´Where alternative thinking is the key´
Anita Arjundas CEO-Real-Estate Sector & Managing Director
Here´s a company that has been at the forefront of transforming urban landscapes by creating sustainable communities. Mahindra Lifespaces is among those leaders who have established a green development footprint. Also, it is the only real estate player in India that has voluntarily published a triple bottom line Global Reporting Initiative report, two years in a row, and has been rated A+. Anita Arjundas, CEO Real Estate Sector & Managing Director, Mahindra Lifespace Developers Ltd, is responsible for the group´s focus on urbanisation. ´We envisage a future where we enhance significantly our contribution to driving national home ownership and creating economic centres even as we adopt newer and less labour intensive technologies, extensively use recycled and local materials, and positively impact the communities around us," she says, commenting on the company´s innovative approach.
We have entered business segments and established formats and concepts that are untested and new to the industry. Recent examples include the company´s entry into affordable housing through Happinest and the pioneering development of integrated business cities through the Mahindra World Cities, among others. Also, we have adopted an approach that is focused on sustainable development across the value chain - from design and sourcing of materials to construction practices, green supply chains and customer education. This is further extended to measurement and monitoring for energy and water-efficiency post possession. Based on a strong focus on consumer insight, we have been moving towards sharply defined product offerings that influence location selection, specifications, project USPs and branding.
A major achievement for us is to demonstrate that going green does not mean going expensive. We have implemented green practices across projects with an incremental cost of below 2 per cent in our older projects. For new projects, we have brought the incremental cost down to almost zero. Also, a testimony to how customers appreciate and support innovation is the fact that we have managed to carry some of our marquee clients from Mahindra World City, Chennai to Jaipur. Another noteworthy mention is our success in multiple markets. This has been possible because of a matrix organisation structure having good depth at the regional level to ensure better local understanding while supported by functional specialists at the corporate level to ensure that product standards are deployed across geographies and the customer experience is consistent and improved upon.
A carbon-positive city and we are working towards this at Mahindra World City, Jaipur.
We have to reinvent ourselves and our products to enable better living for our customers and a cleaner and greener world for future generations. Every real estate developer should adopt innovative strategies because we owe this to our customers.
Size: 800,000 sq ft
Date of completion: Phase-1 of the project handed over by June 2013, while Phase- 2 handovers are nearing completion as of date.
Unique features: Comprising five towers with a total of 512 homes, Splendour offers the concept of Digi Homes where each home is not only eco-aware but, with the help of new-age technology, also self-aware. Some in-building amenities that provide a healthy and safe living environment to occupants include, surveillance camera at the childrens park, touchscreen panel for intelligent home setting, motion sensors, smoke and gas leak detectors, and a visitor management system to view videos of unattended visitors. Eco-friendly features include low-thermal conductivity, fly-ash bricks for energy-efficiency, in-house sewage treatment plant to reduce potable water demand by 25 per cent, rainwater harvesting and storm water management, low-flow faucets to save water up to 49 per cent, low-VOC paints and low-emissivity glass for windows.
Impact on end-user: The project provides parking facility for visitors and maximum shaded parking area to reduce the heat island effect. Also, the low-thermal conductivity building envelope reduces the pressure on air-conditioning and, hence, electricity bills.
Size: Land area: 85,000 sq ft
Date of completion: Dec 2015 (estimated)
Unique features: The building showcases a unique facade reminiscent of tree branches. Glass-reinforced concrete will be used to construct the fatade and achieve a feel akin to tree branches. For basement waterproofing, the team has chosen a synthetic membrane made of plasticised PVC manufactured by a twin co-extrusion method. Hence, when the groundwater table is high, the system works better than other systems and risk of damage is reduced as compared to other options. PVC membranes have a life expectancy equal to the structural life of buildings as these materials are completely inert and do not deform.
Impact on end-user: To achieve the requisite number of car parks at an optimised cost and effectively use space, stack car parks have been used instead of conventional basement parking. Also, a car lift has been provided for customer convenience. Further, the lift eliminates the provision of ramps to access the basement, thereby making the solution time and space-efficient.
5-Step Approach for an Innovative Project
New product development of residential projects through a cross-functional team including all consultants
Design input from customers before, during and on completion of the design process
Value engineering during the design process itself to capture efficiencies earlier and better
Quality check mechanisms to reduce cost of non-compliance and improve end product quality
Knowledge management: Innovation at grassroot level is encouraged through an organisation wide ´Kaizen´ initiative