Buildings Extraordinaire

Buildings Extraordinaire

Countries around the world have been a part of this global crusade to give back to the environment, a cleaner, greener place to live in. With countries like USA, UK and others already done their bit, India too had been a part of this, but lately has started contributing in a big way to this cause. Buildings in India have already been constructed keeping the 'green' factor in mind but with more and more awareness and techniques available to make more environment-friendly and cost-effective buildings, several developers have gone for it and have bagged honors for their efforts and made the buildings famous! With numerous green buildings already in India and more coming up, here is a sneak peek at some of the famous buildings who have left their green footprints in the world of architecture.

CII-Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Centre

Buildings Extraordinaire
The CII-Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Centre has been a bellwether when it comes to the 'green' building revolution. This amazing structure bagged the prestigious Platinum award from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) in 2004. Designed by the renowned architect, Karan Grover, some of the outstanding features include:

  • The striking 20,000-square-foot building has been designed around a courtyard, thus acting as a "light well," providing light to the adjacent rooms
  • With natural light coming from the courtyard together with energy-efficient lighting systems, about 88 percent energy is saved, which is much higher than that of an electrically-lit building of the same size. Sensors fitted in the courtyard detect the illumination levels and activate the deployment of efficient electric lighting. Withdimmers controlling the illumination levels by turning off unnecessary lighting, about 90 per cent of building spaces can have daylight access and views to the outside. Many areas have utilized jaalis to prevent glare and heat gain, while aiding aeration
  • Wind towers have been erected to ‘catch’ air and cool it as it passes down the shafts. This results in cooling to about 8 degree Celsius, thus substantially reducing the load on the air conditioning systems
  • An indigenous method used for water purification involves letting the water pass through the roots of two plants–Phragmites Australis and Typha Latifoli–for purification. After this, the water is used for landscaping, called the “Root Zone” treatment.

ITC Green Centre, Gurgaon

ITC Green Centre, Gurgaon, the futuristic building of ITC has also become one of the first few to be awarded the Platinum Green Building rating by USGBC-LEED (Green Building Council-Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) in 2004, after CII- Sohrabji Centre. Being the largest Platinum-rated building in the world, it has some remarkable features including:
  • This building spread in an area measuring 1,81,000 sq ft area has zero water discharge
  • It is designed in a way that it saves about 53 per cent energy over any conventional building
  • There has been almost 40 per cent reduction in potable water use
  • Water treated in the premise itself is then used for flushing and landscaping
  • The building has been mostly made of fly-ash in bricks and concrete, and it also utilizes high efficiency equipment and several eco-friendly housekeeping practices

BCIL T-Zed Homes

Buildings Extraordinaire
Biodiversity Conservation India Limited or BCIL, a Bangalore-based construction company has caught the eyes of the Japanese! BCIL’s T-Zed Homes, an eco-friendly homes project in Bangalore has been awarded the prestigious ‘Ryutaro Hashimoto APFED Award’ for good practices towards sustainable development in the Asia-Pacific region. Bagging the award in July 2008, BCIL is the only Indian company to have won this honor. The T-Zed Homes’ has some remarkable features like:

    • The eco-friendly residential complex has a bio-gas digester of 150 kg capacity for converting the degradable kitchen and other organic waste
    • The members of the residential complex have even set up a Green Council with three members who are initiating the drive of getting waste from outside the campus
    • The swimming pool has no ceramic tiles but other options such as hard-sand, simulated ceramic-coated granular surfaces that are easy to maintain. Natural stone is used for wall and floor claddings of the pool
    • BCIL's air-conditioning method utilizes ammonia as a refrigerant. This technology called ‘district refrigeration’ involves a central chiller plant that is driven by ammonia which then distributes the thermal temperature through a network of pipes to each of the homes and is thus free from CFC or HCFC
Buildings Extraordinaire
  • AT BCIL Collective project, the company has again come out with an extraordinary technology that allows air-conditioning for 72 master bedrooms. The technique is a blend of earth tunnel ventilation and nocturnal cooling systems in which no energy is used inside your home. The system works with low-energy pumps for every set of four bedrooms and is easily executed and costs about Rs.200/- per sq. ft.
  • The campus does not have any water supply connection from the outside but instead has a unique network of shallow, open wells that provide water to the campus, without using bore wells which exhaust groundwater resources. Also, the campus does not have any sewerage connection as it utilizes all the waste water which is treated and reused for gardens in a way that water eventually percolates into the open wells and hence completes the loop of use, treatment and reuse.

Rabi Rashmi Abasan, Kolkata

This is India's first green housing project. Rabi Rashmi Abasan is part of a new district development in Kolkata using roof-integrated photovoltaics. The brain behind this amazing project is Mr. S. P. Gon Choudhary, managing director of the West Bengal Green Energy Development Corporation Limited (WBGEDCL). The project has been recently completed. What is outstanding about this project is:

  • The residential complex has 25 private houses with a total connected load of 380 KW, out of which 58 KW is supplied using the roof-integrated PV
  • Each house is equipped with 2 KW of roof-integrated solar PV tiles
  • Every cottage is surrounded by a small water pond
  • This south-facing solar passive architectural project is designed in such a way that during summers, the hot air within the building rises due to convection and is thrown out through ducts in a ‘turret’ at the top of the building
  • Also, each house is fitted with a 100 litre per day solar thermal water heater and care is taken to provide enough insulation
  • The hydro-pneumatic water pump installed in the complex only operates when the pressure reduces in the system and only up to the speed required to maintain full pressure, thereby saving energy during operation
  • There is also a 6 KW grid-connected roof-top system; the electricity generated by this is then used for various purposes like pumping, garden lights and the internal lighting, fans and other power demand in the night
  • The cost of each roof-top PV system was about Rs 0.7 million and the approximate cost of each dwelling came up to Rs 4.8 million

NBMCW December 2008

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