Puducherry

Alliance Francaise goes green

New initiative : The Alliance Francaise building which is a heritage structure is being renovated to support the solar power system; Gerard Greverand, director of the organisation, explaining various benefits of the project.

New initiative : The Alliance Francaise building which is a heritage structure is being renovated to support the solar power system; Gerard Greverand, director of the organisation, explaining various benefits of the project.   | Photo Credit: S_S_KUMAR

more-in

The heritage building will be restored and solar power systems installed in three phases

In an initiative aimed at self-sufficiency, the Alliance Francaise in Puducherry, the oldest unit in Asia, is planning to “go green” by reducing its energy consumption.

Since April 2018, the institute has begun switching over to renewable energy by replacing obsolete air conditioners with efficient ones and fans and low energy consuming light bulbs. Simultaneously, the restoration work has been taken up on a major portion of the building, a heritage structure, to support the solar panels.

“The administration had to ensure that every part of the structure was strong and in good condition to ensure the safety of students and installation of solar panels,” Gerard Greverand, director of Alliance Francaise, said.

“Detailed checks were undertaken and we found that the beams and the rafters were eaten by termites. The main rafters and beams were replaced in five classrooms. In addition, the concrete near the gallery in the structure was not strong. The concrete was rebuilt with metal tubes inside them,” he said.

Solar power

Now, the institute had started the installation of solar panels on the roof of the heritage structure by utilising the subsidy from the Renewable Energy Agency of Puducherry (REAP).

PUDUCHERRY, 11/06/2018: Gerard Greverand, Director of Alliance Francaise, at an interview with The Hindu in Puducherry on June 11, 2018.
Photo: S.S. Kumar

PUDUCHERRY, 11/06/2018: Gerard Greverand, Director of Alliance Francaise, at an interview with The Hindu in Puducherry on June 11, 2018. Photo: S.S. Kumar   | Photo Credit: S_S_KUMAR

This equipping phase would be accompanied by an education of the employees about ecofriendly practices for the rational use of energy, Mr. Greverand said.

Brahmanand Mohanty, visiting professor at the Asian Institute of Technology, said: “An analysis of the institution’s past electricity bills revealed that it was consuming over 63,000 kWh of electricity in a year. Accordingly, the institute was advised to adopt a two-stage process, including replacement of inefficient electrical appliances with more efficient ones.”

Many old and inefficient air conditioners were the major users of electricity. “We selected 10 air conditioners that were often used and that were not in good working condition.

They were replaced with energy efficient inverter models.”

Apart from the air conditioners, the 40 watt fluorescent tubelights were replaced with 100 LED tubelights. Fifty old fans were replaced with new ones.

According to preliminary calculations, these steps were likely to reduce the electricity use by about 30% (or 45,000 kWh per year), Mr. Mohanty said.

A 20 kWp solar power plant that consists of 63 solar panels, each of 320 kWp capacity has been selected for commissioning on the rooftop. The solar power plant is expected to generate around 31,000 kWh a year, and help lower the purchase of grid electricity to less than 15,000 kWh per year.

Surplus to be exported

Solar electricity generated during the day would first be used by the Alliance Francaise and the surplus exported to the local electric grid. When there was not enough solar energy, the Alliance Francaise would draw power from the grid.

Mr. Greverand said the building would be restored and completely repainted in the second phase of the project. The Alliance Francaise would proceed with the redeployment and redevelopment of the offices, with the decoration of the entire building and updating the signage. In the third phase, the French classrooms would be renovated and re-equipped, he said.

Why you should pay for quality journalism - Click to know more

Related Topics Puducherry
Recommended for you
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Dec 13, 2019 3:35:11 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/puducherry/alliance-francaise-goes-green/article24250381.ece

Next Story