Using its experience with water and by adding various other green features, Xylem's administration building in Vadodara recently received IGBC's Gold certification.
A water technology company and one of the founding members of IGBC, being environmentally responsible comes naturally to Xylem Water Solutions India. As Naresh Behl, Director-Operations & Projects, says, "It is in our DNA." The company is not just eco-friendly through its offerings but through its buildings and facilities as well. A prime example is its administration building in Vadodara, which was constructed last year and received IGBC's Gold rating certification on July 31, 2013. Behl explains its green features in conversation with SHRIYAL SETHUMADHAVAN.
The role of the green consultant was to primarily educate us on the entire project and initiate talks with IGBC. Else, the landscape, air-conditioning and plumbing systems have all been designed by us with services taken from various contractors. We adopted an approach wherein suggestions from every employee in the company were considered. The idea was to maintain a balance between the initiative to drive and the cost, which on an average in a green building would be 30-40 per cent more than a non-green building. Then, to achieve the IGBC gold rating, you need to score anywhere between 39 and 51 points; we applied for 44 points and successfully received the same.
Utilising every drop
In this building, we have reduced fresh water usage by recycling 100 per cent of the water in the sewage treatment plant (STP) and reusing it for utility and pump testing. The usage of new water from the STP to flushing hold and fresh water from Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation to wash basins and utensil washing in the canteen, a dual plumbing system has been installed. In addition, we have also installed water-efficient, proximity sensors in washrooms which activate or deactivate water flow in the faucets on the basis of the position of the user's hand. Moreover, 100 per cent water used for landscaping is recovered from our very own patented STP with ICEAS (Intermittent Continuous Extended Aeration System)-based SBR technology. All these features put together have helped us reduce water consumption by 50-55 per cent.
Energy-efficient VRF based HVAC system of 93 tr capacity with COP as high as 3.8 has been installed to facilitate a comfortable working environment to 160 office users. The building has been positioned southwards to ensure that we get more sunlight and less heat. Also, high- performance, double-glazed unit with solar heat gain co-efficient at 0.25 has been used to reduce the heat load during the day. We have also used energy-efficient LED and T5 light fixtures with motion sensors to optimise power usage. These initiatives have helped us save energy consumption by 30 per cent.
About 95 per cent of the materials used in this building have been extracted locally within 500 km of the site's location. Also, for the furniture and partitions, 19.63 per cent of the total materials used are rapidly renewable. In addition, fly-ash bricks and Portland Pazzolona cement with 20 per cent fly-ash content has been used. Also, the floor titles have been made of 20 per cent recycled material and low- VOC sealants and paints have been used.
When we decided to go green, one important aspect was to preserve the top soil, which is very fertile. This was recovered while excavating the foundation and was further used for landscaping. Further, to reduce disturbance on site and protect and restore the habitat, we have used drought-tolerant native species of plants and turf as these require minimal water.
Post construction, before occupancy
During construction, a lot of dust and particulate matter accumulates in the building, which further tends to settle down in corners. This is very harmful to users. Hence, we covered all the HVAC ducts at their mouthpiece to prevent this dust from settling on them. Also, after construction, the entire building was flushed out using MERV 8.0 filters in fresh air supply to ensure all the ducts were dust and SPM-free. Further, flow measuring instruments have been installed to monitor the quantity of fresh air supplied. These have been supported by CO2 monitors that integrate the carbon content in the air with the ventilation system through which additional fresh air is then brought into the area.
Incorporating green features will be a continuous process. For instance, in the next eight to 10 months, we plan to put up a rooftop solar system on this building. A part of the energy will be utilised for the building as well. Also, today, we are adopting the most energy-efficient fittings, but tomorrow if we have some advanced options, we would like to replace our present fittings with them.
We have created a maintenance department with an understanding of all the equipment fitted into the building. It is responsible for maintaining all the green features of this building and ensuring that repairs done on the glass, building materials, etc, conform to original standards. A documentation of the same has been maintained as well.
Cost: Rs 2.5-2.9 crore (25 per cent more than conventional)
Land area: 23,800 sq ft
Area: 18,000 sq ft (ground + 2 floors)
Building footprint: 6,000 sq ft
Vegetated area: 8,500 sq ft
Completion: March 2012
Certification: July 31, 2013
Contractor and civil finish: National Builders Infrastructures, Vadodara. Tel: 0265-232 6011. Fax: 0265-232 6010. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.nbipl.com
Architect, planner and structural consultant: Vishwakarma Consultants, Vadodara
Landscape architect: Xylem Water Solutions India. Tel: 022-4037 0370. Website: www.xylemindia.in
Green consultant: Surmount Energies, Mumbai. Tel: 022-6134 0340. E-mail: email@example.com Website: www.surmountenergy.com
External cladding contractor: GB Interiors, Vadodara.
HVAC contractor: Unique Sales and Service, Vadodara.
Lights: Philips (for LED and T5). Tel: 0124-4606 000. Website: www.india.philips.com
Fire-detection systems: HD Fire (FM global approve make). Tel: 022-2582 6958. Fax: 022-2581 2524. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.hdfire.com
Air-conditioners: LG VRF. Website: www.lg.com
External cladding, roofing and glazing: GB Interiors, Vadodara.
Flooring/tiles: Somany. Tel: 0120-462 7900. E-mail: email@example.com Website: www.somanyceramics.com; National Builders.
Paints: Asian Paints. Tel: 022-3981 8000. Fax: 022-3981 8888. Website: www.asianpaints.com
Cement: Binani. Tel: 022-2269 0506. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.binaniindustries.com
Naresh Behl's perspective
"When we talk of building green, at present, financially, there is not much commercial sense involved. Many projects don't get through because eventually the payback is not that great. Hence, we need to focus a lot on ensuring that they are more compliances in our projects, like electric fittings, ventilation system, HVAC and plumbing, that are more energy viable. Through these, costs can be driven down and the payback period certainly improves. However, there is awareness and a lot of corporate houses are taking up this initiative. But this has to be more cost-effective to make it the norm of the day and draw more people into the process of building green."