EDGE presents a unique opportunity to disrupt the housing market in India

Jasmine Day

With the rapid urbanization of major cities across the globe, IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, has deployed its EDGE green building program in nearly 140 countries. EDGE is a certification system focused on making buildings more resource-efficient.

The climate impacts of urbanization

The World Bank Group views climate change as an acute threat to global development and efforts to end poverty. Countries around the globe are already experiencing increased climate change impacts, and the most vulnerable of them are being hit the hardest. Without action to provide access to basic services and to build resilience, climate impacts could push an additional 100 million people into poverty by 2030.

In addition, the International Energy Agency reports that from 2015 to 2035, global energy consumption is expected to grow by 37 percent, and 96 percent of this growth is expected to come from emerging markets. Equally troubling is the expectation that by 2050, 66 percent of the world’s population will live in urban areas. More people means more buildings. There is a growing demand for our planet’s resources, and we must address the climate issues associated with urbanization from a global perspective in order to build a better tomorrow.

India and the state of sustainable development

India presents a major opportunity in the realm of sustainable development. In a recent interview with Prashant Kapoor, principal green building industry specialist for IFC and the inventor of EDGE, Kapoor highlights that India has only built 30 percent of its eventual building assets, leaving room to positively influence anticipated new construction. Kapoor describes how, if India’s newly built environment were filled with inefficient homes instead of sustainable ones, it would present environmental challenges at a global scale.

Watch the interview to learn why EDGE is such a great solution for India:

The importance of the EDGE certification system, especially in India, transcends cost savings for developers and homebuyers—it is a system that effectively communicates which green building technologies work best to curb the resource intensity of energy, water and embodied energy in materials. The program allows developers to see their predicted ROI, further encouraging the practice of sustainable development.

Watch a video about how the free EDGE software works.

The environmental impacts of rapid urbanization

To keep pace with the market, India will need to move toward the implementation of more resource-efficient housing projects. As India's urbanization grows, the economy is positively shifting, and so have the lifestyles of Indians across the country. However, this rapid influx of people to cities heightens the demand for new residential construction and intensifies environmental challenges, such as energy shortages, water scarcity, waste accumulation, air quality crises and chronic disease.

New residential infrastructure directly contributes to these challenges, because buildings are responsible for vast amounts of energy use, resource consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Resource-efficient buildings, especially homes, are an essential way to help alleviate the climate change impacts of development.

Building and branding green with EDGE

The EDGE rating system provides a quantifiable business case that encourages more affordable housing in high-growth urban areas, making green building and design accessible for middle- and low-income housing. EDGE shows that by making the right choices at the design stage (i.e., choosing solutions like reflective paint, energy-efficient ceiling fans and water-conserving fixtures), we can lower utility bulls, develop affordable homes and command a higher resale price.

Establishing an industry standard

Kapoor points to the value of EDGE in India from a government perspective, explaining that in the housing market, there is no government-mandated energy efficiency standard, so the market is self-regulated and very private sector- and market-driven.

EDGE provides developers and design teams with the ability to benchmark their projects against a standard local building. Project teams work to achieve a predicted 20 percent savings in the areas of energy usage, water usage and embodied energy in materials. Using the software allows a building designer to determine the optimum combination of design strategies for the best ROI.

Learn how EDGE presents a unique opportunity for a sustainable transformation of India’s housing market at our upcoming event in Bengaluru on April 25.

Learn more about the EDGE event