Green is something that is very close to our hearts. Pathways totally believe in sustainable habitat and try to do its bit towards securing the Environment for the future. As an educational institution, we feel it is our responsibility to sensitize these young minds towards nature and its importance. After all, they only will carve the future of the environment. And what better way to make them understand then to walk the talk.
There have been some very innovative approaches undertaken in building the facilities that are contributing hugely in terms of reducing the carbon footprint. And what makes this even more interesting is intelligent out of the box approaches like introducing some age-old Indian Architecture techniques that not only make the buildings environmental friendly but also make them more cost-effective.
India has a long history of ancient civilization and kingdoms. In those days there were no technologies available, still the architecture was such that the buildings faired very good in terms of internal conditions both in strong summers and cold winters. There were simple Architectural Techniques that were used to reach these kinds of conditions.
Today with the advent of technology and the advancements therein, when we speak of Green Buildings, normally we try to use more technologies. But if we fall back on the ancient Indian architecture, there are far easier and more effective ways of creating Green Architecture!!
At Pathways, we rely on these simple architectural techniques to build a Green Campus. Given below are some of the salient features that we are using:
As a normal phenomenon the cool air is heavy and stays down and the hot air is light and always travels up. We have consciously kept the ceiling heights about 4.2 metres thus allowing the space for hot air. The Fan Coil Units are placed a little lower and send the cool air draft downwards thus not hitting the pocket of hot air trapped on the top.
All the exterior walls are constructed as Cavity Walls. There is a 9” thick brick wall on the outside, then an air gap ranging from 4” to 10” and then a 4.5” or 9” wall on the inside. Thermally during the forenoon until about 3 O’ Clock, the exterior walls absorb heat. Then when the sun in on its way down, this heat starts entering inside the building. This Air Gap in the cavity wall does not let this heat enter inside the rooms thus the energy required to air condition the rooms is greatly reduced.
While the classrooms are Air Conditioned, the corridors do not have any equipment provided. As we pump in the Treated Fresh Air in the rooms, maintaining the room pressure, the excess air spills out into the corridors and thus the corridors become comfortable. Further, non conditioned corridors also provide a buffer zone for students coming from warm outdoors and vice versa.
As explained above, the hot air always rises up. The buildings are so designed that all the rooms open into a big courtyard having a huge Atrium. This Atrium has clear openings on the top. This naturally creates the ‘Chimney Effect’ and all the hot air from all the rooms and corridors travel up the Atrium and is vented out into the atmosphere automatically. This ensures comfortable conditions indoors and without any use of additional energy.
We keep a Window to Wall ratio about 35. Following techniques are used in terms of keeping such huge glazing area and still not letting the outside heat enter the rooms:
We use energy efficient lighting system using CFL and T5 Lamps. All the Luminaires are selected which are Mirror Optics and focus all the light to the required area and not wasting any light. The Ballast used inside is electronic from reputed manufacturers. We benefit on two counts here. CFLs and T5s are the most energy efficient. And the mirror optics further reduce the requirement of the number of Luminaires.
In peak summers the ambient temperature ranges around 42 – 45 degrees in this part of the world. Inside the buildings, the Central Air Conditioning system maintains a temperature of 24 degrees which is comfortable to Human Beings. Worldwide Air Conditioning consumes about 65% of the total Energy used in buildings. At Pathways we have very carefully taken certain out of the box measures that have resulted in the reduction of HVAC load to a great extent:
The requirement of Fresh Air is multifold in the indoor sports areas. Yet the comfortable temperature has to be maintained for the sportsmen. We have used natural methods in attaining these. The indoor sports Arena are constructed in the Lower Ground Floor about 3 metres below ground level. This naturally keeps the temperature in moderate levels. Then we have introduced 50000 cfm of Fresh Air through Earth Air Tunnels which cools the Indoor Sports Arena. This way we are cooling these areas with 100% fresh air without any use of Chilled Water thus absolutely no load on the HVAC system.
Like the Indoor Sports Arena, the Swimming Pools are also constructed in the Lower Ground Floor about 3 metres below the ground. Since these pools are heated for all-weather use, this placement, to a good extent, naturally takes care of the temperature of the water.
This has resulted in a saving of about 310 KW of the load.
The Plant Room has been constructed in the basement adjacent to the Indoor Sports Arena/Swimming Pool. This automatically takes care of the conditions inside as basements are always cool in summers and comfortable in winters. Further to ensure that the Deisel Generators run with optimum fuel consumption, their ventilation with cool air is utmost important. In normal cases Air Washers are installed in the Plant Room to provide cool air for DG Sets ventilation. Here we have achieved this without any equipmemt installation in the following ways:
By doing these measures we have done the Plant Room Cooling and DG Sets Ventilation without installing any equipment but using the cool air which otherwise would have thrown away. This has resulted in saving to the tune of about 85 KW of equipment which otherwise would have to be installed.
Pathways campuses are huge land areas. The residential campus is 32 Acres and the other two campuses are over 10 Acres each. Here we do a ground coverage of only about 22%-25% and the rest of the areas are open spaces, playfields, plantations etc. Thousands of trees of varied species are planted on the open areas. These plantations are strategically deployed. There is a dense plantation along the boundary walls mainly of trees that grow good height and are dense. So any air entering the campus is filtered through these trees. Further, there is dense plantation done on the periphery of all the buildings which cuts the heat and keeps the buildings cool. Regular watering of these trees creates evaporation which in turn creates a cooler atmosphere.
Being huge campuses ranging from 32 Acres to 10 Acres and having huge terrace areas of buildings, all the stormwater is channelized into the intelligently designed storm water drain network. The network is so designed that it not only accommodates the water that comes through the rain in the campus area, but also the water that flows inside the campus because of the natural terrain and nallas from surrounding areas. This network then guides water again to the natural nallas to go out of the campus. Enroute good numbers of rainwater harvesting pits are built and are strategically located near to a Bore Well so that these borewells get the recharge. All these years we have seen Bore Wells in the surrounding areas getting dry, but ours always remain charged and this is only because of the Harvesting System we have deployed.
Terraces are open to the sun heat and radiate a lot of heat inside. This increases the airconditioning load on the top floor of the building. Here again we go the natural way. We lay the Brick Bats over the RCC Roof for insulation. This is then plastered and then on top, broken China Mosaic of White and light colours are layed. This china mosaic reflects the heat from the sun and being of light colours do not absorb any heat either. And whatever little is left, the Brick Bats take care of not passing it through.
Watering such huge green campuses requires a lot of water. Here we meet about 80% of the requirement just by recycling the wastewater. The Sewage Treatment Plant is designed to use least of chemicals and power. The total power required to run a 150 KLD Plant is 7.5 KW thus saving huge power costs. All the wastewater is channelized to the in house Sewage Treatment Plant installed. All this sewage is treated in such a way that only a very little amount of sludge is left and all the water is treated and filtered with appropriate chemical properties to be used for horticulture. This water then is supplied to the carefully designed irrigation system which is designed after carefully assessing the amount of water required in various greens and plants. And the water that comes out from the STP is so rich in minerals that practically we do not require to use any fertilizer and the plants are always lush green!! Thus, we are not drawing any fresh water for irrigation.
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