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Smart device manages smart spaces

The case study shows how headquarters of Surmount manages to check all key elements outlined by the definition of a green interior, earning the USGBC’s Platinum rating
The example set by India’s first LEED platinum rated green building – the CII-Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Centre in Hyderabad, set the ball rolling for a variety of green certifications in the different categories of buildings including homes, factories and commercial spaces among others back in 2001. As a provider of green services to the real estate, Surmount Energy Solutions Pvt. Ltd. chose to lead by example too – a green consultancy working out of a green office seems befitting to the intention and purpose of the movement of ‘greening the urban-scape’.
Set in the commercial heart of Navi Mumbai, CBD Belapur, the headquarters of Surmount manages to check all key elements outlined by the definition of a green interior, earning it the USGBC’s highest i.e. Platinum rating for a green commercial interiors. Features such as high albedo (highly reflective surfaces) surfaces to tackle excessive heating up, xeriscaping, water-less urinals, water efficient fixtures for sensible water management, material with recycled content as well as rapidly renewable material in the interiors and furnishings, energy efficient fixtures, LED signage, motion and daylight sensors for optimal energy use have all contributed in making the office an epitome of sustainability. Energy efficiency is further aided by on-site solar PV system that contributes to the site’s energy use.
Further to creating an environmentally efficient built-space, another achievement of the company is its indigenous range of automation systems named BuildTrack. The ingenuity of this system lies in its ability to address three important requirements of the Indian real estate today, making it a three-pronged by-product of Surmount’s expertise in sustainability. These include characteristic limitations that the Indian conditions pose for many of the available automation brands such as fluctuating power surges, unfamiliarity with equipment amongst the larger population etc.; energy efficiency through innovatively designed home and facility automation products; and finally integrated security and surveillance systems for homes and communities. The basic principle of reducing wastage through sensible use of resources powers the work behind BuildTrack. The design and implementation of the green office along with the automation system primarily maximises on available daylight during the day and sensors ensure the switching off of lighting and heating/cooling equipment in absence of occupancy. Changing and rest rooms with smart water efficient fixtures along with xeriscaping have enabled up to 45 per cent water use reduction in the premise which was above the required average as per the certification.
One of the most distinctive features of BuildTrack is its transferability on to various smart devices, including phones and tablets that bring home, facility and community management and automation to our fingertips. The integration of the automation system in these devices enables users to control installed systems remotely through customised apps that also allow the design of the layout of the home/facility. Surmount created and employed their own in-house research and manufacturing facility in creating this automation service in response to the “non-availability of indigenous technology tailor-made for India. This has given rise to highly specialised “Smart Home and Facility Management and Automation”.
These measures taken internally are additionally complemented by extensive Education and Training initiatives taken by the organisation. This ranges from a Demonstration Centre for BuildTrack, training programmes for builders, developers and other clients of Surmount initiating them into green construction and finally Surmount’s Training Centre (STC) offers training courses for professionals and students of the industry to acquire green know-how and professional certification from IGBC. With increasing environmental consciousness seeping into all spheres of the country’s development including urbanisation, it is only natural that there will be growing demand for appropriately skilled employers and employees. The principle behind STC is to address this very demand. Moreover, through services such as green certification and BuildTrack this consciousness will gradually enter the everyday lives of customers and clients.
Along with designing its own green office, the company began its green-work by enabling energy and water efficiency in the CBD Station Complex through a combination of energy-water audits, implementation of essential BuildTrack components to achieve saving upto and over 30 per cent. Other key highlights of their work in the Indian real estate include scores of projects with some of the leading developers and builders facilitating certification through IGBC, USGBC and GRIHA among others.
The idea behind this venture was to highlight the potential of green certification for built spaces in India, considering some of the challenges that the market here faces are affordability, the need for imported material etc. The endeavour was to create a model of a sustainable work environment in-house that exemplifies energy, water and material efficiency using our own expertise and locally available resources, in other words, to test how a truly green project can be designed to the capabilities of our own country. The work has just begun. With India’s status as a developing country and the rapid pace of urbanisation, the potential for green is immense and can be conveniently integrated in the ongoing developmental process.


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