Energy wise, resource foolish
Most eco-friendly claims of Indira Paryavaran Bhawan are hogwash
IN 2009 WHEN the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (moef ) decided to get new office space for its 600odd officials, the then minister Jairam Ramesh envisaged it to be a trendsetter in environment-friendly buildings in the country. Christened Indira Paryavaran Bhawan (ipb), the swanky office building underwent multiple delays and massive cost overrun before it was hurriedly inaugurated by former prime minister Manmohan Singh in February—a month ahead of the Election Commission’s announcement of the 2014 general elections. But ipb has not quite caught the attention of the nation as Ramesh had expected. Although it has set a precedent in rooftop solar power generation, it fails to address the larger issues of resource efficiency and affordability, which are the key features of an ecofriendly building.
But before analysing its efficiency, let’s first understand how the building manages its energy requirement.In a typical commercial building, 80 per cent of the energy used goes to lighting and heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (hvac). ipb employs a mix of architectural interventions with super-efficient technologies to reduce these energy loads.To reduce exposure to direct heat, the building has east-west orientation and its outer walls are padded with heat reflecting terrace tiles and rock wool for insulation. Glazing, or wall to window ratio, is restricted to 17 per cent. Windows are fitted with double-glazed units that allow natural illumination, not heat.To reduce dependence on airconditioning, the building has open atrium and lobbies. Only 38 per cent of the building is air-conditioned by using advanced hvac technology (this includes screw chillers, variable frequency drives and chilled beams). This hvac system consumes two-thirds less energy. moef went against the comfort standards of National Building Code (nbc), which is 23oC-26oC forv summer and 21oC-23oC for winter, and fixed the setpoint temperature of hvac at 26±1oC for summer and 19±1oC for winter. Studies show that every degree rise or drop in setpoint temperature saves 3-5 per cent of energy.
Energy-efficient lighting Reduction of artificial lighting load Architectural interventions for increased daylighting Insulated outer walls and double glazed windows
to reduce heating PV solar panels on extended rooftop Cooling tower for further cooling of air Geothermal mechanism to reduce energy and water consumption of HVAC
system that cools air Heat exchange in air handling unit Chilled beam system for air distribution Energy-efficient techniques used in Indira Paryavaran Bhawan