01 June 2020

Interview - Sudhir Bhalerao (Voltas)

We have been a long standing partner to the energy efficiency cause



Founded in 1954, Voltas Limited offers engineering solutions for a wide spectrum of industries in areas such as heating, ventilation and air conditioning, refrigeration, mining and construction equipment, water management and treatment, cold chain solutions, building management systems, and indoor air quality. The company in keeping with global concerns has been at the forefront of harnessing ‘sustainable’ world-class engineering solutions and technologies which are seen in several 'Green' buildings. Sudhir Bhalerao, General Manager – Manufacturing, Domestic Projects Business Group, Voltas offered CONSTRUCTION OPPORTUNITIES a peek into the contribution of his organisation in the green building sphere.




On Green building and sustainability initiatives: Voltas recognises the need to focus on providing energy-efficient and sustainable products and solutions to its customers, and has been a longstanding partner to this cause as founder members of the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC). HVAC systems consume around 60-65 per cent of the overall energy consumption of a typical office building, and Voltas is well-placed to address the resultant growing need for energy efficiency and sustainability, being a pioneer in the HVAC field. Voltas recently created a dedicated cell to work on 'Green' building projects, especially those involving existing buildings. With IGBC's recent introduction of the Green Existing Buildings Rating, we foresee more and more projects targeting this certification. In fact only around 2 per cent of construction projects are new construction, and hence Voltas DPG feels that the remaining 98 per cent require more focus and attention if we are to achieve the much-needed overall reductions in energy and water consumption. 




On the benefits accruing from use of Voltas products and services: Voltas has provided equipment and services to major green building certified projects including Rajiv Gandhi International Airport, Godrej Waterside IT Park, Fortis Hospital, TSI Waverock, Thyagaraja Stadium, TCS Siruseri and more. Their HVAC systems incorporate various energy efficiency concepts like airside economisers, enthalpy recovery wheels, variable speed pumping system, and variable air volume distribution among others. In fact Voltas is also supplying equipment and services for the country's first net-zero-energy building, namely Paryawaran Bhavan in New Delhi. Recognising the need for more energy-efficient products, Voltas has introduced high energy efficiency chillers which meet or even exceed the COP requirements of Energy Conservation Building Code (ECBC).  These chillers also designed to run with eco-friendly HCFC refrigerant gas.

In Water Management, Voltas offers sewage treatment plants to recycle the water used in commercial buildings; the treated water is thus reused for HVAC system makeup, toilet flushing and site irrigation purposes, thereby reducing the need of potable water usage in commercial buildings. Buildings consume around 33 per cent of the total electricity consumption of the country, out of which almost 25 per cent is accounted for by residential buildings. With more and more residences becoming able to afford room air conditioners, our Unitary Products group has come out with a wide range of Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) Star-Rated ACs to meet the growing demand for room ACs which are energy-efficient as well.  




On material and solutions that go into the making of 'green' building projects: A large part of the energy savings achieved in green buildings is due to not just installation of energy-efficient products, but also the incorporation of energy-saving features or design concepts into the central HVAC system. Voltas DPG carries out its own manufacture of many such products like chillers, Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) units, co-generation Vapour Absorption Chillers (which use the waste heat available from the exhaust flue gases of oil engines/DG sets to produce chilled water), packaged AC units running on eco-friendly HCFC refrigerant gases etc. As regards the eco-friendly design features, Voltas builds upon the concepts of the HVAC consultants, and in some cases also carries out the design from the initial stage.  Voltas uses updated technology like hourly cooling load calculations software, and Building Information Modeling (BIM) to achieve faster and more accurate results. With a large base of customer care personnel and a pan-India branch presence, Voltas intends to provide energy audits and retro-commissioning services to its existing customer base, to help them achieve energy savings in their existing facilities.

Studies have shown that retro-commissioning of buildings typically identify energy saving measures of a no-cost or low-cost nature which can result in around 40 per cent reduction of a building's existing energy consumption levels. 




On  his company’s plan to meet the needs of the Indian market: As stated earlier, Voltas recently initiated the creation of a dedicated cell to work on 'Green' building projects especially in the Existing Building category. It already has a few LEED/IGBC Accredited professionals on its rolls, and is striving to provide a comprehensive package of design, installation and facilitation services to its customers.

As more and more states are adapting to the ECBC Code, we will soon see a splurge in demand by customers wishing to reduce their energy consumption. Voltas is making every effort to be ready to respond adequately to the needs of this emerging market.


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