Blog by Sree Karmik

What does a green building mean?

The major deciding factor to energy efficient buildings is their Air conditioning usage. The solution rather lies in the design of a project.

The two interlinked factors that lead to the high-energy use are increased amount of air conditioning, and the high penetration of heat from outside environment, which ultimately leads to a demand for more air conditioning. The factors signal a matter of concern on how to construct and design our building to lessen the external heat intrusion.

Green building Certification for Commercial projects

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For a commercial building to be certified “Green”, the façade or external should be a suitable thermal insulator as per Indian code for Green buildings. It works as a climate control that does prevents the entry of heat. But sadly in medium/small scale, building envelopes have been largely ignored. Burnt clay bricks are an excellent thermal insulator, however owing to its depleting availability and poor production capacity and standards they are not the solution. Newer lightweight blocks like foam/air entrained concrete blocks have replaced the age old bricks. These blocks tend to have a superior thermal insulation, and weigh 30% lesser. Using lighter blocks lead to reduced structural requirements, resulting in reduction in overall cost of projects and reduction in carbon footprint.

It is estimated that over the next few decades the building sector will witness an exceptional growth in terms of technology. Currently, new commercial buildings consume over 200 kwh/sqm annually, but the most energy efficient buildings consume less than 100 kwh/sqm in a year. Therefore, there is a large possibility of introducing energy efficiency design criteria especially for commercial buildings. We need to realise the crucial fact and understand the usage of energy efficient building before it is too late.

Taking into design criteria is the best way to minimise energy usage in residential buildings. By prompt conventions, the energy efficiency can be brought into practice into any building by replacing conventional equipment, materials and construction practices with energy efficient variants.

Rainwater harvesting

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Rainwater management is a key factor in any habitat. Once the rainwater within the community is utilised, managing storms and floods would turn out much simpler. Two-stage rainwater harvesting system where water is first stored and upon overflow, it redirected to replenish ground water. The latter is further ensured by engineered subsoil drainage systems.

Maintenance free waste water treatment and groundwater replenishing system

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Though metropolitan cities have well designed drainage system, occasional clogging in the drainage may cause sewer up run into the bathroom and shall also affect drainage down take. To deal with such conditions, it is essential to build an in-house water treatment unit, where the grey and black water soak pit and sediments settle and the overflowing water drains into the percolation tank. Through this tank the treated water replenishes ground water. Further the water reaches the water table after passing through layers of sand and silt that filters the water and replenishes the water with minerals, making them potable.

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