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Do green buildings perform

 Mili Majumdar, Senior Advisor,At the recently held IFM Summit organized by Buildotech in Mumbai, Mili Majumdar, Senior Advisor, Sustainable Habitat Division at TERI (The Energy and Resources Institute) explained the key challenges facing facility management when it comes to sustainable building operations and maintenance.

Globally the buildings account for 40% energy use, water consumption and solid waste, 42% for GHG emissions and 50% for raw material use, air pollution and water contamination. Moreover, the customer experience is based on getting consistent and timely performance, agility and accuracy & reliability and resilience of infrastructure & services, all at competitive pricing. All these factors and the current emphasis of businesses on sustainability and efficiency have put a lot of pressure on the performance of facility management providers.

The Jharokhas, narrow lanes and use of Jaali are the bioclimatic responses to the dry and hot climate of RajasthanEnergy Consumption remains the highest cost factor
Total energy use in buildings is growing rapidly owing to economic development, increasing urbanization and improved lifestyles, predominantly due to increased space conditioning load. In addition, the architecture today does not reflect the climate responsiveness. So, how can progressive designing help in achieving better performance at optimal costs?

Passive design of building: There is a lot of scope in architectural designing to provide energy efficiency through daylight orientation, climate responsive features, shading devices, sustainable site planning, use of low energy and environment- friendly materials, renewable energy systems and several other aspects.

Use of Efficient Systems: Similarly, lighting and HVAC design and electrical planning are an important component especially, in the service sector where thermal loads are very high and there is a potential to save power loads in laundry hot water requirement, boilers and kitchens operation and planning.

Use of Renewable Energy: Architects and designers can play an important role in promoting energy-efficiency and cost optimization by first reducing buildings energy demands through competent designs and then replacing or the  fossil fuel source entirely or partly with renewable sources of energy like solar power.

Green Buildings

Green buildings are environmentally responsible through their life cycle- design, construction, operation & after deconstruction. Energy efficiency, though a significant component/ aspect of any green building, is not the only determining factor of a green building. Of late there has been much hue and cry about energy performance of green buildings that are rated.

Rating systems like ECBC, LEED and GRIHA prevalent in India are tools to facilitate design, construction & operation of a building and in turn, measure “greenness” of that building. The foundational principle of a green building should be

  • Rating based on measured performance
  • What gets measured gets managed

Measuring the Performance

Energy performance index (EPI) is the total energy consumed in a building over a year divided by total built up area in kWh/sqm/year and is considered as the simplest and most relevant indicator for qualifying a building as energy efficient or not. It forms one of the many indicators in the holistic definition of green buildings. Patterns of energy consumption vary as per building function and usage. In our audit, buildings like 5-star hotels have energy consumption as high as 500-600units/ sqm annually. In a standard office building operating five days a week, the energy consumed is 200units/sqm in a year. The same building if constructed as Green building can achieve 30-40% energy savings. Likewise, retrofit in an existing building can yield upto 20% energy savings.

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