Innovations in Green
Globally, buildings are responsible for one-third
of greenhouse gas emissions. Why are buildings
such large contributors to greenhouse gas
emissions? One, buildings typically rely on
conventional energy sources for their power. And
two, most buildings don’t use energy efficiently.
Because buildings are such a big part of the problem,
they’re an equally big part of the solution. To create
greener buildings, we need to improve energy and
water efficiency, reduce waste and pollution,
transition to renewable energy sources, and use
sustainable buildings materials. These strategies can
reduce energy consumption in buildings by 30-80 per cent.
So what’s holding us back from constructing green buildings and retrofitting existing
buildings? Some of the main impediments to green buildings are town and city
ordinances that make green construction difficult. In some cities, for example,
consumers must go through a cumbersome permitting process in order to install
solar panels on their homes. By rethinking city ordinances, we can remove the
bureaucratic obstacles to green building and encourage, rather than discourage,
Rigid and out-dated building codes are also impeding progress. By updating codes
to consider the entire structure’s performance, cities can reward buildings that do
exceptionally well in areas like energy and water efficiency, and then give them
more flexibility to manoeuvre within the broader outlines of municipal zoning and
Finally, financing hurdles often stand between consumers and more energy efficient
buildings. In order to really grow the green building market, incentives for
designers, contractors, and individuals must be available. Already, rewards exist for
adopting sustainable building plans. These include expedited permitting, tax credits,
fee reductions or waivers, grants, and even technical and marketing assistance.
Rewarding developers and homeowners who choose to build green is an effective
way to encourage the adoption of best practices in design, construction and
There are many benefits of green buildings and green development. To name a few:
Enhance and protect biodiversity and ecosystems
Improve air and water quality
Reduce waste streams
Conserve and restore natural resources
Reduce operating costs
Improve occupant productivity
Enhance asset value and profits
Optimize life-cycle economic performance
Enhance occupant health and comfort
Improve indoor air quality
Minimize strain on local utility infrastructure
Improve overall quality of life
Here are a few examples of building innovations, used to bring down the energy
University of Petroleum and Energy Studies, Dehradun: Net Zero Waste
The campus has ‘Net Zero Waste Generation’. A planned and extremely methodical
waste management system is key to this tag. The sewage treatment plan installed
in the campus is based on the activated sludge process. All the waste water
generated in the campus is channelized to this sewage treatment plant (STP). The
campus also has a bio-digester, which disintegrates all the organic waste
generated. The bio-digester generates slurry from the organic waste while the STP
releases treated water and slurry. The water is of tertiary standards and is used for
irrigation. The slurry released from both sources is dried and used as manure. The
excessive bio-fertiliser is packed and sold in the market.
42.73% reduction in energy consumption and 33.16% reduction in water
consumption as compared to the GRIHA benchmarks have been observed by the
GRIHA auditors, due to the sustainable building design practices that have been
incorporated in the building. This project has achieved a 4-star GRIHA rating.
Govardhan Eco Village: Soil Biotechnology Design
A green sewage management technology called Soil Biotechnology has been used
to, which helps in recovering about 95% of the sewage water and reusing it for
It is an attempt towards water conservation and preventing water pollution. This
system consists of an impervious containment and incorporates soil formulated
granular filter media, select culture of macro organisms such as earthworms and
plants. Combined grey and black water from the cottages is collected and
transported via underground sewage network to a central location.
The process by design integrates with the natural bio-geochemical cycles of nature.
Purification takes place by absorption, filtration and biological reaction. The process
operates in aerobic mode, thus eliminating the possibility of foul odour.
The processed water can be reused for gardening, agriculture and supporting
This project has achieved a 5-star GRIHA rating.
Suzlon- One Earth: Renewable Energy Design
Suzlon One Earth is a 100% renewable energy campus with both on- and off-site
renewable energy, that includes solar and wind. Out of this, 7% of the total energy
consumption comes from 18 on-site hybrid wind turbines, solar panels and
photovoltaic cells and 93% of the remaining is from off-site wind turbines. This
building has 154.83kW renewable energy incorporated.
100% of the outdoor lighting and the communication server are run on renewable
The orientations of the blocks are such that the majority of building facades face
North, South, North-west and South-East. This enables adequate day lighting and
glare control. Glazing on the first and second floors has been shaded from direct
solar radiation using louvers. High efficiency mechanical systems integrated with
the efficient building envelope ensure that the energy consumption of the building
is reduced significantly.
This is a ‘Net Zero Energy for Lighting’ building. The energy consumption is met
through on-site generation.
The HVAC scheme is designed innovatively combining various energy efficient
components like pre-cooling of fresh air, heat recovery/exchange mechanisms to
minimise overall energy consumption.
Photovoltaic systems, and micro wind turbines are integrated in the design. In
totality, Suzlon One Earth, with its innovative and integrated design solutions has
managed to reduce its energy consumption by 47.2%, below the benchmarked
energy consumption by GRIHA . This project has achieved a 5-star GRIHA rating.
IIT Kanpur: Solar Passive Architecture Design
Incorporation of solar passive techniques in a building design helps to minimise load
on conventional systems such as heating, cooling, ventilation and lighting. The
campus has an air conditioned area of 1912 m2 and a non-air conditioned area of
2328 m2. This campus falls in the composite climatic zone, predominantly requiring
cooling and heating in summer and winter respectively to maintain thermal comfort
for the occupants.
Design of an Earth Air Tunnel using the geothermal property of the earth has been
resulted in a reduction of more than 15% of the building cooling load. Efficient
condenser cooling through a on-site water body and use of thermal energy storage
has increased the efficiency and reliability of the air conditioning system.
Building design and envelope has been optimised through selection of appropriate
wall and roof construction and through adoption of solar passive methods to provide
shading devices for windows and roof, which would reduce energy demand to
condition the spaces.
The high performance glass for windows, while allowing light inside, does not allow
heat and also keeps office cool from inside during the day, decreasing the load on
There is a 47% reduction in energy consumption and 65% reduction in water
consumption as compared to
GRIHA benchmarks. This a 5-star GRIHA rated building.
Indira Paryavaran Bhavan: Net Zero Building Design
This is a Net Zero Building. This means that this is a structure with zero net energy
consumption where the total amount of energy used in the premises on an annual
basis is more or less equal to the amount of renewable energy created on the site.
“Total energy savings of about 40% has been achieved by adoption of energy
efficient ‘chilled beam’ system of air conditioning. This is an innovative air
conditioning system, where air conditioning is done by convection currents rather
than air flow through diffusers and chilled water is circulated right up to the diffuser
points unlike the conventional systems”, said an official statement.
Effective ventilation has been achieved by orientating the building in an East-West
direction, separating different blocks with connecting corridors and having a large
central court yard. The design is such that 75% of natural daylight is utilised to
reduce energy consumption. With an installed capacity of 930 KW peak power, the
building has the largest roof top solar system among multi storied buildings in India.
Green materials have been used like fly ash bricks, regional building materials,
materials with high recycled content, high reflectance terrace tiles and rock wool
insulation of outer walls.
Reduction in water consumption has been achieved by use of low discharge water
fixtures, recycling of waste water through sewage treatment plant, use of plants
with low water demand in landscaping, use of geothermal cooling for HVAC system,
rain water harvesting and use of curing compounds during construction.
Because of the changes in the building design, a 67.3% reduction in energy
consumption as compared to GRIHA benchmarks has been achieved. This is a 5-star
GRIHA rated building.
HAREDA: Solar Passive Design
The building is one of its kind in the country in having energy autonomy by
incorporating the latest and futuristic energy efficient concepts. This building is
constructed based on solar passive design techniques, having building integrated
photovoltaic (BIPV) system of 42.5kW capacity. Also this building also makes use of
solar chimneys. A solar chimney is a way of improving the natural ventilation of a
building by using convection of air heated by passive solar energy.
Misting is done in the courtyard to cool the ambient air, which is circulated into the
building through solar chimneys. The achieved internal air relative humidity ranges
from 60-75 per cent.
Evaporative cooling, cavity walls, fly ash based bricks, etc., have been incorporated.
Incorporation of these features has resulted in achieving an internal temperature of
about 20 degree Celsius without air conditioning. There has been 61% energy
consumption reduction as compared to the GRIHA benchmark. The estimated
energy consumption was to be about 30kWhr/m2/year in comparison to the
consumption of about 200 kWhr/m2/year for the existing air conditioned buildings.
This is a 5-star GRIHA rated project.
Infosys, Pocharam: Radiant Cooling Design
Infosys, Pocharam is the first commercial radiant cooled building in India. This
building has proved that radiant cooling is more efficient than the conventional air
conditioning system. In a conventional air conditioning system, air circulates in the
room or premises to the cool surroundings. But when compared to air, water is more
efficient in carrying energy that the same volume of air can carry. This property of
water is used to achieve maximum advantage in a radiant cooling system.
Cold water flows through pipes embedded in the slab and cools the entire slab and
as a result the entire slab surface is maintained at about 20 degrees Celsius.
Cooling inside the office space is achieved when the cold slab absorbs the heat
(radiation) generated by people, computers, lighting and other equipment which are
exposed to the slab.