(CEO – Global Constructions Chemicals, Pidilite Industries Limited)
As per the study conducted by McKinsey's on Global cost curve for greenhouse gas abatement measures beyond "business as usual', almost a quarter of possible emission can be reduced from measure such as better insulation in buildings which carry no net life cycle cost which in effect comes free-of-cost. India is also witnessing this trend and building envelope insulation is gradually becoming one of the key practices to minimize heat gain in the building and save on increasing energy cost. Apart from the considerable savings in the operational cost, exterior thermal insulation also improves the indoor comfort factor thereby providing a healthier environment and enhancing the life of the building.
The traditional and conventional systems of waterproofing and thermal insulation in India worked well for ages to suit to the Indian construction and economics. However, the use of conventional systems such as Brick Bat Coba, tar felt, mud phuska, etc. are not sustainable and require frequent maintenance and also do not suit the complicated site dynamics of today's construction nor do they offer the required insulation values to comply to the Energy Conservation Building Code (ECBC), an energy code launched by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency in 2007. Today, it is necessary, socially, environmentally and economically, to design & constructed buildings adapted to Green Measures. Indian Green Building Council, since 2001, has been creating awareness towards the benefit of green design through LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) rating system. The Energy Research Institute (TERI) is also creating awareness towards green design through GRIHA (Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment) rating system.
As per ECBC, India is divided into 5 climatic zones and depending upon the building usage i.e. either day time or 24 hours' operations), thermal performance values have been pre-defined. Efficacy of Insulation is measured by Thermal Resistance (R Value). For instance to achieve an R value of 2.1 m2.k/W (for day time operation building in Mumbai which falls under Warm & Humid Climate), one can use a Brick Bat Coba (BBC) of approx 1900 mm (1.9m) thick or approx 80mm thick Expanded Polystyrene or 40mm thick Dr. Fixit Foamshield from Pidilite Industries. For the same case, BBC would weigh approx 3 Ton/m2 where as Dr. Fixit Foamshield would weight only 2 Kg/m2.
Waterproofing & Insulation material for roof should be selected based on the life cycle analysis and not just the initial investment. An important aspect towards a sustainable performance of such system is the integration between waterproofing & insulation system. Moisture management in envelope assemblies is a very critical design consideration and requires a fundamental understanding of the physics of moisture transport. New age waterproofing technologies are now available across the country which offers excellent performance apart from being a Green Product for e.g. Dr. Fixit Extensa R which offers 1600% elongation, water based quick setting spray applied membrane and more products from the industry to manage moisture and water leakages. System detailing would play a vital role as areas like parapet wall, drain collection, pedestal etc are prone to be the soft target for system failure. Trends like single point accountability and manufacturer's entry in offering turnkey solution can help in eliminating accountability issue when a system fails post completion of work.
India is growing rapidly and it is up to us to leave behind a healthier motherearth for the coming generations.
"No Energy Conservation, know Monetary Loss; Know Energy Conservation, No Monetary Loss."