How ‘Green’ Is My Building?

As the adverse impact of global warming is increasingly becoming apparent across the world , there has been a sharp increase in the consciousness to save planet earth. In the realm of construction, a ‘Green Building’ is the epitome of sustainability, and the result of a holistic approach to design and construction. Structures earn the right to be termed ‘Green Buildings’ by scoring high on parameters, such as Thermal Comfort Evaluation, Benchmar king Comfort Requirements and Use of Energy, Performance Investigation in Built Spaces, Quality Improvement and Commitment to Green Excellence.

As one of the foremost builders of sustainable urban infrastructure, Larsen & Toubro have to their credit, several structures that have been Platinum and Gold rated by the Indian Green Building Congress, reflecting an awareness, proficiency and innovation in sustainable design and construction. This awareness is environmentally responsible, financially viable and technologically sound. The L&T-built cricket stadium at Motera, Ahmedabad in Gujarat, also the world’s largest, has recently been Gold-rated like campuses built for several IT majors. The latest addition to this illustrious list is the Ford Global Technology & Business Centre that has been awarded a Platinum Rating for its outstanding ‘green’ features.

The Ford Global Technology & Business Centre – A Benchmark Construction

Designed as a sustainable office space with a view of the verdant Pallikaranai bird sanctuary, this 28-acre development in Chennai, India, sits in a 2.6 million square feet green campus designed for a total population of 11,500 replete with world class amenities like a gymnasium, creche, medical centre and pharmacy, convenience stores, facilities of indoor and outdoor games, and an open-air auditorium. The 26-lakh sq. ft. built up area houses office buildings, canteens, dining areas, training, research, and product development facilities. A rooftop penthouse overlooks the central landscape area, which is designed as a congregation and car display space for product launches. The lush green landscape spreads on the podium, covering 2 level basements beneath with parking facilities for around 2,000 vehicles and 4,000 two-wheelers.

The Ford Centre won a Platinum Rating after being benchmarked across a range of parameters, including Sustainable Architectural Design, Site Selection and Planning, Water Conservation, Energy Efficiency, Building Material and Resources, Indoor Environmental Quality, and Innovation and Development. The result has been a Platinum Rating.


A Green Structure That Merits A Platinum Rating!

Sustainable Architectural Design: : Built with green principles at the centre of its masterplan, the buildings are oriented to the sun path, to utilize maximum benefits of sunlight for the comfort of those working inside. In fact, more than 50% of the regularly occupied space achieves required daylight illuminance levels. The buildings are flood, storm, and wind resilient. The façade is energy efficient with doubleglazed high performance glass and unique, honeycomb aluminium composite panels that consist of two cover sheets and a honeycomb core of aluminium that make them flat, light weight, fire resistant, stiff, and therefore, sustainable. The interiors combine a utilitarian design with worn textures and warmth of raw materials in their purest form. The design is also physically challenged friendly.

Water Conservation: Several technologies have been used to harvest rainwater, and recycle and reuse grey water. Low flow fix tures include sensor-based urinals, reduced waste water, lower yield sewage volumes and reduced energy use that accrue financial benefits. The zero-discharge campus has an impressive 5,000 KLD rainwater harvesting sump to capture storm water and water efficient fixtures, which reduce potable water consumption by 30% in comparison to conventional fixtures. The sewage treatment plant installed at the campus treats wastewater for flushing, landscape irrigation and cooling tower makeup. In addition, the condensate water from the AHUs is recovered to meet the requirements of the cooling tower makeup. Every ounce of water source available like cooling tower blowdown, RO rejects from drinking water, are carefully harvested, treated, and reused to offset the building’s potable water demand; thus committing to the concept of Zero Liquid Discharge. The latest efficient irrigation systems like soil moisture censors, drip irrigation, time-based controllers and central shut off valves also help conserve water to a large extent. A sophisticated metering system monitors the entire water system for efficiency and quality.

Energy Efficiency: Energy efficient glass and the building’s envelope design provide adequate thermal insulation. The lighting for the entire campus has been designed with efficient LED lights, VFD driven chillers with IBMS Controls that are extremely energy efficient. In addition, the project is equipped with compact substations, hybrid power factor correction panels, modular UPS, hybrid air-conditioning systems, a heat recovery system, energy efficient motors that enhance the energy efficiency quotient of the facility. Efficiency cannot be improved without proper monitoring; hence, Energy Metres with a BMS system constantly monitor and control various energy consuming systems. 450 kW Solar Panels and 3000 LPD Solar Hot Water Systems optimize the projects dependency on grid power while daylighting and occupancy sensors significantly reduce the lighting load. The motors and pumps used are extremely energy efficient too.

Building Material and Resources: Adding to the ‘green’ in the building are materials used like non-toxic GreenPro certified materials and furnishings, recycled-content or salvaged materials, FSI certified wood and other materials from renewable sources. A waste convertor efficiently converts the organic waste generated into manure. To boost the local economy, over 50% of the construction materials were sourced from places within 400 km from the site that reduced carbon emission due to less travel too. Multi-coloured garbage bins on all floors are for segregated wastes that are stored in bin centres until disposal.

Indoor Environmental Quality: The use of non-toxic materials, combined with natural ventilation and effective air filtration have vastly improved indoor air quality; they control indoor moisture levels, and protect occupants from mould, chemicals, combustion by-products and other indoor pollutants. More than 70% of the regularly occupied areas are designed with adequate natural lighting. CO2 sensors, installed in the return air duct, modulate the fresh air quantity as per the indoor CO2 levels. A designated smoking zone is located outdoor to prevent tobacco smoke from mixing with indoor air. High efficiency filters like the MERV 13 filter the particulate matter and contaminants from the ambient air before it circulates in the indoor spaces.

Innovation and Development: LED fixtures light up both indoors and outdoors, ensuring zero usage of mercury based light fixtures, to optimize energy. Eco-friendly housekeeping chemicals reduce the risk of exposure to harmful chemicals. In addition, a robust Green Education Outreach promote green consciousness and educate various stakeholders accessing the buildings including occupants, visitors, students, etc.

Keeping the Environment Green: An integrated design approach adopted from design to commissioning ensure that the surrounding natural environment and related ecosystem are only affected to a limited extent. The level of the site was raised taking into consideration the maximum flood levels and adequate erosion and sedimentation control measures like sedimentation basins, vehicle wheel washing facility, site barricading, water sprinkling, gravel roads for vehicular movement, slope protection strategies have been implemented. The facility also meets the needs of the local community, supports active and healthy lifestyles, provides ecosystem services, and creates a sense of place.

Painting A Green Future

“At L&T, we have always laid strong emphasis to build our green portfolio and implement energy efficient processes to ensure quality while minimizing carbon footprint,” said Mr M V Satish, Whole Time Director and Sr. Executive Vice President – Buildings, L&T, who heads the business vertical that specializes in building urban infrastructure. “We offer optimal green engineering solutions through our s pecialized team f o r evaluating, auditing, LEED applications and for using high-end software. I am excited about the future of this sector. The demand for green buildings and the concept of smarter living open huge opportunities to develop cost-effective, energy-efficient products and systems and, at the same time, drive innovation, cost efficiencies and greater value to our customers. For me, the future is bright; the future is green,” he concludes.

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