LEED continues to transform traditional approaches and create value for India’s real estate businesses

Tanvi Kapoor
October 14, 2021

The LEED green building rating system, administered by GBCI, continues to grow in strength in India. India has continuously maintained its position as the fourth largest market in the world for LEED – a reflection of the strides that the country is making in healthy, sustainable, and resilient building design, construction and operations. India leads the South Asia region with more than 1,600 LEED certified buildings and spaces, covering almost 47 million gross square meters, and more than 1,360 LEED professionals.

The last year and a half have been extremely challenging for our country. However, despite the pandemic induced disruptions, businesses and organizations across India continued to invest in sustainable, and healthy buildings by adopting LEED. Some of the projects that subscribed to LEED during the pandemic include Medica TS in Odisha, which served as a COVID specialty hospital; CESC House in Kolkata, the first heritage building in India to earn a LEED Gold rating; Welcomhotel Amritsar, the 100-year-old heritage property of ITC in Punjab; Vaibhav Global’s manufacturing unit at the Special Economic Zone in Jaipur; Aquarelle Samudra, a garment manufacturing company; and the diamond manufacturing facility of SRK Exports.

For a long time, LEED had served as a framework for creating healthy, resilient, sustainable buildings, connecting the dots between design, construction, and operations. Today, as governments and industries around the world seek ways to achieve sustainable development while reducing environmental impact, LEED gains even greater relevance owing to its ability to bring about a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, optimize the use of energy and water, divert waste, promote the use of healthy materials in buildings and enhance occupant health and wellness and productivity.

Leaders of some of the most reputed companies in the real estate domain testify to the benefits that LEED certification have yielded for their respective businesses:

Jayakumar K, Senior Managing Director – Executive Board of RMZ Corp, the company which has developed the largest portfolio of assets certified under LEED in India, says, “At RMZ, we aim to build spaces that generate long-term sustainable value for us, for our partners, and for our communities. In our quest to offer services that match global standards, LEED has proved an effective tool to help benchmark the performance of our buildings. Sustainability is at the heart of our business strategy and all our programs and initiatives are implemented across the value chain so we can achieve the greatest positive impact for our members and for our future generation. With LEED certifications in place, we remain at the forefront of sustainable building design, construction and operation. We bring in unique experiences that enhance the health and well-being of members through active, smart and biophilic design. LEED has been a benchmarking guide to RMZ to reach our ESG goals and our journey towards net-zero buildings, that we strive for each day.”

K Raheja Corp is a success story spanning six decades and stands today as one of India’s leading developers with business diversified across realty, hospitality and retail. The company had decided, more than a decade ago, to construct its portfolio as LEED-certified green buildings. Shabbir Kanchwala, Senior Vice President, K Raheja Corp, says, “As a responsible corporate group, K Raheja Corp embarked upon a sustainable development journey in 2007 with an aim to create long-term value for the business and all its stakeholders by taking actions in the economic, environmental, and social spheres. LEED is an internationally accepted benchmark of excellence for the design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings which facilitates us to also accomplish our ESG and sustainable development goals.”

Harleen Oberoi, Head Project Management, Tata Realty and Infrastructure Limited, believes that LEED certifications have given the company a competitive edge in the market. “The LEED program directs and transforms the way we think about how our buildings and communities are designed, constructed, maintained and operated globally. Through the years we have ensured to obtain LEED certifications for all our buildings, and that has helped us gain a competitive edge in the market, whereby we are able to command higher rentals and also attract and retain marquee tenants who value the importance of a sustainable space. Through the adoption of the LEED global framework, we have been able to design, construct, operate and ensure that our buildings perform to their optimal levels, and we intend to take this further by designing and executing LEED communities in future developments,” she says.

Since its inception in 2016, GBCI India has provided on-the-ground support to various project teams and professionals advancing LEED in the region. The professional experts who make up GBCI India’s core team have a diverse background, but all share a passion and underlying commitment to be part of the sustainable transformation of the market in India.

Embassy Office Parks Management Services Private Limited is a USGBC Platinum Member – a fact that the company believes expresses its commitment towards its business ecosystem and sustainability. Rajan M G, Head – Operations (India), says, “The membership program educates our key employees on USGBC standards, which is highly useful for our team members. It ensures that they implement sustainable site development, energy efficiency, water conservation, material selection, and waste reduction at every step. As most of our occupiers are Fortune 500 and Indian conglomerates, we are able to support their sustainability goals through our initiatives.”

Available for virtually all building types, LEED provides a framework for healthy, highly efficient, and cost-saving green buildings. As a globally recognized symbol of excellence, LEED continues to raise the bar in terms of sustainability for buildings, cities and communities. The team at GBCI India remains committed to working with our stakeholders and members across the region to advance LEED in India. Find out more about becoming a USGBC member here.

We're celebrating LEED Week from October 11-15! To check out more projects in India and around the world that are advancing decarbonization and impacting our health and wellness, view our LEED Lookbook.