A building at Jaipur was awarded the World’s Best Learning Building at World Architecture Festival Awards (WAF) 2009 at the Barcelona International Convention Center (CCIB) in Barcelona, among 611 projects from all over the world. This was the Jaipur campus of Pearl Academy of Fashion, a building designed to control the temperature of internal spaces, that is, the temperature remains at 28 degree celsius inside the building irrespective of the outside temperature. The aim was to provide ‘submissive’ cooling strategies like open courtyards, water bodies and a step well in the academy, where designing students can beat the oppressive hot weather outside. The plan adopted passive environment strategies in the academy to decrease power consumption – AC and lighting loads were cut down drastically.
Arindam Das, director of Pearl Academy of Fashion in Jaipur, says: “We hardly use artificial lightings in our campus as natural light is adequate – if anything, we sometimes have to shut out the excessive daylight with blinds. Also, the use of ACs has been reduced substantially due to pathbreaking techniques employed by our architect Morphogenesis, like using matkas as fillings in the floorings, which traps heat and is a natural coolant, and using jaali designs throughout the campus for ventilation.” Akshay Kaul, landscape architect recounts the history of green buildings in India. He says: “All old havelis and buildings of the colonial era were green as they were built taking into account the natural climate of the region (Connaught Place, for instance).
It is only in the recent times that very thin building skins like aluminium, steel and glass, have been used. This means you need to spend a lot of money and energy in first manufacturing them and then use artificial systems like airconditioning and heating systems later to maintain them.” “All the slick buildings of our modern suburbs are blindly imitating the west where the climate is temperate and the amount of energy available, in the US or Europe for instance, is way ahead for the quality, reliability and quantum when compared to the Indian infrastructure. But, now, with an increasing eco-consciousness and with the construction sector becoming fiercely competitive, going green is suddenly seen as a USP. Still, we have only grazed the surface and we need to customize every building to our climate and not as per the climate conditions of the west,” Kaul says. Suddenly, there is an awareness that we need to secure our environment and that our future depends on how we sustain the food production and conserve the environment we live in. And that’s where money should be invested.
So, what were exceptions yesterday seem to have become the norm now, with occupiers emphasizing on going green. From planting trees, to using solar energy, to constructing smart buildings and even collecting litter, corporate India is going all green. Patni Computers in Noida is IGBC ( Indian Green Building Council )) Platinum Rated and LEED (Leadership in energy and environmental design) certified green building. The basic design has been inspired by the traditional inward look “Indian Haveli plan” design that balances environmental responsibility, energy efficiency, resource efficiency, occupant comfort.
The design concept is that of a simple straight-line low key architecture in sync with the surroundings, site and climate. Passive (architecturally) and active (mechanical, electrical) strategies have been optimally designed to minimize energy consumption. The building depth is optimized to capture daylight for more than 75% of occupied interiors and to maximize outdoor view. The campus of Wipro Technologies in Gurgaon is also Platinum Rated LEED certified green building.
The main focus of the design is the inverted cone, strategically located at the cross junction of two roads to give visibility to the building. A highlight of the building is a control, open-to-sky-landscape courtyard, which will contribute in keeping the building cool during summer. All open office spaces look into the courtyard and enjoy a good deal of daylight. Today, developers are announcing ecoprojects by the dozens. Supertech launched the ‘Eco- Citi’residential project in Sector 137 in Noida with the aim of building a zerocarbon emission and ecocentric development project by using special generators, machinery and ecological sanitation. According to R K Arora, CMD of Supertech Limited , “In Eco-Citi, our approach is based on the idea that all the ecologically responsible aspects of the building are ‘made visible’ as part of its role as an eco-habitat.” Green Boulevard, a project by 3C, is a green building and houses several multinational corporations like Accenture , Sapient, Nokia Siemens Network , among others.
It has been designed around shaded landscape courts with water bodies and plants, which helps in reducing the ambient temperature. The building depth has been optimized to capture daylight. 3C has also come up with Lotus Boulevard , a green residential project, which has features like insulated walls and insulated roofs, which reduce heat by up to 60%. While the external lighting is solar, the mechanical and electric equipment are energy efficient. Other features like 80% open spaces, zero discharge, a mechanism to recharge water by a unique water-harvesting methodology make it a unique project.
In its endeavor to reduce the carbon footprint, the 3C Company is creating environment friendly buildings. Vidur Bharadwaj, director of the 3C Company, says: “Realising that the green-building technology is the way forward for saving the planet, and as it is pro- life, we will constantly strive to make our projects safe, secure and a delightful experience for the occupants. The mission for developing green buildings has resulted in enormous savings on operating energy costs, which will benefit end users immensely.” The construction industry is increasingly picking up a number of green products too.
Suddenly, there is an awareness that we need to secure our environment and that our future depends on how we sustain the food production and conserve the environment we live in. And that’s where our money should be put. What were exceptions yesterday seem to have become the norm now, with occupiers emphasising on going green. From planting trees, to using solar energy, to constructing smart buildings and even collecting litter, corporate India is going all green.