Friday, February 10, 2012: 03:54:31 PM



Not only is eco-friendly construction a need of the hour, it is also a dire necessity. Find out what developers are doing to reduce their carbon footprint and build consciously

The construction industry is the second largest sector is India, after agriculture. The investment in construction accounts for nearly eight to nine percent of India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). India has recorded the highest investment in this sector that is driven by the growing number of infrastructure projects and consecutively, a booming real estate sector. Thus, developers have understood the growing importance of high performance buildings as the mantra of new age infrastructure development.

Manufacturers are more than conscious when it comes to minimising the carbon footprint of their projects. Thus, energyefficiency has emerged as a business strategy and is being applied to various sectors. For example, buildings are built in such a way that they not only save power but also increase productivity and improve the quality of life. With the novel concept of Net-Zero Energy Buildings (NZEBs), the construction industry is heading towards new heights.

Optimum Utilisation of Resources
Effective use of resources, proper waste disposal and reducing green house gas emissions are some of the common manufacturing concerns across the India has recorded the highest investment in construction, which is driven by the growing number of infrastructure projects and the booming real estate. globe. Given the repeated exploitation of natural  resources, the planet is now facing adverse global warming, climate change and a host of other problems. Sadly, these problems persist due to the constant dependence on non-renewable resources for generating energy and a severe lack of awareness about sustainable development techniques. However, the situation in the construction industry has undergone a sea change, with renewable resources being replaced by efficient technical systems. Thus, the only way to stop the damage, if not reverse it, is to focus on building with minimum impact on the environment. In this way, energy efficiency in  buildings can make a crucial difference in reducing the construction industry’s carbon footprint.

A zero-energy building—also known as a Net-Zero Energy Building (NZEB) or Net Zero Building—is a popular term to describe a building with zero net energy consumption and zero carbon emissions on an annual basis. Zero energy buildings are independent of the energy grid supply. Energy can be harvested on-site, usually through a combination of energy-producing technologies such as solar and wind power, thus reducing the overall use of energy with extremely efficient HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air-Conditioning) and lighting technologies.

NZEBs require conscious efforts by the design team to cross the barrier of space constraints and install on-site renewable power generation systems to meet the cumulative annual energy demand of the building. Since most Indian cities do not have the capacity for wind power generation, solar power generation remains the only viable option. However, lack of adequate space (either roof or external greens) for mounting solar power panels in a building significantly lowers this capability. The only way to construct an NZEB is to match the annual cumulative power demand with the energy produced by the on-site solar panels. This requires a blend of innovative design solutions, optimisation of design and coordinated team efforts, so that the functionality of the building is not disturbed.

For Green Design
The most cost-effective steps towards reducing a building’s energy consumption usually occur during the design process. Focus of designers on an integrated design approach includes developing a high-performance building, thus making collaboration between owners, architects, engineers, contractors and the operations team important.
A few of these factors include:
􀁘 Site selection
􀁘 Aesthetics
􀁘 Choice of equipment
􀁘 Material selection
􀁘 Construction and Commissioning
􀁘 Long-term operation and maintenance

Green Foot Forward
As construction practices continue to evolve towards higher sustainability goals worldwide, India has the golden opportunity to carve a niche by building responsibly. The nation already has to its credit, several efficient buildings from centuries ago such as forts, palaces and monuments which boast of harnessing natural resources through climate-conscious designs. This knowledge may have been lost with time, particularly after western influences crept into the construction sector of the country. As many developed nations now adopt renewable energy sources, India needs to keep pace with the leaders.

With this goal in mind, the Delhi Chapter of Indian Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air conditioning Engineers (ISHRAE) has scheduled the largest technical conference in India related to HVAC and the building industry to be held in January 2012 called ACRECONF India 2012. The objective of this event is to bring together stakeholders of future energy-conscious buildings under one roof. Eminent speakers sall sare their experience on Net Zero Buildings on a large scale in India. Ashish Rakheja – Chief Operating Officer, Spectral, highlights, “The theme of this year’s conference is ‘Reviving Mother Earth through Better Building Design’. After the success of the previous sessions, ISHRAE has decided to conduct ACRECONF India 2012 on a larger, grander scale.” Societies such as ISHRAE have set a goal to promote Net Zero Energy Buildings and promote energyefficient equipment to achieve this target by the year 2020. Thus, events such as these are one more step towards achieving the goal of an energyefficient India.

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