Sunday, November 19, 2017

Greenitiatives

Go Green-Green Buildings

 

We hear the word “Green” more often that not being associated with buildings. People may not take it to seriously today, but eventually we will have to follow the Green Practice as with the steady depletion of natural resources available to us, we will be left with no choice on Earth to say the least! Shruti Choudhari elaborates.

 

What do you think constitutes a Green building?

A building is green when it helps reduce the footprint it leaves on the natural environment and on the health of its inhabitants. An ideal green building would be a building project that would allow you to preserve most of the natural environment around the project site, while still being able to produce a building that is going to serve a purpose.The construction and operation will promote a healthy environment for all involved, and it will not disrupt the land, water, resources and energy in and around the building. This is the ideal definition of a green building.

Using a more process-centric definition, a green building can be defined as one which uses less water, generates less waste, optimises energy, conserves our natural resources, and in return provides healthy living spaces for the occupant though its life cycle. This process involves inputs at planning, design, structure, construction, and operation and maintenance stages that involve the application of processes that are environmentally responsible and resource efficient throughout the buildings life cycle.

The awareness of the health of the environment, the effect of construction and building processes on the same, and efficiency of the building itself, have resulted in a mass movement especially in the metros, towards a more sustainable “Green” environment provided by “Green” Buildings.

The last several years, green building construction has seen a dramatic increase in India. India has the second largest green footprint at 3.59 billion square feet. Green buildings are projected to grow 20 per cent in the country by 2018, estimated to be at 10 billion square feet by 2022.

Leading drivers of this growth are client demand, environmental regulation, and an enhanced awareness of the occupant and tenant benefits of green buildings. Energy shortage in the country has further pushed developers to opt for “Green” options. Buildings worldwide consume 30 per cent of the planets energy and 40 per cent of its resources, in return generating 40 per cent of waste and emitting 35 per cent of Green House Gases (GHG).

Green Buildings have special focus on 5 keys areas:

Energy, Water, Material, Indoor Air Quality, and Landscaping.

 

The Objectives of a Green Building are:

  • Getting People Closer: Proximity to social infrastructure to reduce independent transport.
  • Water Conservation: Minimise wastage of water and improve efficiency of water management.
  • Minimise waste, maximize Reuse: Use of environmentally friendly materials for construction, generating less waste. Reusing materials and waste materials judiciously wherever possible in the building lifecycle.
  • Promote well being of the occupants: Maximising natural light, good ventilation and getting the greenery in. Good acoustics and sound insulation that enhance the experience of the end user.
  • Keeping landscape green: Using Natural vegetation to advantage. Use environmental friendly pavers that regenerate ground water and hardscape like the ones manufactured by Cobblestone in India.
  • Creating Resilient and Flexible Structure: Flexible spaces with seismic compliances.
  • Energy Conservation: Design is centered around minimising energy use and low carbon footprint.

In most mid to large scale construction companies today most of the green practices are practiced akin to Standard Operating Procedures from design to planning stage with a full envelope covering Health, Safety, and Environment. From the procurement of materials (which has to be within a specific radius of the project site) to the disposal of materials, and waste recycling. Identification of environmental friendly construction and shuttering systems, as well as non-hazardous materials, finishes, and paint.

Most of the IT parks, IT office and MNCs are opting for the “green” buildings. And most of their projects that are being constructed are LEED Silver, Gold, or Platinum rated.

Hines One Horizon Centre (Gurgaon), Bharti Realty Worldmark (Aerocity), Embassy Tech Village (Bangalore), and Hero Factories, are some of the recently completed LEED Gold and Platinum certified constructions executed by our company B.L Kashyap & Sons.

 

Any Green Building first and foremost has “sustainability” kept as the main focus. How does one maintain it?

Sustainability can be achieved keeping in mind the following:

Energy:

  • Dual Pane high performance glass cuts heat and noise while allowing natural light.
  • Use of CFLs.
  • Chillers with VFDs (Variable Frequency Drives) optimise chilled water flow and minimise operation costs.
  • Energy efficient lighting systems with emphasis on natural daylighting by bringing sunlight deeper into the building through design innovation.
  • Correct building orientation keeping sunlight and wind factors in mind.
  • VAV system of air-conditioning to optimise air flow and decrease operating costs.
  • Sensors for operating and managing VAV/HVAC.
  • Natural gas based power source to fulfill energy demand.
  • All of the above can result up to 14 per cent reduction in energy demand as compared to a standard building.

 

Water:

  • Extensive storm water management.
  • Onsite sewage treatment plant.
  • Rain water harvesting and water recycling.
  • Low flow fixtures and automatic sensors.
  • Cobble stones and pavers can be used in landscape that promote the natural water cycle.

 

Indoor Air Quality:

  • CO2 sensors to enable good levels of fresh air within building.
  • CO2 sensors in the basement to maintain good air quality.
  • External AHUs with UV filtration that prevent harmful microbes to enter the air conditioning systems.
  • Low toxin emitting materials for interior finishes.

 

Materials:

  • Procurement of locally available environmentally friendly materials for construction.
  • Use of non-hazardous paints, water proofing compounds, sealants, etc.
  • Use of composite wood products.
  • Use of oncrete interlock pavers (manufactured by COBBLESTONE, India) have joints filled with tiny stones. Water seeps in through these joints, through the open graded gravel base, and into the earth. The joints make these pavers 100 per cent permeable, which promotes the natural water cycle, thereby making them environmental friendly.
  • Recycling of sheeting systems.

 

Landscape:

  • Using materials in hardscape and landscape that promote natural water cycle.
  • Green Roofs covered with vegetation planted over water proofing membrane, create artificially altered surfaces by high thermal reflectance and high thermal emitting.
  • Over 30 per cent of soil cover needs to be retained.
  • Minimised surface heat reduction.
  • All landscape maintained through recycled water.
  • Water sensitive plant groups are to be used.
  • Organic waste composte is used for landscaping.

During construction, the contractor needs to make sure that the topsoil being removed is kept to be reused for landscaping and the sedimentation pit has to be provided to avoid soil erosion in excavated areas.

Other upcoming Green construction practices/technologies that promote green building and support it with their innovative uses are:

  • Glass fiber reinforced gypsum (GFRG) panel building systems.
  • Monolithic concrete construction system using aluminum formwork.
  • Solar air conditioning.
  • Chilled beams.
  • High performance envelope (cavity walls that have two skins of brick with a hollow space between or double glass).
  • Wind hybrid solar system.

The initial construction of the Green building is 2-12 per cent higher than conventional systems. However the benefits like reduced energy conservation, waste generation, carbon emission etc. bring the operating costs down by 30 per cent.

Green is the future and Sustainability will be the process that will drive the Green quotient in buildings. There will be no escaping this if we want to conserve what is left of the environment around us. This will become like a default setting for all construction, design, and building practices.

Like Architect Robert Stern, Dean, Yale School of Architecture, noted, "In ten years we are not going to talk about green buildings and sustainability anymore, because it is going to be built into the core processes of architecture."

With its growth in the architecture industry, claiming a building is sustainable will eventually be like an architect getting up in front of an audience to "proudly proclaim how his buildings did not fall down."

The author of this article is Shruti Choudhari, Senior Vice President, B.L Kashyap & Sons Ltd.




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