The Crucial Role of the Construction Sector in India’s Net-Zero Targets

India’s ambition to achieve net-zero emissions by 2070 hinges significantly on the transformation of its construction sector. With the nation’s rapid economic growth comes the imperative to address climate change, positioning India as a key player on the global stage.

The construction and real estate industries in India are responsible for a substantial 32% of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. This includes both operational carbon, emitted during the lifetime of a building, and embodied carbon, which refers to the carbon footprint associated with materials and construction processes.

While initiatives such as AMRUT, the Energy Conservation Building Code (ECBC), and the Eco Niwas Samhita (ENS) have focused on reducing operational carbon, there remains a gap in addressing embodied carbon. This is particularly concerning as India’s economy continues to grow, and urbanization rates soar, with an estimated 600 million people projected to reside in urban areas by 2031.

To effectively mitigate carbon emissions in the construction sector, India must embrace low-carbon materials and innovative construction techniques. Materials such as fly ash and ground-granulated blast-furnace slag (GGBFS) can replace traditional cement, significantly reducing emissions while maintaining structural integrity.

Additionally, engineered wood products like cross-laminated timber (CLT) offer a sustainable alternative to concrete and steel, further reducing embodied carbon while enhancing architectural diversity.

Transitioning to cleaner production processes, such as substituting biomass for coal in cement manufacturing and implementing carbon capture technologies, can also yield substantial emission reductions.

Furthermore, optimizing construction practices through the use of electric-powered machinery, prefabrication methods, and enhanced project management can significantly minimize emissions while improving efficiency and reducing waste.

However, unlocking the full potential of these strategies requires robust policy support. A national framework for assessing embodied carbon, enforced reporting mandates, and the creation of a digital carbon emissions database are essential steps towards integrating sustainability into construction practices.

On the financing front, India has made significant strides in green finance, with initiatives like green sovereign bonds and forthcoming guidelines from the Reserve Bank of India focused on climate risk management. However, substantial investment, estimated at over $10 trillion from 2020 to 2070, will be required to meet India’s net-zero targets.

By mobilizing policy support, leveraging innovative technologies, and embracing sustainable finance, India can position itself as a global leader in decarbonizing the construction sector, paving the way towards a sustainable future.


A content creator who is passionate about the intersection of culture and creativity, seeking to create content that sparks meaningful conversations and inspires positive change.

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