Forging Eco-friendly Green Building Designs

Samhita Venkaatesh, Managing Director, Ela Green Buildings & Infrastructure Consultants

Ela means the earth. To render unto and give back the earth, the abundance the earth has given is what Ela Green Buildings and Infrastructure Consultants thrives for.

Founded in 2009, Ela Green Buildings and Infrastructure Consultants, has provided green building consultancy services for many renowned clients such as ITC, Microsoft, Symbiosis, Coal India and many more.

Samhita along with two other partners, have also setup – Leaflines Eco Living LLP to promote eco friendly products supporting sustainable communities and the product portfolio includes a wide variety such as paper made from elephant dung, bags made from used tetra packs, office table ware made from waste paper etc.

Samhita is a LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) Accredited Professional, IGBC (Indian Green Building Council) Accredited Professional; BEE (Bureau of Energy Efficiency) Certified ECBC (Energy Conservation Building Code) Master Trainer and an Edge Auditor. She has taken a proactive role in teaching and training students and other professionals on various aspects of green buildings.

“My passion has been in the area of reusing waste to make them usable products. This started in a small way where I have made things from newspaper Mache, return gift bags from newspaper and magazines, vases from waste bottles and furniture from tires.” she says.

Here are some insights about her professional journey, as shared with team ABT.

What led you to choose Real Estate as a profession?
An education background of architecture and Management got me placed in Ashok Leyland Properties in 2006. I had a short stint directly with the real estate sector. After which I have been working on the environmental and green building consultancy sphere thereby contributing to the sustainability aspects in the real estate sector.

What’s your philosophy when it comes to doing business?
We believe that Green is for all. We launched the Green for All Program under which we have designed the first green LEED Certified orphanage in the Country in Hyderabad. We also work with many school children on teaching green concepts and how to keep their campus green. Ela believes in excellence and strives to achieve highest standards of perfection.

What role does Ela Green Buildings & Infra Consultants play in enhancing value to Real Estate Developers?
We help projects achieve energy and water savings through design recommendations. We also provide the life cycle costing analysis to help real estate developers understand the benefits of green buildings. We hand hold the entire design team to ensure an integrated design approach which is critical for an efficient building design. This way the builder achieves the best design solutions and the optimal benefits within the desired budget. We also assist in computer simulation analysis for energy savings of various design components based on the cost impact.

Tell us more about the buzz around Green Concepts.
All construction activities create negative impacts on the environment. The main aim of planning construction activity as sustainable and eco-friendly is to enable perfect living in harmony with nature and to bridge the gap between development and the environment.
Green concepts in infrastructure is a wide ranging term which encompasses integrated area development, infrastructure system, inter-connectivity between land conservation, watershed protection, rainwater and attenuate runoff management, control of pollutants in water systems and other allied environmental aspects. There are various rating systems that recognize green buildings. A green building incorporates several environmental friendly features which results in reduction of building operating costs. Green buildings are characterized by use of environmental friendly building materials which are non-toxic and recyclable, efficient use of water and its recycling, energy efficient and eco-friendly equipment and assurance of a quality indoor air.

Do you face challenges? How do you overcome them?
Challenges are a part of every business. However we have a great team and systems in place to avoid issues in project deliveryin terms of quality as well as timelines. Most of the times dealing with challenges are a team effort and the prime focus is to maximize the benefits to the client. We also work and collaborate with many experts in the field. Any innovations and technical inputs, we work with industry experts.

Tell us about your most cherished project.
The Coal India Corporate Office Building is our first project awarded to us in 2009. This is a project which has achieved the highest standards of green, LEED Platinum Certified. It also GRIHA 4 star certified. This was also the first project for the Government sector. Working with Microsoft on their Hyderabad campus is also one of our prestigious projects. Designing and completing the first LEED Certified Orphanage in the Country is also one of our milestones we are proud of.

What would you like to achieve in the coming years?
We would want to work on certain areas which have been of great interest to me but never had an opportunity. Sustainability in Rural Housing and Smart village analysis and mechanisms for implementation are areas we would want to work on. Smart Cities have gained huge focus and importance in the recent years in India. We would also like to work on greening Government schools along with educating the children. We have taken some steps toward this in Andhra Pradesh. However we would need to scale the efforts to make a considerable impact.