Anant Centre for Sustainability

The Anant Centre for Sustainability is dedicated to advancing research and development initiatives anticipating future sustainability trends and combating climate change. By providing actionable insights and innovative solutions, the centre serves as a vital resource for policymakers, businesses, and communities worldwide. Our research efforts span various aspects of climate change mitigation and adaptation, emphasizing the interdisciplinary nature of sustainability endeavours aimed at addressing climate change challenges.

Research Areas

  • Affordable Housing
  • Carbon Capture
  • Climate Resilience:
  • Sustainable Campus

Affordable Housing

Affordable Housing at Anant has a solutionary approach – we analyze the challenges, look at best practices, possible solutions and their impact. We partner with institutions, organizations and governments from across the world to better address the challenges of housing. Our work is multi-disciplinary and geography agnostic.

The multi-disciplinary team brings together a diverse range of backgrounds across the industry, public policy, research, investments and civil society. The Affordable Housing team is at the forefront for research in this space and has published extensively.

During COVID-19, the Affordable Housing team presented a comprehensive plan to convert underutilized buildings into COVID care centres. The proposal was implemented by us setting up more than 27 hospitals across 6 states. We also pioneered the use of recyclable corrugated furniture for healthcare and delivered a range of emergency and testing vehicles based on rickshaw platforms. These are some of the cheapest such vehicles in the world.

Vacant Housing

India faces a crippling shortage of urban housing while nearly 14% of houses in cities lie vacant. This is endemic to all urban areas in India. The Centre has planned to better understand this phenomenon through a series of city reports starting with.

Ahmedabad has one of the largest stock of vacant housing in the country. The report was based on an exhaustive primary survey covering 50 government and private housing colonies spread across the city. The survey looked to identify what could be city or location-specific.

The report culminated in a number of specific short and long terms interventions that can be done by the government to incentivize the occupation of these homes.

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Housing for Construction Workers

Safe and adequate housing remains one of the biggest challenges in India and in an irony of fate, the people building dream homes for us remain the most deprived. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we saw the largest human reverse migration in Indian history.

In collaboration with the the Centre is looking to understand the role played by the lack of adequate housing in influencing the decision of migrants to return home. The report, based on past and current living conditions, will propose needed policy changes and whether the Affordable Rental Housing Complexes policy has a role to play. The report will also look at alternate materials and technologies to propose possible design solutions.

Our focus is on exploring technologies and strategies for capturing and storing carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, industrial facilities, and other point sources to prevent their release into the atmosphere. Additionally, we investigate the application of carbon trading mechanisms to foster innovation, support renewable energy deployment, encourage sustainable practices, and promote carbon offsetting and neutrality.

Renewable Energy Transition and Energy Efficiency: We investigate strategies for accelerating the transition to renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, and hydropower. This includes research on policy frameworks, financial mechanisms, and community engagement strategies to overcome barriers to renewable energy adoption and achieve a low-carbon energy system. Furthermore, we work to improve energy efficiency across various sectors, including buildings, transportation, and industry, through advancements in technology, policy incentives, and behavioural change.

Lifecycle Analysis to Promote Circular Economy and Resource Efficiency: Our research involves conducting lifecycle assessments of different energy technologies to understand their overall environmental impacts. We also investigate strategies to promote a circular economy that minimizes waste, maximizes resource efficiency, and reduces greenhouse gas emissions throughout the product lifecycle.

Climate Change Mitigation, Adaptation, and Resilience: We focus on researching and implementing integrated approaches to address multiple dimensions of sustainability and resilience simultaneously. This includes exploring effective mitigation and adaptation strategies to help vulnerable communities, ecosystems, energy, and infrastructure systems adapt to the impacts of climate change. Additionally, we develop strategies and models to quantify potential greenhouse gas emissions reductions associated with transitioning to renewable energy and implementing energy efficiency measures.

Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems: We explore climate-smart agricultural practices and technologies that enhance crop resilience to climate change impacts while promoting food security and reducing greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture. This includes studying regenerative agriculture techniques, sustainable land and water management practices, and supporting smallholder farmers in adopting climate-smart agricultural practices.
Urban Sustainability and Resilience: Our research investigates strategies for creating sustainable and resilient cities and communities. This includes urban planning and design, green infrastructure development, waste management strategies, and sustainable transportation systems. We aim to promote research on innovation so as to reduce emissions from the transportation sector and enhance the resilience of urban populations to climate-related hazards.
Climate Finance and Investment: We research innovative financing mechanisms and investment strategies to mobilize funds for climate action and sustainable development initiatives. This includes studying climate finance instruments such as green bonds, carbon markets, and exploring public-private partnerships to attract investment in climate-resilient infrastructure and sustainable projects.

Sustainable Land Use and Forestry: Our research focuses on sustainable land management practices, reforestation and afforestation efforts, and policies to reduce deforestation and forest degradation, major contributors to global carbon emissions.

Promoting Public Engagement: Our research focuses on effective communication strategies, behavioural interventions, and community engagement approaches to promote sustainable lifestyles and foster climate awareness in line with mission Life of Government of India.

Climate Policy and Governance: We study the design, implementation, and evaluation of climate policies and governance structures at local, national, and international levels. This includes researching carbon pricing mechanisms, regulatory frameworks, and international agreements such as the Paris Agreement. We advocate for policy reforms that advance climate action, equity, and social justice.

Sustainable Campus

The Anant Centre for Sustainability is responsible for transforming Anant into becoming a sustainable campus. The University has pledged to become plastic-free. The centre has taken steps to establish waste management practices such that all our waste is minimised, segregated, recycled or reused. The centre is responsible for ensuring that sustainability is embedded in the student curriculum, values, and everyday campus life. We believe that the learnings from our activities can be leveraged to benefit other educational institutions who have the will to transform into sustainable campuses. The centre records and documents all the actions taken in this field, measures the impact generated, and disseminates information in the public domain. Know more

Sustainability Talks

The centre has conducted multiple activities to introduce students to the idea of sustainable design. The centre collaborated with design festival, Bengaluru ByDesign for two consecutive years, 2018 and 2019, which curated design thinking, innovation and sustainability through creative events. These events comprised workshops and lectures by industry experts and academics of international repute along with an exhibition on the built environment.

Currently, the centre periodically organises interactive workshops on waste management to introduce staff and students to the magnitude of waste challenges.

Know more about the initiatives

Reports and Projects

  • Report:
    2024: Resource Efficiency and Recycling of C&D Waste
  • Report:
    2022: Shelter Solutions for Migrant Construction Workers
  • Report:
    2020:Industrial Symbiosis in India – Challenge or Opportunity
  • Report:
    2020: The Paradox of Vacant Houses in India – Ahmedabad City Report
  • Project:
    Anant Mobile COVID-19 Testing
    and Oxygen Auto-rickshaw
  • Project:
    Anant COVID-19 Recovery Centres
  • Project:
    Anant Corrugated Cardboard Beds
  • Project:
    Anant COVID-19 Communication

The housing situation in India presents a unique paradox; on one hand there is a massive housing shortage and on the other, over 10.07% (11,093,630) of the census houses lie vacant in urban India. The problem is especially acute in urban areas of Gujarat where 14.93% houses are vacant, Maharashtra where 13.16% houses are vacant, and the National Capital Region where 10.94% houses are vacant.

The report on “Resource Efficiency and Recycling of Construction and Demolition Waste” is based on research undertaken to develop an overall understanding of the C&D waste challenges and to identify the strengths and weaknesses that can be addressed to achieve greater efficiency in the C&D waste management processes. The objectives were to study the prevalent C&D waste management strategies, challenges and practices, and quantify the potential climate benefits in terms of its global warming contribution.
Based on accessibility, the research focused on C&D waste recycling facilities in Ahmedabad, Surat and NOIDA as well as the Kesarjan Building Centre – a private 30 MT capacity recycling plant.
The study identifies some key actions that can contribute to increasing the volume of C&D waste recycled as well as increase the use of material and products made from recycled C&D waste.

Report is available here

The Anant Centre for Sustainability (ACfS) and Habitat for Humanity’s Terwilliger Centre for Innovation in Shelter collaborated to look at the housing challenge of migrant construction workers, specifically in Maharashtra, which attracts the maximum number of inter-state migrants.

The study investigated the challenges faced with housing – a prime reasons assumed for the departure of migrants from the cities following the lockdown in India during the pandemic. One of the reasons assumed for the departure of migrants from the cities was problems with housing, specifically, the unwillingness of house owners to let the tenants continue occupying the rental accommodation

Overall, the study showed that the rental housing options for migrant construction workers need to meet the needs of new migrants, those who come for short durations when there is no agricultural work in their places of origin as well as those who have been living in the cities for five years or more and would like to move to pucca accommodation with good access to all essential services – either at the community level or at individual levels.

Report is available here

The development of industrial ecosystems is dependent on the availability of an adequate supply of raw materials and its sustainable use. The rapid growth of industrial estates and the flow (or lack of it) of materials within these estates raises important questions around resource efficiency. Indeed, companies within Indian industrial estates violating waste management rules is a perennial problem. Further, it is much more challenging to attain a closed-loop system of material exchange within an industrial estate in India. However, our research also found early attempts of industrial symbiosis in some cases and a well-entrenched informal waste management system that currently overrides all formal material exchanges.

The study finds that the biggest challenge for successful industrial symbiosis within industrial estates to be the lack of trust and cooperation among companies to network, communicate, and exchange materials. On the other hand, we found that there were interactions amongst several company managers on issues related to the environment, water pollution, waste management, infrastructure and management of the industrial estate, which could lead to an environmentally favourable decision on exchanging waste materials for utilisation. There were also several informal interactions during commuting, events and casual engagements amongst company managers.

Report is available here


In India, the estimated housing shortage is 18.78 million units and heavily skewed towards the poorest socio-economic group. According to Census 2011, the percentage of vacant houses in the country increased from 6.3 percent in 2001 to 7.5 percent in 2011.

The ACfS decided to study the situation across 50 housing societies in Ahmedabad built by the private sector and government after 2010. The study involved in-depth interviews and focus group discussions with residents of 498 apartments, as well as interviews with Resident Welfare Associations, brokers and developers in the city.

The findings showed that the vacant houses in government built schemes were more than more than 2.5 times compared to private schemes. There are more vacant houses in the south-east than in the south-west areas of Ahmedabad, whereas, the south-east and north-east areas have similar proportion of vacant houses. The South-West of the city, which has the lowest vacancy rate at 3.7 percent, has higher vacancy rates in privately developed schemes (5.2 percent) compared to government developed schemes.

Report is available here


Anant Centre for Sustainability has developed ‘Anant Mobile COVID-19 Testing and Oxygen Auto-rickshaw’, an affordable, compact, effective and contact-free mobile facility for COVID-19 testing. The facility is also equipped with oxygen supply for emergencies as well as advanced X-ray technology. The auto-rickshaw, designed in two variants – one which only collects samples and other with an x-ray testing facility, allows easy door-to-door access and facilitates testing of nearly 500 people in a day. The facility is designed for COVID-19 patients with mild symptoms. Both the versions of the auto-rickshaw are equipped with a stretcher and oxygen supply, which enables swift and hassle-free transportation of patients to the hospital.


Anant National University has tied up with various stakeholders to set-up COVID-19 recovery facilities across the country. As part of this initiative, Anant transformed the existing infrastructure such as apartments, community halls into COVID-19 recovery facilities to provide temporary hospitals with ICUs and quarantine centres. These centres cater to all segments of society and will treat patients with mild symptoms of COVID-19. Till date, Anant has transformed the following spaces into a COVID-19 recovery facility

  • Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Development Studies in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, into a 20-bed facility
  • Built a 100-bed facility at Dongri’s Najam Baug, 250-bed facility at St Xavier’s College and 350-bed facility at MP Mills Compound in Mumbai
  • Rajkot Municipal Corporation Hall, Rajkot into a 75-bed facility


Anant has developed laminated corrugated board bed, side table and foldable divider as an affordable alternative to beds available at the hospital. These beds are sturdy, waterproof, easy to produce, assemble and transport and can also be easily disinfected. The centre chose this material as it is cost-effective, environment friendly, can last up to 10 years. The University has collaborated with a local manufacturer and design firm to produce these beds which cost between 8 to 15% of the price of the conventional items. The products are also laminated so they can be spray disinfected and are not affected by cleaning.


The Anant Centre for Sustainability has conducted numerous conversation around the use of sustainable approached such as effective waste management, waste segregation and many others. The centre is actively involved in research and publishes research reports, multimedia products, create and teach relevant course work and implement projects. Besides, the centre has come up with various innovations in the wake of the COVID pandemic such as visors, corrugated cardboard beds and side tables, auto-testing mobile oxygen van and COVID-19 recovery centres which received massive coverage across all the publishing houses.

Centre Programmes

  • Bachelor of Technology specialising in Climate Change
  • Anant Fellowship for Climate Action
  • Foundation course on sustainability
  • Executive Education


The unique B.Tech degree at Anant is a specialised engineering program specifically for innovating in climate technologies. It is the only undergraduate degree program in India offering students to specialise in climate technologies and thus be part of the $23 trillion climate economy globally.

Students learn to use engineering tools and design thinking principles with practical application-oriented learning at Anant’s Climate Lab, within industry, government, research laboratories for creating technology solutions for climate change.

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The Anant Fellowship for Climate Action is a unique 8-months immersive global programme for climate change solutionaries. Based on a mentor-mentee framework, it aims at creating a community of climate change trailblazers who collaborate and cross-pollinate each other’s work with ideas and expertise from across sectors, regions and generations.Know more

Students at Anant National University benefit from developing a robust foundation in sustainable design and practices by leveraging the resources offered by the Anant Centre for Sustainability. One key component of which is the Foundation Year course on ‘Introduction to Sustainability’. Students trace the origins of ‘sustainability development’ since the early 1800s across academia, politics, business. They read key texts and publications that shaped the meaning of sustainability as we know it today, and learn about key topics such as waste to wealth, circular economy, industrial symbiosis, stakeholder mapping, sanitation and water in housing, as well as affordable housing and product design.

The lack of formal education in sustainability studies, including climate sciences, affordable housing, design thinking for solving social problems, deepens the need for executive education in this field. Working professionals, job seekers, students can sign up for Executive Education courses offered by the Anant Centre for Sustainability round the year. Currently, we offer two programs, which are as follows.

Designing Affordable Living

The programme aims to enable students to understand the needs for affordable living in India, and then effectively design, produce, and market affordably priced items made with limited resources in short durations of time. This is an aspect of design especially important to provide a life of dignity and comfort even to those who are economically disadvantaged.

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Entrepreneurs in Residence(EIR)

The EIR programme is envisioned to help three entrepreneurs with either a well-fleshed out business idea or an existing business in the field of affordable housing, building construction, real estate, design and prop tech, who could leverage Anant’s physical infrastructure, expertise and partnerships to scale up.

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Centre Partners

The Anant Centre for Sustainability works in partnership with select international and Indian organisations to further its mission of advanced research and project implementation in climate action, affordable housing, indigenous models of circular economy, and building sustainable education campuses. In implementing projects, the Centre has received grants and sponsorships from both government organisations and private sector companies. We have also delivered to clients in locations across India, products and solutions related to affordable housing, corporate sustainability, and sustainable campuses.

  • Terwilliger Centre for Innovation in Shelter (TCIS)
  • Habitat for Humanity – India

Terwilliger Centre for Innovation in Shelter (TCIS) – USA, is an independent entity set up within Habitat for Humanity International to deal with a market-based approach and create an impact on 100 million lives. It functions independently of Habitat for Humanity with its budget and team. TCIS has set up and manages several funds for investing in housing ecosystem start-ups, including the much-lauded Micro Build Fund – which has led to the development of commercial paper by Credit Suisse for investments in the affordable housing space.

Anant partners in research on areas of mutual interest with TCIS. The areas of cooperation may include, subject to mutual consent, any desirable and feasible activity that would further the goals of each institution.

Such interaction may include cooperation in a variety of joint academic and education activities such as:

  • The impact of accessibility to housing microfinance on low-income families
  • Which materials or services have the most impact in creating a vibrant housing ecosystem
  • How to integrate sustainable technologies in low-income housing construction


Further, both organisations are keen to develop and conduct modules for capacity building in the affordable housing space. The capacity-building platform would be open for students and faculty members to work with the portfolio companies of TCIS.

Habitat for Humanity – India (HfHI) is one of the largest organizations working to provide decent shelter to families. HfHI sets the stage for families, volunteers, donors, and supporters to come together to build suitable homes that provide the foundation for a better life.

HfHI and Anant anticipate that a number of initiatives will occur during the period of this MOU. The key objectives of this exercise would be to address the issue of 30 million uncomplete homes and their possible solutions. The focus would be on the self-build space, which accounts for 60 percent of all home construction in India.

To fulfil the above-mentioned objectives, scope of the work is classified in key heads such as:

  • Volunteering Programme: Assistance to each other with Construction, Technology, Innovation & Design to the affordable housing by sending their students/staffs on the field for volunteering programs.
  • Knowledge Hub and Workshops: Facilitate and host key research workshops to enhance the efficiency of the housing projects.
  • Research and Development: Undertake research, assessment, development of tools and resources that facilitate dialogue and synergy of best practices between different operating models and stakeholders.
  • Research Aspect: To conduct joint action-based research such that it is implemented in field-level, policies and practices. These researches shall make an impact in creating awareness within the areas worked upon and the public, in general.
  • Publishing: Case studies and innovation may be presented in national/international conferences and published in reputed Journals and Magazines.

Anant Centre for Sustainability Team

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