Mumbai, India: ACC -- India’s leading Cement Company, has opened more Green Building Material Centres in states of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Rajasthan for providing affordable housing to the rural population. According to ACC’s CSR official, Pratyush Panda, low-cost housing market in India is a “significant opportunity because 70 percent of the population lives in the countryside and there is a vast opportunity in residential, commercial, and infrastructure construction.” Even if one million homes are built in a year for the next 10 years, it will fulfil only just one fourth of actual demand. ACC Green Building Materials Centres make sustained efforts to educate the rural population as well as low cost builders in terms of construction techniques, use of eco-friendly building materials and developing business opportunities network with local government and community. Thanks to Green buildings, ACC has opened up a whole new customer segment. Customers benefit from these centres nit only on rural construction techniques but also the solutions offered as one-stop shops: • Locally produced, easy to use, reasonably priced construction products like bricks, tiles, pavers and similar items • Knowledge and training on how to produce and apply these products in the rural context • Well-equipped quality laboratory to monitor product quality • Industrial machines which enable end-users to manufacture products themselves and thus save costs • Display of rural construction elements ranging from fly ash bricks to roofing and housing solutions • Simple and complete solutions for low-cost construction segment • Integrated construction solutions • Strong partnerships with local community • Sustainable business models and opportunities to network with local entrepreneurs and governments. As the centres are encouraging sustainable construction techniques (hence “green” in the name), ACC green centres tap building materials from local resources, which also include recycled waste material like fly ash made into eco friendly building products that reduce carbon dioxide emissions and help in cutting costs. According to AAC, the Centres won awards at Green Cities Forum, where Green Building Centres were honoured for the Smart Initiative. The concept is also becoming popular in countries such as Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and parts of Latin America as ACC Limited, is part of the worldwide Holcim Group. It also offers tremendous potential to create brand awareness in the minds of rural customers. There is big opportunity for stakeholder to get more centres opened as the company allows a local entrepreneur with good ties to the community to finance it. NGOs can chip in with equipment and training, and ACC will be working closely with local governments on the projects.