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

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