It may sound futuristic to have a building providing a healthy and comfortable indoor environment which is consuming about 60% less energy and the remaining 40% is fully powered by solar energy. The water efficient fixtures in the toilet use 40% less water.
The Zero Energy Space brought this concept to reality and showcases a building which even runs the air-conditioning system fully on solar power. The green building movement in India has shown tremendous growth in the last 5 years and already more than 100 buildings have been certified under the LEED India Rating system. The green building footprint is about 442 million square feet (source Indian Green Building Council, www.igbc.in).
A green building is defined as a building which uses less energy, less water and resources and provides a healthier indoor environment as compared to a conventional construction. The energy savings and reduced maintenance makes the Green Building design and construction suitable for any type of project. The Developers & Builders community can also take advantage of the Green Building concepts since certified projects fetch a premium value in the market, whether the space is sold or leased. The Zero Energy Space shows the future technologies of buildings and opens up the possibilities of energy-efficiency and energy generation on site.
The Zero Energy Space shows the latest green building technologies on 360 sqft in action and invites all stakeholders in the construction industry to experience the new level of building green. The building is transported in one piece and will start its journey from Chennai to Mumbai and New Delhi to be featured at construction related exhibitions in the country.
The concept of the Zero Energy Space was developed by a young lady from Austria. Isabelle is managing the operations of Inspired to be Green, a leading publication on Green Buildings & sustainability, and is actively involved in the green building industry. “I am fascinated of the potential of Zero Energy Buildings. Worldwide buildings consume around 30% to 40% of the total energy produced (as stated by UNEP). We are showing that every single building out there has the possibility to be energy efficient and generate all its power needs on its own, that implies that it is possible to reduce the word’s energy consumption by 30% to 40%. This is a solution for climate change, power shortage and clean energy generation at the same time.”
The success of the Zero Energy Space lies in the combination of the most advanced building technologies available. It has taken a period of 5 month to find and select the best materials and systems available, the actual construction took only 2 weeks. Walls and Roofs are made with a strong, lightweight and modern technology using Everest Fiber Cement Boards and EPS and XPS insulation from Beardsell and Supreme Petrochem. The whole building is well insulated and by using advanced building technologies from all over the world the energy needs could be brought down even more by using Aluplast Windows (double glazed UPVC windows) from Germany.
Breezair has installed one of the most efficient air cooling units from Australia. Panasonic air conditioning brought their latest technologies from Japan. The whole solar system was designed from Team Sustain using GETwatt panels from Korea and an Outback Inverter technology from USA. Roca contributed water-saving toilet fixtures and Surabhi Bamboo installed engineered bamboo from USA. Low VOC paints from Nippon Paints complete the product list. The Zero Energy Space is a great example of “Integrated & Holistic Approach” between all the members of design & construction team.
Architect Dhruv Futnani brought in his international experience and describes the whole system step by step: “A majority of the energy used in the building is for air conditioning and lighting. To reduce the AC load, first you have to prevent the heat entering your building through the building “skin”. Solar reflective paints which can reduce the surface temperature by up to 5 degree Celsius have been applied on exterior walls and roof. Construction with fiber cement boards and 2 inch insulation panels reduce the heat conduction further. The UPVC framed windows which are double and triple glazed units with solar reflective properties also play a major role in the system. The cooling load is reduced drastically and the air conditioning system can work even more efficiently. To create a healthy environment we have applied only LOW VOC paints and using a 100% fresh air cooling unit. Lighting of the building is done with help of the latest LED technology.
In this project, we are using only a little more than one regular light bulb to light up the entire space (78 W to light 360 sqft) and a 1 ton air conditioner for 350 square feet (typically you require 1 ton for every 100 square feet). Power requirements are taken care of by the photovoltaic system installed on the rooftop and all generated power is saved in a battery bank, to provide over 6 hours of back up energy. The building has no connection to the electricity grid and is full self sustaining. The bathroom is using all water saving fixtures to save our scarce resources of fresh water.”
The Zero Energy Space is a fully functional prototype, and this concept can be adapted and applied for an IT building, or a residence or even a school. It is possible that we build self sustaining structures and reap the benefits of energy savings and high comfort at the same time. The target behind the Zero Energy Space initiative is to educate people about the intelligent use of technology and give them the experience and feel of such a building. Green Buildings help to save the environment, save you money and have a positive impact on your health. Now that’s a win-win situation for everyone.
Inspired to be GREEN