To encourage sustainable practices, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has announced that it has conceptualized a “net-zero energy complex” for its new headquarters in New Delhi. The Akshay Urja Bhawan will be located in Delhi, right opposite the premises which the ministry currently occupies in the CGO Complex in Lodi Road.
The 2.76 acre campus will employ technologies such as solar energy, on-site waste management, rainwater harvesting among others to get “off the grid”, thus reducing the pressure on municipal infrastructure.
The net zero building is supposedly designed by city-based Edifice Consultants Pvt Ltd, who claim that the principal objective of the building is to match the overall energy consumption with the energy generated on site itself. “In the present-day context of our rising carbon footprint threatening our very existence, it is not possible to take on a building design project without serious consideration for sustainability.
“This building has been conceived as a flagship project to showcase the use of renewable energy, as well as a cutting-edge energy efficient building. Therefore, it went beyond the mandate of just a sustainable building to a net-zero energy facility,” Shaon Sikta Sengupta, representative at Edifice stated.
According to the company achieving the net-zero energy mandate was challenging, particularly because of the limited area stipulated for the complex.
“The small plot size limits the number of solar panels and hence the extent of solar energy that can be harnessed. Therefore, the strategy to achieve zero energy had to be to reduce the consumption,” Sengupta elucidated.
Measure like reducing air conditioning, maintaining a higher ambient temperature, optimising artificial light by reducing individual cabins and blocking out an entire portion of the building to prevent heat gain, were some of the changes that needed to be adopted.
“On the energy generation front, the rooftop area for the accommodation of solar panels had to be maximised,” she further.
Akshay Urja Bhawan also checks off the basic requirements for a structure to be sustainable — it makes efficient use of natural resources like air and water, it reduces pollution and waste production, it helps in the reduction of operational costs and offers healthier standards of living.
By reducing the energy demand from the thermal-powered grid and relying on renewable energy (solar) generated on site, the building is expected to have an indirect impact on the air quality
The entire soffit of the building will feature jaalis (latticed walls/windows) that will mask the large projections required to hold the solar panels. The building is expected to be completed by 2020.
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