Grundfos India's headquarters in Chennai is the first USGBC Gold-rated green building. Now, it has been upgraded to an LEED EB Platinum-certified building.
Receiving a green certification is no easy feat. Ask Grundfos India, whose headquarters was already the first Gold-rated green building in India by USGBC. During this period, the structure was energy-efficient, offered provisions to recycle sewage and included rainwater harvesting facilities along with solar collectors and photovoltaics. And now, it is a LEED EB (Existing Building) Platinum-certified building!
"We wanted to reaffirm our commitment to sustainability as a core value," says Ranganath NK, Managing Director, Grundfos Pumps India. "We also wanted to practise what we preach and send the message that we sincerely believe in minimising our impact on the environment." In fact, it is the only company in India that has opted for recertification. Ranganath shares more on the project with CW.
Re-checking the facts
Implementing green measures at the design phase was easier as we had an integrated project approach and all the consultants involved had enough experience. They took care of implementing the green measures but maintaining the same features throughout the operational and maintenance phase was a challenge. The scope of sustainable measures included various fields such as air-conditioning, facility alteration and maintenance, cleaning activity, pest control activity, landscape maintenance activity, water management and energy management. Further, a set of standards and checklist were required to be followed and documented throughout the lifetime of the building.
En3 Sustainability Solutions, the green consultant for the earlier LEED NC (New Construction) certification, carried out a study and suggested measures to improve sustainability and guided the team towards the LEED EB: O&M (Operations and Maintenance) green requirements. It helped us develop sustainable policies, implement the performance checklist for operation and maintenance, and calculate the current performance of the building. Thus, we have been able to monitor the performance of the structure continuously.
Features factored in
The distinction of being the first Gold-rated green building directly helped us obtain four points for the new certification for a LEED EB.
Apart from this, the green features implemented during the design and construction phase as per LEED NC, and recent factors that enabled the project to receive additional points include 25.51 per cent of the site area being maintained as open landscape; around 46.84 per cent of rainwater being used for recharge of groundwater; and the roof of the parking area comprising a heat-reflective tensile fabric with a solar reflective index of 96. It is also coated with heat-reflective paint to reflect at least 78 per cent of the incident heat on the roof and solar panels along with LED lights are utilised at the parking area. High-efficiency water fixtures have been used in the entire building to achieve water savings of about 42.7 per cent at the design phase. Additionally, a double wall with an air gap in between improves insulation; energy-efficient double glazing and HVAC systems with an HFC (refrigerant) are also installed at site.
The key factors that helped the organisation achieve this rating were sustainability, water efficiency and indoor environmental or air quality (IAQ).
Sustainability: As the building was previously certified under a LEED rating system, a building exterior and hardscape management plan has also been implemented that addresses environmentally preferred best practices for maintenance of equipment; cleaning of the exterior; paint and sealants used on the exterior; etc. The area of the building has adapted vegetation covering 25.51 per cent, excluding the building footprint. In addition, 52.5 per cent of the rainfall has been mitigated through storm water management strategies for an average weather year and built-in light fixtures are automatically controlled and turned off after work hours.
Water efficiency: A sewage treatment plant has enabled 100 per cent recycling of sewage. This water is reused for irrigation. The entire usage of potable water for the building has been reduced to 55.68 per cent below the LEED-EBOM baseline with efficient indoor plumbing fixtures and fittings. The building has permanently installed water meters that measure total potable water utilised for the building and associated grounds. It comprises one water subsystem along with sub-meters and is used for irrigation. Rainwater harvesting and storage are done with tanks and recharge pits.
IAQ: The entire building complies with the minimum requirements of ASHRAE Standard 62.1-2007 of ventilation for acceptable IAQ and has been used for the ventilation rate procedure. An IAQ management programme based on the EPA I-BEAM (Energy Portfolio Assessment-Indoor Air Quality Building Education and Assessment Model) has been implemented. The building is mechanically ventilated and the outdoor air ventilation rates provided by each air handling unit serving occupiable spaces in the building exceed ASHRAE's minimum requirement by at least 30 per cent under all normal operating conditions.
The payback period for this project is about two and a half years and after that it is all about saving in terms of energy and costs. There is no major cost-oriented factor as the building was already designed as per green norms.
The required changes were in terms of the system and procedures and streamlining operation and maintenance activities.
The way forward
By applying for LEED EBOM for an already certified building, one can benchmark the performance in terms of sustainability aspects as per actual energy consumption, water consumption, IAQ, etc. This will help us realise where we stand as compared to similar buildings internationally and save on operational costs.
Area: 14,118 sq m
Architect/planner: VV Architect. Tel: 020-2543 3879. Website: www.vvarchitect.com
Landscape architect: K Raghuraman. Tel: 044-2499 4569. Website: www.kraghuramanlandscapearchitect.com
Green consultant: En3. Website: www.en3online.com
HVAC Consultant: N Vaidhyanathan. Tel: 044-2834 0512. Website: www.airfrige.in
Civil contractor: Consolidated Construction Consortium Ltd. Tel: 044-2345 4500. Website: www.ccclindia.com
Pre engineered building: Tata Bluescope Steel. Tel: 020-6621 8000. Website: www.tatabluescopesteel.com
Air conditioning: Toshiba Airconditioning or ENMAC Systems. Tel: 0124-289 9700. Website: www.toshiba-aircon.co.in
Security systems: Siemens Building Technologies. Website: www.buildingtechnologies.siemens.com
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