If you are looking to buy an eco-friendly home, don't get swayed by a project's green tag as chances are that it may not be green in the true sense of the term.
Developers of several projects, which are generously using the 'green building' label to boost sales, do not care enough to get a government certification for eco-friendly buildings.
"For our Khandala project, we are not going for a certification because we know we are doing a green project. As it is, the process is time consuming and the money that we spend is huge. By the time we get the certificate, the project will have been sold out," Santosh Naik, managing director at Disha Direct, said.
The 'Go Green' buzzword that fast caught up with Indian developers seems to be losing ground in the Mumbai market despite several incentives offered by the state government to encourage the concept.
In August 2011, the Maharashtra government announced a scheme under which buildings with green certification would be prioritized for environmental clearance. Approvals were to be given within 4-6 weeks against the usual period of 18 months. Additionally, in March 2012, it announced a green code under which developers were to be given tax rebates on eco-friendly projects.
However, none of these schemes has helped ease the apathy amongst developers on account of the lack of implementation, resulting in much higher-than-budgeted-for construction costs for green projects. The incremental costs for such projects are 15 per cent more than that for non-green ones, according to DFX Systems, an engineering consulting firm that assists developers build projects as per certification guidelines.
Even the schemes introduced much earlier by the state government are yet to be executed, developers claim. This seems to be the biggest deterrent to promoters applying for an official certificate.
"The Maharashtra government, for instance, announced that municipal taxes would be reduced for the purpose of green buildings. But none of that has happened. You can't announce such schemes when you haven't implemented the earlier ones," said Niranjan Hiranandani, managing director of the Hiranandani group of companies.
Experts believe the lack of communication between developers and the state is also responsible for the tepid response to government incentives.
"Larger awareness is needed and it will make help developers to a large extent," said Pankaj Kapoor, managing director at Laises Foras. "Some ad campaigns or may be structuring a channel of communication between the government and the developers will be of much help."