SKF's Ahmedabad factory recently received the IGBC's Gold certification, making it among India's first bearing factories to receive this certification.
Here's a company that walks the green talk. Four years ago, SKF decided to improve its response to environmental challenges on a global level. Its recently certified IGBC LEED Gold factory, SKF Ahmedabad, is proof of that commitment. "The thought of building a green bearing factory was path-breaking in itself," says Shishir Joshipura, Managing Director and Country Head, SKF India. In conversation with SHRIYAL SETHUMADHAVAN, he elaborates upon the factory's green features...
It all begins at home with our manufacturing processes. We listed ideas that could be practically implemented during the construction stage itself, and some came into practice over a period of time. So, from day one, we were clear about the footprint we wanted. Energy efficiency was the only brief. Everything then went into the selection phase - equipment, facilities, buildings, control systems - keeping in mind that the ultimate requirement was a LEED certification. Work on the SKF factory began in mid-2008; the plant was inaugurated in October 2010 and received certification in 2013. While the total factory area is 134,500 sq m, the total building footprint is 20,023.8 sq m and the total projected cost of the project was in excess of Rs 280 crore (including plant and machinery).
Along with our internal experts, we worked with leading consultants. AECOM India, previously referred to as Spectral Services Consultants, was the LEED consultant. We introduced the consultant to SKF's sustainability and Beyond Zero guidelines, which state that we adopt sustainable manufacturing that includes infrastructure and equipment. Hence, the project was designed and constructed keeping in mind LEED principles. It has features such as glass glazing for ample natural light; CFC chillers to reduce CO2 release in the air; rainwater harvesting; variable frequency drive to reduce energy consumption; draught tolerant plants; and low VOC paints.
The SKF factory has received a combined recycle content value of 16.77 per cent of total materials. Materials used with recycled content include reinforcement steel, structural steel, cement, ready-mix concrete, steel doors, aluminium composite panel, MDF, glass, mineral fibre ceiling, tiles and Fenesta double glass windows. The colour of the building - white - deflects heat and brings in brightness; for a small block, we have used grey recyclable bricks that are efficient from the heat perspective.
We have conserved water by 42.69 per cent through the use of efficient plumbing fixtures. These include dual flush fixtures, urinal sensors and pressmatic pillar cork, as well as low-flow fixtures and water closets from leading manufacturers. Our process wastewater treatment plant has been sourced from H2O Germany. This zero discharge system helps us reuse treated water. We have used an automated sprinkler system for water-efficient landscaping. We have then installed a wastewater plant with which we can completely recycle used water that comes out as wastewater. The water we use is completely treated and our landscape is extremely green. We have a huge garden from which we get most of the vegetation we require for our canteen; it produces around 15 different varieties of fruits and vegetables.
The building's energy efficiency is measured in terms of its energy performance. This is done considering energy usage during the building's design, construction and operational stages, i.e. over the building's lifecycle. The way the building performs depends on its envelope (walls, windows, and roofs), selection of building materials and various systems like lighting, cooling, heating, ventilation, etc. The building also interacts with the external and internal environment. For example, its orientation affects heat radiation and natural light use.
Energy performance is measured using energy simulation software, which models the thermal, visual, ventilation and other processes taking place in the building to predict its energy performance. One aspect is to design the building for natural light. Also, the building needs to be oriented in a way to ensure that areas that need to be cool are not unnecessarily exposed to the sun. We do not want to compromise on the brightness, but want to ensure that we don't use lights. Hence the factory has been designed for natural light. In terms of solar panels, that phase is yet to come. So once we incorporate them, we may aim at a higher certification level. However, in terms of lighting, we use solar and energy-efficient lightings across our facility. Our factory has been very efficiently designed for daylight. This is more in the shop floor areas than office space. The entire layout ensures that light comes in, not heat. The SKF factory design incorporates a high-performance envelope and efficient interior lighting and HVAC system with chilled beams in the office areas and displacement ventilation in the production hall, high COP chillers, etc. These measures offer the biggest potential for energy savings. Additional savings are achieved by reducing fresh air loads by incorporating strategies like demand controlled ventilation and exhaust air energy recovery.
Indoor air quality was a critical point. The project is fully compliant with ASHRAE Standard 62.1-2004 for fresh air requirements. Also, an automated enhanced thermal comfort system, sourced from Swegon AB Gothenberg, has been installed to monitor and control room temperature, humidity and CO2 levels for occupant health. Along with the use of low VOC compliant paints and adhesives, HVAC and fire suppression systems are free of HCFCs and halons. And CRI (Carpet & Rugs Institute) certified carpet has been used. The thermal comfort system will help achieve fresh air requirements as per ASHRAE with lower energy consumption and higher occupant thermal comfort levels.
Within the plant
Fundamentally, it is a machine operation. We get steel in various shapes and sizes and treat it. The products are assembled, tested, packed and sold. We have adopted state-of-the-art machines from abroad to ensure minimal waste. Ours is a metal working process and once it is created, it is also handled efficiently and in an environment-friendly way. However, if this was not a green factory, it would probably consume 30 per cent more energy than we are consuming now.
Green = business sense
We live in a competitive environment and it is important to look at the overall lifecycle. In monetary terms, it might not make sense, but you need to look at this as resource productivity, in terms of conserving the future and bringing in a sustainable dimension. Our factory is not built for a year or five; we built it for eternity. Our oldest factory is over 50 years now and I think that is a critical part. We need to ensure that structures live over a long period of time.
Project: SKF's Ahmedabad factory
Area: 134,500 sq m (factory area); 20,023.8 sq m (building footprint)
Year of completion: 2010
Year of certification: 2013
Cost: Rs 280 crore
Developer: SKF. Tel: 020-6611 2500.
Fax: 020-2747 3822. Website:www.skf.com
Green consultant: AECOM India, Tel: 022-6789 4000. Fax: 022-6789 4111. Website:www.aecom.com
Double glass windows: Fenesta. Tel: 0124-451 3701. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.fenesta.com
Wastewater treatment plant: H2O Germany
Automated enhanced thermal comfort system: Swegon AB Gothenberg. Tel: +46-(0)512-32 200. Fax: +46-(0)512-32 300. Website: www.swegon.com
Shishir Joshipura's perspective
"IGBC has majorly contributed to building India's green building movement. There was a time when our country was among the world's first to have a Platinum-rated building. We are already leaders in terms of sheer number of green buildings. But the key issue is when we look at the ratio of how many buildings are built green. The count might not be very impressive and this should be corrected. Building green will not only create a highly sustainable future but a competitive advantage for India. It will boost local industry. And the market potential for green building material and technologies is estimated to be $100 billion. That is a large sum."
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