A building which can function using an optimum amount of energy, consume less water, conserve natural resources, generate less waste and create spaces for healthy and comfortable living, as compared to conventional buildings, is a green building.
Green building design is a practical and climate conscious approach to building design. Various factors, like geographical location, prevailing climatic conditions, use of locally available and low embodied energy materials and design parameters relevant to the type of usage of the building are normally taken into consideration. Such an approach ensures minimum harm to the environment, while constructing and using the building.
It is also believed that green building uses minimum amount of energy as well, but what if the consumption of energy can be brought down to the lowest level? This is possible only when green building implements solar projects. Yes. There are several benefits an end used can enjoy by using solar energy but is it going to be fruitful from business point of view?
Will it make business sense to embrace solar?
“Green buildings can do much more for your business than simply alleviate your environmental concerns, states Himanshu Yadav, Director, Ultimate Sun Systems Pvt Ltd. As per a report published by Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA), the green building with solar rooftop uses around 66 per cent less electricity and 51 per cent less water than the average building.
The Indira Paryavaran Bhavan building in New Delhi is India’s first net zero energy green building, has an installation of 930 kWp. The Paryavaran Bhavan with all its initiatives is eying for a Platinum rating from the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design green building rating system (LEED).
Yadav claims green building with roof top solar installed can have the following savings:
• Resources can be saved by 95 per cent through recycling
• Heating energy can be saved up to 67 per cent
• Electricity can be saved up to 100 per cent
• Water usage can be reduced up to 74 per cent
• Which will ultimately reduce the CO2 emission up to 89 per cent.
He adds, “With these (electricity saving, less CO2 emissions etc) kinds of benefits it makes a big economic sense, where the extra cost which might have incurred for making a green building can be recovered in around 4 years. With these kind of savings building can be both sustainable and profitable. So the green building with solar installed will create a sustainable legacy with an economic sense.”
Ar Prem Nath, Prem Nath and Associates says, “It turns out to be highly beneficial to embrace solar energy in any green building project – while other countries have been nurturing the solar energy since many years now, India has just got on to it and is well promoting it now.”
He observes, “Solar Power is extremely beneficial in numerous ways – the end user enjoys direct benefits of power at a ‘virtual zero cost’, the owner enjoys reasonably good return on investment (ROI)on the initial investments on these systems; as a developer it make a lot of business sense to inculcate all types of solar systems in the project, not only does it give the benefits of power at virtual zero cost, ROI but one can also market the project in a better way to today’s gen-x customers, who truly appreciate long term advantages; and of course, it goes without saying that, apart from the fiscal and material benefits, one contributes to save some natural resources which carries a good humane value in today’s times.”
With the Energy Conservation Building Code (ECBC) 2017 making the use of renewable energy mandatory, green buildings will become the order of the day in New India in years to come, bringing opportunities galore for rooftop installers, estimates Hartek Singh, CMD, Hartek Group.
On the similar line on ECBC Anchuri says, “In India after ECBC implementation which is going to be mandatory for the buildings which are constructed on more than 1,000 sq. mts and 20,000 sq. ft. above built up. Already Telangana and Andhra Pradesh along with other few states started the process of ECBC code implementation and this move surely going to bring sea change not only in built spaces but also in business where solar energy will play lead role in making it good business sense while greening process.”
Today, distributed solar (rooftop) can provide electricity at cheaper prices than grid, making it more economical. The operating cost of solar is miniscule, lower than any other form of electricity, and the life span of a solar photovoltaic (PV) plant is a good 25 years. Therefore, once the capital cost is recovered in three-five years, the benefits of low-cost electricity can be reaped for several years. Installing solar on roofs also helps in reducing transfer of heat from the sun to the building, thus reducing AC load. “We have many building integrated PV solutions available now which make both business and aesthetic sense. Moreover, solar is the cleanest form of energy which not only reduces carbon footprint but also offers the additional advantage of low maintenance costs,” adds Singh.
Ar. Pavitra Sriprakash, Chief Designer and Director, The Global Design Studio, Shilpa Architects Planners Designers Pvt Ltd describes a case study of their studio which is LEED Platinum rated building. She says, “Our Studio’s approach is to create spaces that are responsive to users and enhances its utility or efficiency. There is always a push to try out an alternative and energy-efficient approach in all our work. As a means to increase energy efficiency in the building cooling solution, a hybrid solution of envelope and slab cooling, both powered by renewable solar power, has been used in our office. The envelope cooling is through radiant cooling pipes embedded in the slab – a system of cooling that has existed on the Indian sub-continent since the 16th century. The envelope cooling is powered through air handling units and a geothermal heat sink. In addition, a green roof, solar shading devices on all 4 sides and a green facade on the south side, provide natural insulation and regulates interior temperatures. A perfect blend of old and new technology for a modern day solution that brings about a savings of 60 per cent over conventional methods”.
Shilpa Architects aims to emphasise holistic sustainability and environmental sensitivity through design, with buildings that are frugal in energy use, are day-lit, comfortable, and well ventilated using the least amount of conventional energy. Passive solar design, natural ventilation, and adaptive thermal comfort integration are fundamental to this approach, informs Pavitra.
While sharing views on embracing solar energy make business sense, Architect and Structural Designer S.P.Anchuri informs, “In India not only commercial but also residential buildings are going solar. In fact my office and house both buildings having roof top solar system produces 4 KW in addition to energy efficient design enjoys ‘zero’ electricity bill by exporting power.”
He adds, “Today many business leaders are choosing solar to cut costs and plan for the future. What’s driving this growth of companies using solar energy? Primarily, the falling price of solar energy has made it accessible to more businesses than earlier years. Combined with federal, state and local renewable energy mandates and tax incentives, the circumstances have never been more favorable for businesses going solar than they are today. Solar and business just go well together.”
It can be observed that businesses are getting very creative about how they take advantage of solar power, with variations in the types and combinations of solar arrays they’re buying or leasing, and the wide range of facilities they’re powering with solar systems. Businesses can choose from rooftop installations, ground-mounted arrays or carport/parking lot canopy solutions—or any combination of these to meet their needs. The overwhelming majority choose rooftop solar solutions.
A few offerings from solar players
As part of the company’s rooftop solutions for green buildings, it offers a non-penetrative mechanism for AC roofs. So, there is no chance of leakage. Moreover, these solar PV systems can be easily removed and reinstalled as and when required. Hartek Solar, its rooftop division, happens to be the first company in India to introduce a unique remote sensing technology for small-scale plants designed as 3-10 KWp plug-and-play kits. “The remote monitoring technology not only ensures timely cleaning but also results in optimum generation. These customised small-scale solar systems can be installed in a matter of hours rather than days,” explains Singh.
Ultimate Sun Systems Pvt Ltd
Ultimate Sun Systems Pvt Ltd (USSPL) can play a vital role in creating sustainable legacy and also can contribute with its engineering, design, workmanship in delivering a net zero energy green building. USSPL is prepared and all geared up for showcasing its expertise and know-how to the installation of solar rooftop in the green building. USSPL’s offering in this purpose (solar rooftop) will be the following:
• Design and engineering for the solar roof top installation.
• A fully trained, well-experienced team which will abide by all standards and norms to deliver the best taking care of all the EHS world standards.
• Ensure and guarantee the performance on its solution in years to come.
“We are just a miniscule part of a large Solar system – Sun assures to give us solar energy endlessly, however only in recent times, we have been able to understand the benefits of it and are now able to make use of this freely available, never depleting, natural source of energy,” concludes Ar. Prem Nath.