopt comprehensive environmental initiatives, study finds

While more city apartments are reusing water for flushing and gardening, only a few are adopting comprehensive environmental initiatives, a study has found.

Part of the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) initiative to recognize buildings achieving maximum green compliance, the study is not exhaustive as it aimed to motivate apartment owners and builders to adopt green initiatives.

Researchers from the Environmental Management and Policy Research Institute (EMPRI) studied green initiatives in 54 apartments, including the use of green components, 89% of which reported circulating water at flushing purposes.

“Water is becoming expensive with increasing demand. The apartments are therefore becoming aware of the importance of reuse. However, we would like the numbers to reach 100%,” a KSPCB official said.

But only 56% of them reuse collected rainwater, while 87% of them claim to have installed a rainwater harvesting system (RWH). Only 6% of apartments use rainwater for consumption. “The capacity of CEP can be increased. This can happen when more people realize its potential to be drinking water. The low consumption model shows the limited awareness,” said one researcher.

The apartments scored poorly in the evaluation of resource efficiency, optimization of energy consumption, effective indoor air quality, cooling, energy, water saving and landscaping. Only 13% used non-toxic materials, while 17% used a decentralized cooling system. Several apartments were not compliant.

About 13% of respondents highlighted barriers that prevented them from choosing green buildings over conventional buildings.

One researcher highlighted the challenges associated with appraising apartments. “Many apartments misinterpreted the investigation as law enforcement and were reluctant to participate. We need to educate them and encourage them to adopt green initiatives,” he said.

A KSPCB official said the survey was aimed at motivating apartments and builders. The reason it was not comprehensive was that it was not intended for law enforcement.

“The KSPCB has taken the decision to award the best apartment award to those who meet the ambitious green characteristics as motivation for the apartments,” the official said.

In the absence of green components, building materials generate 40% additional annual global carbon dioxide emissions, of which 28% comes from operations while 11% comes from building materials.

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