How green is MoEF's new of­fice?

Down To Earth com­pares re­sources to be used by an of­fi­cial at Indira Parya­van Bhawan with stan­dards set for aver­age In­dian

Down to Earth - - ARCHITECTURE -

To save en­ergy spent on light­ing, 75 per cent of the of­fice space is de­signed to be daylit. Fur­ther, in­te­ri­ors are de­signed in a way that ev­ery square me­tre can be il­lu­mi­nated by 5Watt, in­stead of the stan­dard 11Watt. En­ergy ef­fi­cient light­ing sys­tems and lux-level sen­sors (that op­ti­mise oper­a­tion of light­ing by sens­ing pres­ence of people and day­light in the room) fur­ther help re­duce en­ergy use. Since of­fice ap­pli­ances ac­count for 20 per cent of the en­ergy con­sumed, ipb uses only the ones rated Five-Star (most en­ergy ef­fi­cient) by the Bureau of En­ergy Ef­fi­ciency (bee). “ipb’s en­ergy con­sump­tion will re­main within pro­jec­tion only if of­fi­cials do not use per­sonal print­ers, fax and cof­fee ma­chines,” warns Deep­en­dra Prashad, in­de­pen­dent green build­ing con­sul­tant for ipb.

Mis­sion net-zero

The goal of ipb is to be en­ergy net-zero, or to gen­er­ate as much elec­tric­ity as it con­sumes. The Cen­tral Pub­lic Works Depart­ment (cpwd), which has de­signed ipb, claims that the build­ing may con­sume 1.42 mil­lion kWh a year.To be­come net-zero, it has in­stalled so­lar pho­to­voltaic pan­els on its 6,000 sq m ex­tended rooftop, which is ex­pected to gen­er­ate 1.49 mil­lion kWh a year. Though moef is yet to move into the build­ing, ipb has gen­er­ated 0.22 mil­lion kWh be­tween Novem­ber 2013 and Fe­bru­ary 2014. ipb does not di­rectly use the so­lar en­ergy it gen­er­ates. It feeds the en­ergy into the grid and uses grid elec­tric­ity. This is to avoid stor­ing so­lar en­ergy that re­quires haz­ardous and ex­pen­sive bat­tery banks and mas­sive floor space. Since the tar­iff at which the govern­ment buys so­lar power is higher than the rate at which it sells elec­tric­ity for commercial use, ipb’s so­lar sys­tem will pay for it­self and make money for moef in near fu­ture. “ipb is the first build­ing-level re­new­able project sell­ing en­ergy to the govern­ment. It demon­strates that rooftop so­lar is prof­itable, ”says Prashad. “The new govern­ment may up­grade the na­tional grid to in­te­grate more such projects.”

But green build­ing is a big­ger do­min­ion than rooftop so­lar, and ipb does not seem to be ef­fi­cient in re­source util­i­sa­tion. Re­cently, ipb re­ceived a pro­vi­sional Five-Star from Green Rat­ing for In­te­grated Habi­tat As­sess- ment (griha), which says ipb’s en­ergy per­for­mance in­dex (epi) is 39.28 kWh/sqm/ year. But griha does not con­sider en­ergy used by ap­pli­ances. While griha is con­ceived by Delhi non-profit Tata En­ergy Re­search In­sti­tute, bee has its own set of stan­dards for rat­ing build­ings. Down To Earth has learned that go­ing by bee stan­dard, epi of ipb will be 67 kWh/sqm/year, which war­rants an unim­pres­sive Two-Star. This fur­ther sug­gests that the build­ing is en­ergy in­ef­fi­cient.

Where else it fal­ters

cpwd claims to have re­duced ipb’s wa­ter con­sump­tion to 50 per cent by us­ing low dis­charge wa­ter fix­tures, plants that use less wa­ter in land­scap­ing, re­cy­cling waste­water and us­ing geo­ther­mal mech­a­nism for cool­ing (hot wa­ter com­ing out of hvac sys­tem is pumped into a net­work of pipes placed deep in­side the earth.The cooled wa­ter is then reused in the hvac sys­tem). Ac­cord­ing to ipb’s en­vi­ron­ment im­pact as­sess­ment, its wa­ter foot­print is 42 kilo litres a day. A back-ofthe-en­ve­lope cal­cu­la­tion shows the build­ing will con­sume 70 litres per capita daily (lpcd). nbc’s wa­ter con­sump­tion stan­dard for of­fice build­ing is 45 lpcd on an aver­age. There is no clar­ity on ipb’s claims of rain­wa­ter har­vest­ing. moef says ipb can­not recharge ground­wa­ter as wa­ter ta­ble in the area is high.In that case ipb could have a rain­wa­ter stor­age tank like other build­ings in the area.

De­spite a Metro sta­tion 300 me­tres away ,ipb has a three-storey en­ergy-in­ten­sive ro­botic stacked park­ing in the base­ment to ac­com­mo­date 344 cars. This is against the grain of sus­tain­able mo­bil­ity. Park­ing acts as a mag­net for traf­fic while the need of the day is to re­strict pri­vate ve­hi­cles to pro­mote pub­lic trans­port.

ipb has been built at an ex­pense of R 201 crore. This is 54 per cent above moef’s ini­tial es­ti­mate for ipb and 82 per cent costlier than the new of­fice of Haryana En­ergy De­vel­op­ment Agency in Panchkula, which is also a griha Five-Star. Such ex­or­bi­tant cost of ipb only adds to the myth that green build­ings are ex­pen­sive.

Green build­ings are ex­pected to be pru­dent and ef­fi­cient with re­source util­i­sa­tion, not just en­ergy gen­er­a­tion.

MOEF of­fi­cial Stan­dard In­dian

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