India’s first net zero energy building

indira green bldg
The Indira Paryavaran Bhavan, a central government building in New Delhi, has achieved an energy savings of about 40 per cent through the adoption of energy efficient chilled beam system of air-conditioning. Image: Central Public Works Dept

It’s India’s first net zero energy building that has been constructed with adoption of solar passive design and energy-efficient building materials.

Functional since a year, a tour of the Indira Paryavaran Bhavan, a building under the Central Government, was organised by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) and the Association for Development and Research of Sustainable Habitats on Tuesday. It was aimed at reinforcing the need for more such buildings across the country.

Speaking about the energy efficiency of the building, TERI (Sustainable Habitat Division) director Mili Majumdar said: “The Indira Paryavaran Bhavan is one of the first buildings in India to have deployed energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies at a large scale. It is one of the exemplary projects to be rated under Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment [GRIHA] and has set standards that can be emulated by upcoming buildings in the region.”

The design allows for 75 per cent of natural daylight to be utilised to reduce energy consumption

The building boasts an earthquake-resistant structure with a total plinth area of 31,488 sq. m. It covers only 30 per cent of the total area, while more than 50 per cent area outside the building is a soft area with plantation and grass.

The building has a robotic parking system in the basement that can accommodate 330 cars. Thin-client networking system has been provided instead of conventional desktop computers to minimise energy consumption.

“Buildings have an enormous impact on environment, human health and economy. The energy used to heat and power our buildings leads to consumption of large amounts of energy, mainly from burning of fossil fuels, oil, natural gases and coal, which generate significant amounts of carbon dioxide, the most widespread greenhouse gas. The successful adoption of green building strategies can maximise both the economic and environmental performances of buildings,” added Ms. Majumdar.

The building has received GRIHA 5-star (provisional) rating for the following features:

  • The design allows for 75 per cent of natural daylight to be utilised to reduce energy consumption.
  • The entire building has an access friendly design for differently-abled persons.
  • With an installed capacity of 930 kW peak power, the building has the largest rooftop solar system among multi-storied buildings in India.

The building is fully compliant with requirements of the Energy Conservation Building Code of India (ECBC). Total energy savings of about 40 per cent have been achieved through the adoption of energy efficient chilled beam system of air-conditioning. As per this, air-conditioning is done by convection currents rather than airflow through air handling units, and chilled water is circulated right up to the diffuser points unlike the conventional systems.

Green materials like fly ash bricks, regional building materials, materials with high recyclable content, high reflectance terrace tiles and rock wool insulation of outer walls have been used.

Use of renewable bamboo jute composite material for doorframes and shutters.

UPVC windows with hermetically sealed double glass. Calcium Silicate ceiling tiles with high recyclable content and grass paver blocks on pavements and roads.

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, rainwater harvesting and use of curing compounds during construction.

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