Visit the new ANERT building in Thiruvananthapuram. Rajes B. Nair says it conserves energy as if instinctively.
ANERT wanted to practise what it preaches. So it did not think twice before deciding to have a green building as its headquarters.
As conservation and preservation of energy has become a global concern over the years, governments all over the world, sensing the dangers that environmental degradation can pose to humanity, are on overdrive to create awareness of the need to preserve the earth and set up institutionalised mechanisms for this purpose. The State government, way back in 1986, established ANERT, or the Agency for Non-conventional Energy and Rural Technology, to gather and disseminate useful knowledge in various fields of non-conventional energy and energy conservation and encourage the public to use non-conventional sources of energy.
The 25,000-sq.ft building, which was recently opened, has incorporated features necessary for a green building, which is a structure built using environmentally responsible and resource-efficient systems and processes. In other words, a green building is one that incorporates the use of clean and renewable energy, efficient use of water and use of recycled or recyclable materials.
“We decided to have a sustainable building and now it is there for everyone to see at the PMG junction,” Jayakumar R. project engineer, ANERT, says.
First of all, the layout of the building was designed in a way that led to minimum loss of the green cover at the time of construction.
The orientation of the building is in such a way that the direct entry of sunlight is minimised. It uses sun-tracking louvres. The vertical glass louvres shade the glass wall on the southern side, Mr. Jayakumar says.
Photovoltaic panels tracking the sun cover the louvres, thereby helping generating solar power. The idea is to tap the sun to meet the energy requirements, particularly to run the computers, says a team member of the BSNL Civil Wing, which was entrusted with the construction.
An added feature is a pergola to get induced sunlight. Terracotta building blocks are used to reduce the inside temperature. Structural glazing works with double-glazing units are provided on the south-facing side. (In a double-glazing unit, vacuum is created in between the toughened glass, which reduces temperature.)
A courtyard is provided inside the building to get maximum natural light and ventilation. A false ceiling with mineral fibre, having recycled components, is used. Carbonised bamboo tiles and recycled particle boards are used in the internal partition walls.
Sensor-type washbasins, urinals and dual-flush cisterns are installed to reduce the use of water. A rainwater harvesting tank with a 40,000-litre capacity is provided with a filter unit and the same is used for flushing, the BSNL official says.
Plants that consume less water adorn the flower troughs, along with the pergola. All electrical light fittings are of the LED type. A building management system is installed to monitor the effective functioning of the electrical fittings and to check water levels in the sump and the overhead tank. To ensure efficiency, instead of the conventional ceiling-fitted lighting, task and sensory lighting is provided in office spaces, the official says.
A solar-power-enabled vapour-absorption air-conditioning system, the root-zone method of wetland wastewater treatment, a biogas plant for treatment of solid waste, and biogas-fed cooking stoves at the office canteen are some of the other features of the building.
An official with ANERT says buildings are responsible for 40 per cent of the world’s energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions. The green building concept will definitely help save a lot of energy and lessen the impact of carbon dioxide emissions and avoid global warning.