Delhi, 9 October 2018 -  Findings of research conducted since 2016 by UN-Habitat, Oxford Brookes University (OBU), The Energy and Resource Institute (TERI), and Development Alternatives (DA) were presented at a national workshop on Mainstreaming Sustainable Social Housing in India Project (MaS-SHIP). Funded by the United Nations Sustainable Buildings and Construction Programme the workshop aims to identify sustainable, innovative and affordable means of improving housing construction.

A Decision Support Toolkit (DST) was launched at the workshop. An interactive web-based toolkit, the DST assists local governments and other stakeholders in the construction industry to select more sustainable building materials and construction technologies and adopt better design and construction practices. Participants agreed on the potential value of the toolkit and suggested improvements on how it measures and compares different building materials.

Discussions centred on trade-offs and convergences between socio-economic and environmental priorities in housing construction, how the DST can help the construction industry make evidence - based decisions, and the need for more rigorous data collection to plug existing gaps in building materials. The workshop also explored ways to align the DST with ongoing initiatives by the Government of India. The Director of The Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) Mr. Saurabh Diddi acknowledged the DST’s potential to support decision making in the department, including decisions about ongoing initiatives such as developing new codes for residential buildings and an incentive program for homeowners to adopt more sustainable practices.

The final web based interactive toolkit will be user-friendly to encourage rapid adoption and will dovetail into policy initiatives in sustainable social housing. Policy briefs from the project will complement policymakers’ efforts to mainstream sustainability into housing based on lessons learnt from the project. They will be submitted for stakeholder review before finalization.