Monday, December 8, 2008

Its Possible, Images Year Book,Vol V No. 1

“We have no longer than ten years at most to deal with climate change.
If the world continues with a “business as usual” scenario, temperatures will rise by 2 to 3 degrees Celsius and we will be producing a different planet.”
James Hansen, NASA leading climate scientist, September 2006

Melting glaciers, extreme weather patterns, rising sea levels, scarcity of resources, spread of diseases, wars and conflicts are all startling forecasts that have become reality. More disturbing is the fact that nobody can stop this environmental degradation. But what we can definitely do is to mitigate the carbon imprints that are bringing about these global changes. As designers we have an added social responsibility to get to the root and bring about some radical changes.

In the retail scenario in India, there is just a beginning of an awareness of environmental issues. And although the urge to go green is there, people do not know how to go about it. Says Mr. Sanjay Agarwal, Director and Consultant at DFC, “I was talking to a Mall developer in Mumbai sometime back, and he wanted to know about going green. When asked whether his Mall had any solar water heaters, he was surprised. This is infact true with almost all Malls in India, which have not even cared to put a basic solar heating system to provide warm water for food courts, washing etc. Going Green is not a fad, or a style, but all about personal commitment towards environment. Retailers and Malls can plan to save as much as 30% power and also generate as much as 30% of their power needs by Green means. This all put together can lower energy charges up to 40% for a typical mall, which means straight reduction in Cam charges. Large mall developers can also plan to incorporate Carbon Credits, as additional savings. (5 lakh sqft of retailing can trade a minimum of 11000 metric tonnes of CO2 at a cost of USD 22 per metric tonnes, i.e. realizing Rs.1 crore, per annum as per current rate).

Retail consumes an approximate 15 watts per sqft of space, which translates into an average of Rs. 20 per sqft per month of power bills. Even if this can be reduced by 20% by basic means, one can save an astonishing amount of Rs.50 lakhs/annum on operating one lakh sqft of Retail. Any large retailer in the country today is operating multiple lakhs sqft of Retail spaces.

It is not just energy savings, but it’s more to do with energy management, efficient use of energy, daylight harvesting, HVAC integration, and energy generation by Green means. The combined effect of all these initiatives can produce immense results in terms of reducing operational cost for Retailers, and going Green and caring for environment.”

In the realm of retail worldwide, outdoor gear and clothing retailer REI opened it’s latest LEED Silver Certified store in Boulder Colorado. The store is part prototype and part laboratory intending to test new retail concepts and the performance of green building features, including state-of-the-art technology and environmentally friendly materials.

Natural daylight is channeled throughout the store through Solatubes while store lighting automatically dims or turns off during the day. Solatubes will save the store more than 20 percent in its energy costs, the annual equivalent of powering up to three houses. Here is the first installation of BIPV(building-integrated photovoltaic) of its kind in a retail environment.

Green materials, such as bamboo, recycled rubber and cork, have been incorporated throughout the store on the floor, perimeter walls, fixtures, displays, benches and tabletops. The store also makes use of wood sourced from FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified forests ensuring the wood comes from a renewable source.

Energy efficiency is one of the most important aspects of a green retail building. The Giant Eagle store in Brunswick requires 30% less energy than other locations. The skylights that reduce energy consumption are equipped with diffusers that make them indistinguishable from electrical lights Wal-Mart met with lighting manufacturers and convinced them to come out with low mercury content fluorescent lamps, which they used in their project.

Being energy efficient doesn’t just stop at the use of CFL and CDMT lamps. Finding alternative, renewable sources of energy like solar, wind, biogas, hydro is another way. The use of standardized HVAC systems with high EER’s could cut one’s energy requirements by quite an amount. Using insulation materials wisely as double glazings, green roofing, landscaping on the immediate outsides, using natural construction materials would again reduce heat island effects.
Using an intelligent Energy Management System, in this scenario, becomes impertinent.

The mantra of reduce, reuse and recycle becomes very important in using materials efficiently. Reducing starts at the very onset, where the debris of construction waste should be minimized as much as possible. The use of locally available materials goes a long way to indirectly cut down carbon emissions, which would be released otherwise in the transportation of the materials. Moreover natural construction materials are always, as the very nomenclature suggests, ecofriendly in nature. Using recycled materials does not mean one has to compromise on design. It just needs a lot of research for green materials. And it is here where we as designers, by demanding can create supplies of green materials. Says Mr. Majeed of Giant Eagle, Brunswick, “ We weren't just specifying materials, but actually researching them on our end." A mere research online can throw up such exciting materials as sunflower seed particle board, wheat board, straw board, eco resin materials which can substitute glass in application as manufactured by 3-form.

Recycling materials can also mean plain use of just that little bit more sensitivity. Wal-Mart has started using recycled paper printed on both sides for their cash receipts. Ikea has brought out the “Ikea Blue bag’’ to replace plastic throw aways. Marks and Spencers have started using only biodegradable materials for all their packaging. Even if one is using wood one can leave behind green footprints if the wood used is FSC certified and thereby renewable wood.

In the United States, it is already being surveyed and documented that the Sick Building Syndrome, whose symptoms range from respirational problems to lung infections, is afflicting people. In a green building it is important to maintain a healthy Indoor Air Quality (IAQ). Use of low VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) emitting substances when using paints, sealants, adhesives, carpet and housekeeping cleaning agents, MDF would go a long way to reduce pollution levels in the air.

Daylight harvesting, besides cutting down on energy usage, would also make the indoor environment far healthier. Besides, views to the natural outdoors would also help to increase the productivity of occupants. Market survey has shown a healthy indoor air quality makes the consumer spend longer hours in retail spaces. Increased ventilation through AC’s or skylights can help purging out stale air and bring in the fresh air. Nowadays, CO2 sensing monitors are available in the market, which carry out the same function automatically.

The USGBC (United States Green Building Council) came into being to bring about awareness about environmental friendly buildings and interiors. LEED, which is an internationally accepted benchmark for design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings, gives building owners and operators the assessment tools to measure their buildings’ performance.

Put in a nutshell we can say, “A building should create delight when you enter, serenity & health when occupied and regret when departed.” For us designers, there is a steep learning curve when creating the first prototype, but the seeds are in place for the trend to become entrenched in the overall design process. Says Majeed of Giant Eagle store, Brunswick, “When we started talking to some of our standard vendors about green materials, many showed a lot of interest and curiosity. It was as though they were appreciating something good, and it was becoming contagious.”

For the sake of both the environment and the quality of retail design, we hope he is right!

The growth of green buildings Internationally and in India has been phenomenal. Large retailers globally are feeling the heat of this issue and we should see such awareness amongst Indian retailers also.

(This article has been composed by Soma Majumdar, who leads the Green Initiative at DFC (Design For Change), organization based in Bangalore, which is a member of USGBC and is working on innovative ways for Green Retailing in India. She can be contacted at’ or

Friday, December 5, 2008

Present Tense- Future Perfect, Shopping Centre News, Sept- Oct, 2008

After automobiles and industries, now, there is a realization that buildings are also responsible for environmental degradation. The negative impacts of the former two are obvious and visible. Therefore in today’s world of environmental consciousness, more has been talked about and written about these two culprits in an effort to finding solutions.

The negative impact of a building, retail or otherwise, is invisible or indirect. The materials for construction are either dug out of the ground, leading to environmental problems or they are carted across the seas leaving giant carbon footprints all over the globe. Herein comes the requirement of going “reduce, reuse, recycle”. Recycled products should be looked into, when it comes to exterior as well as interiors. Be it ACP for exterior cladding, gypsum for partition walls or steel for fixturing, manufacturers should start looking into processes of recycling instead of using virgin material. Using locally available materials would go a long way to minimize ones carbon footprints. In this context a glaring incompetency in the Indian market needs be pointed out. It is a shame that in our country where the north east is well populated with bamboo plantations, we look westwards for natural bamboo floors. There are no local Indian manufacturers of bamboo floors!

Retailers and shopping centres would be looking for bamboo flooring because not only are they pleasing to the eye but are also non toxic alternatives to flooring as they do not contain any toxic VOC’s as do laminates or vinyl. VOC’s(volatile organic compounds), we know, are detrimental to Indoor Air Quality and are carcinogenic in the long run, besides causing diseases ranging from respiratory disorders to lung diseases which has now been coined as “Sick building syndrome”. CO2 monitors embedded in air return ducts of AC can detect and purge and freshen indoor air. It is no wonder then that office spaces, especially IT buildings are going green with vengeance. It is a fact that an environmental building following environmental norms for Indoor Air Quality has a lot less absenteeism than a conventional building. Moreover it causes optimum productivity of the occupants. The same logic holds true for shopping centers. It has been surveyed and proven that a healthy IAQ leads to more footfalls and more shopping time amongst consumers.

Today’s consumers, when shopping for edibles or cosmetics scan labels minutely to look for healthy, environmental standards. It will not be very long when they consciously start looking for green retail outlets as Green awareness programmes spreads. Then, even the consumer would wish to be part of this green programme and not be left behind. In western countries it has already started. It will not be long before their intelligent Indian counterpart starts demanding more such environmental initiatives.

These environmental initiatives could be actually, quite common sense alternatives. A green building does not necessarily mean an “out of this world” structure which has never been heard of before. If one delves into the history Indian architecture one would know environmental buildings were the only way that builders knew, to build. But like the practice of Yoga, it had to be exported to the western countries to realize its true worth. An atrium in a shopping center is nothing but a magnified courtyard creating microcosmic climatic conditions within a building. Building orientation along east west axis, double walls to create a well insulated thermal wall, precooling devices to cool the fresh air in the AHU before the air is brought inside to cool the interiors, using glazed windows made of high performance glass to bring daylight in, using natural construction materials which have a cooling effect could go a long way to make a building more ecofriendly.

A little research into what the markets have to offer, at this stage, throws up ecofriendly carpets, high performance glass, electronically operable touch sensitive water faucets, low VOC paints, MDF boards, 100% recycled from baggasse. A small beginning but nevertheless it is happening in India.

One could question here, so how about creativity? An environmental building does not necessarily mean mud and brick constructions with a lot of bamboo and indoor plants Creativity is given a new definition. It is something more dynamic, evolving and intelligent. They can be as swanky as you please.

According to Mr. Sanjay Agarwal, Director at DFC, “At DFC, we strive for Green Retail initiatives, and make clients aware of this in every possible manner. It is a myth that Green means cost. It’s all about taking initiatives and be part of the process. There are very evident tangible and intangible benefits when one goes Green. Allen Solly Flagship store in South Extension, Delhi has been designed as per LEED guidelines.

1. Finn like elements on the west side to prevent heat ingress into building
2. Solar PV panels proposed on pathway shade to provide energy for exterior lighting
3. Glazed windows for daylighting.
4. Existing trees retained.
5. Overhang created to block the direct sun’s rays.
6. Rain water harvesting system
7. Proposed roof terrace made of easy to maintain grass trays

Our client Allen Solly understood the initiative and benefits they can have and what they can give to community and hence we were able to draw certain amount of practical Green practice in this project. Starting from the design of the facade to exteriors and interiors, there was a conscious effort to achieve certain amount of results.

1. Glass alternating with PV panels as shade proposed
2. Greenery wherever possible in inbuilt cement planters
3. LCD brand promotion screens, powered by solar energy proposed

1. Grass concrete pavers proposed to prevent storm water run off.
2. High performance glass shade to cut off heat
3. Existing landscape retained
4. Greenery and foliage requiring less water, wherever possible, in cement planters

The most important part of Green initiative for this building was to manage Energy very efficiently. Minimizing external heat gains during most of the Delhi summer months in the year, to minimizing internal heat gains, minimizing heat losses in winter, managing energy in artificial lights and AC by using intelligent EMS (Energy Management system), maintaining indoor air quality by using low VOC materials etc. EMS system, programmed by DFC, keeping the store timings and walk ins in mind, will save at least 30% of energy consumed every day.”

Buildings are no more, like the proverbial dumb blonde, only beautiful. Now they are more intelligent too.

Roof overhangs are created to block the suns direct rays from heating up the building.

Oval shape given to building so that there is less volume of air to be conditioned.

Slanting sidewalls block the direct rays of the sun from heat ingress into the building

A whole new meaning to double walled insulation!

In a country which is staring at water shortages, rain water harvesting and use of low flow faucets in bathrooms are becoming “must haves”. Grey water purification and recycling into landscaping are other options. If you are about to ask whether there is any connection between rainwater harvesting and creativity, this architecture should answer your question.

The roof has been shaped liked like a butterfly, the central portion is sloped downwards to collect the rainwater from either side.

Sheathed in walls of living green and resembling a pagoda emblazoned with a curving copper rooftop, this UniCube dormitory utilizes an impressive set of sustainable features to regulate its temperature, harvest rainwater, and produce its own energy. Conceived by Andrew Southwood-Jones

The biggest negative impact of retail buildings, however, is that they are terrible energy guzzlers. “Buildings use twice as much energy as cars and trucks using 30% of the worlds total energy and 16% of water consumption .Almost 70% of energy billed in Delhi is attributed to air conditioning alone. By 2050, energy consumption could go beyond 40% emitting 3800 Mega Tonnes of carbon emission, the main cause of global warming. about 25% of the total energy goes into buildings, into making it and then operating it….”Development Alternatives, Delhi.

These statistics are frightening but true.

Mr. Sanjay Agarwal, Director at DFC says, “Shopping Centres and Retail building are one of the major energy consumers in the world and it is increasing at an alarming rate in India. If the construction and management of such building are not regulated strictly by codes practised in US and other countries, India will be at loss and more so Management of such buildings and facilities for whom it may be nightmare to provide power and energy at a huge cost, and thus the biggest sufferers would be tenants and retailers'.

All retail facilities, be it small or large can in initiate Green by using and managing Energy efficiently. Cutting down consumption of present Energy levels by 30%, which is easily achievable will be first step towards going Green. Most of such places reek of bad odours at peak retail time. This is due to deteriorating indoor air quality. One falls sick after visiting such places often. Maintaining indoor air quality should be second priority for such buildings.”

The solutions to energy problems in retail have to be tackled from the various points of consumption. Firstly, more energy efficient light fixtures should be used. More daylight could be drawn into the building using windows, fixed glazed surfaces, skylights, clerestory or solar tubes. Natural daylight immediately reduces the need of energy. Where AC loads are concerned innovative and commonsense design elements should be incorporated in the envelope of building to reduce load on AC. Using high albedo value reflective surface for roofing or installing a simple terrace garden with grass trays could cool down interior spaces. Insulation by way of double walls, materials sandwitched in between, overhang roofs, sloping sun shades are just a few illustrations. A lot is happening in research on Hybrid HVAC systems, false floors, passive cooling systems.

EMS(energy management systems) altering energy requirements according to geographic location, time of day, and specific needs can bring down energy consumption a lot, by doing away with unnecessary wastage.

Our total dependence on depleting sources of energy underlines the relevance of alternative, renewable sources of energy in today’s world. A lot is happening in Solar energy but not enough to make it viable for a retailer. High costs, huge area surfaces and a payback time of 5-7 years is not exactly what the retailer is looking for. For exterior lights in a retail area, for aesthetic purposes, one could look into solar lights or using solar panels as shade for pathways, pillar claddings. But what the whole world is waiting for are the thin film Nano Solar to become commercially available. That could truly be a breakthrough for environmental buildings. Wind energy, biogas energy can also be looked into, in this context.

Waste management systems have to be detailed from the very beginning when construction waste has to be diverted for reuse somewhere. The system needs to be circular, encouraging reuse and recycle rather than linear and adding to the already pressing problem of accumulating waste disposal. Nowadays as more and more shopping centres with food courts are coming up in residential places, accumulation of garbage, especially organic waste can be diverted for vermicomposting for landscaping onsite or to the nearest nursery.

Recounting from personal experience, Mr. Sanjay Agarwal, Director at DFC , recalls, “Few years back, whenever, I used to design a Retail store for so called MNC/corporate, we use to weigh our store in terms of ‘watts/sft’, with greater the energy usage, better the retail store will be. That was a craze in India and still is. Retail stores mushrooming in hundreds and thousands sq meters every month, are guzzler of power. It is more so in India, because of sheer low quality of Lighting and electrical appliances being used by such stores.

Couple of years back, observing such catastrophic situation of energy all over world and also in India, I changed my self, and for better. I started designing stores with least wattage/sft, and with most efficient energy usage. Further to this I have following approach which can help ‘Green Retail’ in India and for the world:
1-Each window of Retail store can have 50% lacing with PV film, generating at an avg. 1 kwh power, sufficient for powering signage and windows of the store. Saving 12 kwh/day, or 4 MW/year-enough to power 2000 urban houses every year.

2-All Retail stores to have 20% solar power, at an avg of 2 watts/sft/hr, or 72000 MW/year-enough to power 36 million urban homes, or one metro city of India.

3-All retail stores to use Paper carry bags, thus saving 2000 Metric tonnes of non bio-degradable plastics every year.

4-All retail stores to have low water flushing system- to save 10 million cubic ltrs of water every year, enough to satisfy need of 2 million homes.

5-All Retail stores staff to have policy of 25% staff using bicycles on rotational basis as conveyance from home. This will save 50 million litres of petrol every year, or saving of Rs. 300 crores, every year at current rate.

6-All retail stores to renovate only once every 7 years, as compared to 4 years of now, thus saving at least cutting of 40000 trees every year, thus having 400000 trees more to live in next 10 years.

7-All retail stores to think of alternative media as posters/graphics as against papers as of present, thus saving a minimum of 100000 trees every year, i.e we may have 1 million more trees in next 10 years, to live with.

8-All Retails to promote reuse of carry bags amongst customers, thus saving appx. 25000 trees every year. This means having 250000 Trees more to live with.”

The various obstacles to achieving greater ecofriendliness in our shopping centres can be on three levels. It is not easy to convince the developer as the efficiency in water and energy benefits the tenant, not him. Only if the government increases the rent of a “green building” by an appreciable amount will the developer feel he is also benefited. At the second level, the manufacturer has to be educated as to what exactly is required of him. There may be many designers and architects who want to make a difference and make environmental buildings. But the minute they come to material specification, they come up against a dead end. Be it paint companies, adhesive sealant companies or laminate companies, very few companies are aware that they need to have technical data sheets to show a minimal amount of VOC in their products to make them environmental. According to many an Indian manufacturer, products from recycled materials are of “low standards”. India needs a body like “Greenguard” to certify a product as being environmental. But to be fair, there are other manufacturers who would like to know how to make their products more ecofriendly but do not know where to go.

The third level is by far the most important: the government’s involvement. The government should step in and make its presence felt in the environmental awakening spreading across the globe. It should subsidize the prices of all things environmental. It should reduce taxes on green buildings. At the state level it should ensure that it is easier and financially viable to install rain water harvesting systems or solar energy systems.

In the USA The Energy Policy Act of 2005 included two ways to receive a tax credit for solar energy from the federal government. You can qualify for 30% of the system cost .(up to $2,000) for either solar water heating or for solar photovoltaic (PV) electricity. At the state level are more incentives. The cost-effectiveness doesn’t end with installation. Federal law allows independent power producers to connect to the utility grid and requires utilities to purchase excess electricity. It thereby allows owners to receive the full value of the electricity by selling excess back into the grid. The Renewable Energies Act (or EEG in German) sets a “feed in tariff” that requires power companies to purchase energy harnessed from renewable sources at a fixed price over 20 years. This legislation is making renewable energies economically viable over time and has helped turn Germany into the world leader in renewable energies. Moreover being farsighted, German educational institutions are supporting the industry. In addition to the excellent programs in science and engineering at Germany universities, many institutions of higher learning have inaugurated programs that focus entirely on renewable energies—ensuring that Germany will have experts in this industry for years to come.

Green buildings now save on at least a third of the power and water and emit 35 per cent less carbon dioxide. The IGBC, the Indian counterpart of US Green Building Council (USGBC), is certifying green buildings under the Leadership in Energy and Efficiency in Design (LEED) guidelines created to adapt to India. Another rating is The Energy Research Institute’s (TERI) GRIHA rating. The benefits of going green can be substantial. Wipro Software Development Centre at Gurgaon, which won the LEED platinum rating in 2005, brought down energy costs by 52 per cent. ITC managed 50 per cent savings in energy too. Till recently, green was just a fad. But now new generation developers and architects are taking to it in a big way. 225 new buildings covering 220 million sqft have registered for LEED ratings. That says a lot.

“By combining the wisdom of the old with modern technology, India can make a big contribution...And bring about an ecological and aesthetic harmony between a structure and its natural surrounding”.

And the retail industry needs to pitch in, to benefit from environmental awareness or be left behind.

'The above article was composed by Mrs. Soma Majumdar, Senior Manager-Green Design and Resources with DFC-Design For Change, Bangalore. DFC runs Green Retail Research program for Retailers in India, as a member of USGBC. More information can be accessed by writing mail to '' or at '''.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Architecture With a Conscience, DataQuest, 08April,2008

Rising sea levels, unpredictable weather patterns, depleting ozone layers: what have these to do with architects and building designers? A lot. If statistics are to be believed, data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration illustrates that buildings are responsible for almost half (48%) of all GHG (Greenhouse Gas) emissions annually. 76% of all electricity generated by US power plants goes to supply the building sector. The building sector in India is growing at a rapid pace and is the third largest consumer of energy after industry and agriculture.

Thus a certain amount of responsibility lies on the architects and designers to postpone the ravages of carbon footprints on this planet. Green architecture seeks to minimize the negative impacts that a building can leave behind. Thanks to the net, concepts of green architecture are no longer only textbook knowledge — many architectural practices are sensitive to the growing need to adopt methods, processes, materials, products to make a building in complete harmony with nature.

What is a green building?
Some of the salient features of a “green building’ are minimal disturbance to site conditions, use of non-toxic, recycled and environmental friendly building materials, efficient use of water, efficient use of energy through use of eco friendly appliances, renewable energy and through the use of intelligent building management systems.
It is also important to monitor the quality of indoor air for human safety and comfort.

Every region in the world is rich in some specific natural resources. If local natural resources are used, processing and transportation hassles are minimized, lowering economic and environmental costs. Moreover using any natural material (be it stone, glass, lime or mud plasters, rammed earth, bricks, tiles, untreated wood, cork, paper, reeds, bamboo, canes and grasses) is healthy, environmental and sustainable in the long run. Development Alternatives World Headquaters, New Delhi has used recycled waste flyash bricks, mud compressed bricks and ferro cement roofing in its construction. The trilogy of reduce , reuse and recycle are important to achieve material efficiency.

Water efficiency can be achieved by using low flow faucets wherever required, dual flush systems in toilets. More importantly in today’s scenario of water scarcity, rainwater harvesting should be an integral part of every building to minimize water run off.
In ITC Green Centre, Gurgaon, there is a 40 per cent reduction in potable water use. Moreover they have used treated grey water for flushing and landscaping

Conserving energy
The most important aspect of “green architecture” is energy efficiency. It is not just energy savings, but it’s more to do with energy management, efficient use of energy, daylight harvesting, HVAC integration, and energy generation by Green means. This would help minimize operational costs and conserve energy. In CII Godrej GBC , the first green building in India, fresh air to the AHUs is precooled in the two wind towers that sit on either side of the building. Precooling reduces the load on the air conditioning system, saves 60% of cooling energy requirement compared to buildings of similar size. Building orientation, insulation of roof and walls also become important in this context. Lawn trays, made out of recycled plastic protects against heat ingress through the roof while providing a green and pleasing surrounding.
In Wipro Technologies, Gurgaon, the basic design of the building is inspired by the traditional inward looking “haveli”, a typical Indian rural home with a central courtyard that uses ancient architectural wisdom to build a comfortable, environmentally friendly edifice. The central courtyard acts as a microclimate generator that reduces energy consumption, an important factor to consider when constructing energy efficient buildings.
Some of the unique ‘green’ features of NEG-Micon, Chennai are 100 percent day lighting, wind energy, insulated walls, green lawns, waste recycling, as well as building maintenance through green products and consumables. There is a 50 percent saving in overall energy consumption when compared to a normal building, as well as an 88 percent reduction in lighting consumption.

Olympia Technology Park, an information technology workspace located at Guindy, Chennai, has been awarded the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) gold rating by the U.S. Green Building Council. The LEED rating system is considered the yardstick for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings. Specifically for buildings in the IT sector like these, energy efficiency can be achieved in other ways: design passive solar energy facilities, use energy efficient appliances, solar panels and heat pump technology, use of computer sensor controlled energy saving devices; like automatic dimmers for lighting and occupancy sensors to adjust air-conditioning automatically, install Monitor Power Management Software , use of low power computers.

Global phenomenon
From generating solar power from as small as a residential window, to have solar farms, and from savings energy by applying EMS (Energy Management Systems), to saving harmful emissions they all go towards creating a Green environment.

Besides energy efficiency, creating a workplace that is environmentally friendly is a growing, global phenomenon. Increasingly, buildings are going ‘green’ and the benefits for the environment, as well as corporations and their employees are numerous. The quality of these who work in green buildings are more productive and take fewer sick days. Sick Building Syndrome has been attributed to poor air quality caused by air-tight construction and the off-gassing of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from such things as finishes, adhesives, furniture systems, wall coverings, office machinery, and in some instances, molds. The release of harmful VOCs (such as carcinogenic urea formaldehyde) is one of the biggest concerns when choosing products and materials for interior spaces.
In Grundfos Pumps, Chennai construction methods on a ‘green’ build are not that different to a ‘normal’ build, says Krishna, except that a lot of documentation had to be done from the time of choosing the site to commissioning the building. In terms of materials used, they differed when compared to a ‘normal’ build, in that Grundfos had to use some recycled materials and materials with a low VOC (volatile organic compounds) content

S Srinivas, Senior Counsellor, CII-Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Centre says that apart from saving on operating costs, adopting environmentally friendly technologies and practices in the building sector can address sustainability issues, as well as contribute to the conservation of national resources.

Indian industry is now recognizing the role of environmental management as a tool to enhance competitiveness. Be it a residence, a retail space, a hotel or an IT office, the awareness to go green is evident all around. Articles are being written about it, debates are being aired in the audiovisual media, programmes are being themed around it. But this growing awareness has to be complemented with the education of manufacturers who should come under a common umbrella like “greenguard” or “ecomark”, bodies certifying “green” materials and products. Moreover it is important to have some sort of recognition and encouragement from the government so that this positive movement in environmentally and socially responsible architecture does not stop at just being a gimmick or fad.

The above article is composed by Soma Majumdar, Manager-Design Resources and Marketing, DFC, Design For Change, Bangalore. DFC is member of USGBC and practises Green Design in Architecture, Retail and interiors. She can be contacted at