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Designing A Sustainable Factory

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Nutech Packaging is one of the top printing service providers in India and SE Asia. As part of its expansion plans, it is building a larger printing plant in Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh to further increase its range of printed products. Sustainability consulting firm dbHMS used VE (Virtual Environment) software by IES (Integrated Environmental Solutions) to carry out detailed daylighting studies and energy modelling to make Nutech one of India’s most sustainable factories.

The proposed new factory, designed by Satya Architects, is built over three floors – 5800m2 basement storage, 3800m2 ground floor factory and 670m2 of first floor offices. The factory work area is planned to be on the ground floor with storage in the basement. Nutech Packaging wanted its new printing facility to achieve the Indian Green Building Council’s Green Factory rating by addressing sustainability and improving the quality of the working environment. In addition, the company also wanted the scheme to achieve a Platinum rating under LEED® India.

The Approach

The consultant’s from dbHMS modelled the various proposed design options using IES VE Pro software to establish the optimum, low energy construction solution. A building form was then selected to enable the building achieve its energy targets. Sameer Divekar, Director of dbHMS says, “We modelled the fabric thermal performance for the proposed new factory using IES software including ModelIT, the single central 3D data model which provides geometry and data shared by all tools and ApacheSim, the dynamic thermal simulation software. The aim of the modelling was to establish which form of construction of the factory envelope was most effective in limiting the heat gains in the ground floor factory and the first floor offices. The offices are occupied from 9am to 6pm, while the factory operates around the clock.”

“One particular challenge for this project was the absence of precise weather and climate data for the Greater Noida area of Uttar Pradesh. To compensate for this, we had to generate appropriate climate data by adapting records from similar climate locations to ensure thermal modelling was accurate.”

– Sameer Divekar

The starting point for the modelling was the construction method and materials defined in the scheme’s bill-of-quantities. These comprised a 230mm thick external brick wall, with 20% vertical glazing using 5mm clear glass; the factory building is capped with a 150mm thick, waterproofed reinforced concrete roof. The consultant then modelled the thermal performance of the external wall for alternative construction materials including fly ash blocks, autoclaved aerated concrete blocks and bricks with and without insulation. The reinforced concrete roof was also modelled for various thicknesses of insulation, while glazing options included 8mm thick coated glass, double glazed, double glazed low E and double glazed gas-filled glazing.

In addition to modelling heat gains, dbHMS also carried out daylight studies. IES’s Daysim was used to establish the most effective glazed area to deliver the required lux level inside the building, to minimise the need for artificial light without increasing heat gains. The starting point for this study was a 20% area of glazing on the ground and first floors with a limited number of linear windows at high level in the basement.

The daylight studies were then repeated with 40% and 60% areas of glazing on ground and first floors and with the addition of skylights to the ground floor factory. According to Divekar, to help daylight penetrate deep into the offices and factory they also modelled the building with the addition of light shelves and skylights. Assessments were made of shading possibilities to keep direct sunlight out of the building and effectiveness of various external shading devices like, adding vertical fins and light shelves, fitting tilted vertical fins to the windows, angling the windows to face north and the addition of brise soleil. Finally, three natural ventilation options were modelled using IES VE MacroFlo to assess natural ventilation performance at a macro level with the windows 100% open, 50% closed and fully closed.

The Results

Having modelled all the proposed construction options in Vista for each construction element (wall, roof and glass), dbHMS was able to provide an accurate comparison of the effectiveness of each material in helping limit heat gains inside the offices and factory. The final, most effective construction solution was based on using autoclaved aircrete block walls, high performance single glazed windows and 150mm reinforced concrete slab roof with 50mm insulation.

In addition, modelling showed that a glazed area of 40% was the most effective daylight option, when combined with skylights over the workshops, to achieve the required lux levels in the office and factory spaces. For shading, the option of angling the windows to face north (as it cut out summer sun and allows winter sun into the spaces) was recommended.The ventilation modelling showed that the partially openable window solution gave the best performance having modelled the window opening options on a month-by-month basis.

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