We are elated to be presenting you with the third edition of the GreenLetter - Sustainable Cooling for Thermal Comfort. We are in the initial phases of 2021 with new hopes, targets and renewed enthusiasm for adopting green ways of functioning. The GreenLetter is a dedicated platform for producing the latest news, information and technological advancements in the field of green buildings and energy conservation. Our team at GreenTree acts as a think-tank for laying out its industry experience in the form of this newsletter which elaborates on current green practices, exemplary  performances, new construction trends, etc. After last year’s ‘virtual working pattern’, we are now slowly embracing  the reality of working towards our common goal of building and sustaining green communities in India.

The Newsletter begins with the update over Green Buildings and relative analysis of various progressive states registering their upcoming projects under various green building certification programs in the country. This issue also highlights the problems of existing behavioral patterns and role of smart metering in energy consumption in high-rise residential buildings. It talks about the India Cooling Action Plan, in a bid to generate awareness among all associated stakeholders. We conclude this quarter’s issue with a brief case study on GRIHA Large Development for the Master Plan rating for Nalanda University and how this can prove to be beacon of sustainability across the country. We engaged in an interesting conversation with Mr. Phillip Munzinger - Climate and Energy specialist at GIZ, about sustainable cooling solutions for India and how private organizations can partner in the mission of ‘Cooling for All’ led by the government.

Also, lastly, don’t miss the expression of interest and call for interview in the last section, if you are discovering sustainable development industry and see yourself fit for the described role.

Here’s to a Greener Future!

Cooling has been linked to economic activity and growth of the rural and urban sectors of India. Cooling is not only imperative to thermal comfort for the urbane class, but for all nooks and crannies of India. It is also a method to map overall community health and growth by creating open channels for accessibility to affordable, efficient and clean cooling technologies.

Energy consumption for space cooling will go as high as 600 TWh in 2027-2038, with 52% of the contribution made by room ACs. A report titled ‘India Room Air Conditioner Market 2020: Market Forecast by Types, Capacity, Applications, Regions & Competitive Landscape’ details out that the Indian air conditioner market will register a healthy growth in the coming years.

Additionally, growth in number of construction projects across all metro & tier-2 cities along with increasing government spending towards public infrastructures could foresee increase in the demand for indoor air conditioners in the country in near future.

When it comes to energy consumption for ventilation and thermal comfort in rural areas, more than 70% of households tend to use fans. As per Indian Cooling Action Plan (ICAP), the current penetration of indoor air conditioners in rural households are low, thus indicating the households’ dependency on fans, air-coolers or passive cooling from ventilation, envelop insulation and window shading for thermal comfort.

As natural ventilation for thermal comfort is often associated with indoor air quality, the site of the building plays a vital role in determining the overall health and productivity of occupants.

Buildings, which are situated next to high- traffic areas with almost-zero barrier or a tree lane, open parking lots and street parking where vehicles idle, and large openings, entryways, etc. are more prone to drawing dust and pollution. Along with location, openings for fresh air intake must be closely monitored so as to prohibit entering of pollen and exhumes from vehicle exhaust

If the building is majorly dependent on HVAC  for cooling, mould growth and dampness also have adverse effects on the health of occupants, especially on children in schools and indoor gyms. A bigger health risk arises when refrigerants start to leak inside the building. It is, therefore, important to address these health concerns linked with thermal comfort (ventilation) among children and adults, alike.

A Green Building is one such solution which could possibly defer the use of air conditioners and ensure better indoor quality. Read below to learn about the Green Market growth.

Green Building Market in India

India has witnessed tremendous bend towards awareness around sustainably across diverse sectors in the past decade. The team at GreenTree Global, conducted an in-house research to map the trajectory of green buildings across the country. Industry experts predict that the new construction in Indian metro cities will majorly be green buildings, catering to the international demand for sustainable developments.

Our study depicts , there has been a consistent growth in the registration and certification of the green buildings in the past one year.  The Quarter of October 2020 – December 2020 saw an overall increase in the green building registrations across all sectors, be it residential, commercial or industrial.

For integrative analysis, the levels in various rating systems are merged into common performance level, i.e. Outstanding, Excellent, Marked, Competent Performance as per the data received from GBCI, IGBC, GRIHA & ASSOCHAM GEM and data collected through desk research.

Maharashtra continues to take away the accolades as the state saw the highest number of voluntary enrolments for green building certification.As per the LEED Public Directory (Q3: October-December, 2020), Tamil Nadu has topped the charts for registration for green buildings followed by Punjab.

Gujarat is in process of emerging as a Green and Clean state, as it registered the highest number of projects in the last quarter under IGBC Building Certification (Q3: October-December, 2020). Maharashtra, behind by just one project, once again stands firm as one of Greenest States in the country.

GRIHA has made a dominant place in the Green Building Industry. And yet again Maharashtra takes the cake away with the highest number of registered as well as certified projects in (Q3: October-December, 2020). The rated building number reflects that it is a preferred rating system for policy makers and stakeholders in this state.

In an urge to develop inclusive, green and affordable housing in the country, ASSOCHAM has stepped into the right domain by ensuring that even the marginalised communities live a life of dignity. Uttar Pradesh breaks the record of Maharashtra, by emerging as a green state among ASSOCHAM GEM's rated projects for Q3: October-December, 2020.

The State of Haryana: Revisiting 2019-2020

The state of Haryana, particularly in Gurugram, registered a healthy growth in real estate projects with Haryana RERA in 2019-20. Approximately 8,500 new units have been launched in Gurugram from January to May 2019, comprising nearly 51 per cent of the total supply in the entire NCR. Owing to IT giants like Google, Apple, Oracle, Wipro and The Big 4, the city has seen booming population settlements in the metropolitan areas of Gurugram. With the market demand soaring, another aspect of importance that has emerged with the trends is green building design & construction in Haryana.

The Haryana Building Code 2017 offers FAR incentives for Green Rated Projects by recognised agencies like LEED, IGBC and GRIHA. The government agencies in the state are persuading builders to opt for green building certification as well. Property owners and stakeholders in the government are proactive in the green building segment by setting benchmarks and participating voluntarily in the rating systems. This encourages healthy competition among other states. The Department of New and Renewable Energy, Government of Haryana, maintains a list of BEE star rated buildings along with empanelled ECBC experts, architects and master trainers.

The State of Haryana: Year 2020 and Beyond

The Ease of Living Index 2020 ranks India's most liveable, sustainable and best performing cities on the basis of quality of life, economic capabilities and green development. The looming threats of climate change can cause irreversible damage to the environment and quality of life, if not mitigated right away. Haryana's Gurugram is scored 57.34 and Faridabad is scored 53.17 out of 100 in the Million+ (population) cities category in the index. This index factors in developmental aspects like sustainability & green spaces and environmental factors like air quality, water quality, etc. Compared to the most liveable cities like Pune(66.27/100) and Chennai (62.61/100), Gurugram and Faridabad fall among the poor performing cities (other examples: Lucknow, Delhi, Mumbai, Indore, etc.)

When infrastructural requirements collapse and do not perform as envisioned, an individual's purchasing power goes up. Densely developed cities give rise to the urban heat island effect due to street canyons and sparse flora, which increases day time temperatures and causes people to invest in mechanical cooling equipment. Therefore, equating purchasing ability with quality of life can no longer be used as a litmus test for growth.

Capturing Energy-use Behavioural Patterns through smart meters in high rise residential buildings

The residential sector in India, consumes approximately 24% of the national electricity (IESS) with 45% of the demand generated from the space cooling (BEE,2018). The way companies (primarily IT/IT-enabled) operate now, especially after the pandemic, has altered their working system and most of the companies have granted their employees the liberty to work from home whilst ensuring sustained output. This has led to increasing residential energy-consumption and reduced commercial energy and space requirements.

Majority of the regions in India experiences surging temperatures throughout the day with temperatures reaching as high as 50 degrees in hot states like Rajasthan. Cooling for thermal comfort is largely dependent on air-conditioners and desert coolers i.e. conventional cooling equipment.

If we compare the 5-year temperature charts of predominantly cold hill stations of India, the situation does not appear to be any different from the hot plains.
We plotted two graphs, mapping the gradual yet worrying temperature rise seen in Shimla, Coorg and Shillong for two hot summer months – May and June.

We escape to the hills when it’s raining fire on the plains. Looking at the trend set by the past 5 years, where will we escape to now? Part of the reason for such a state of these places could be attributed to the fact that there has been a rapid rise in urbanisation in these cities, inviting population movement and increased foot fall. This results in development interventions by the hospitality industry: larger hotels, development of greenfields, over-consumption of resources, waste generated by tourism etc.

The cooling load is bound to increment, resulting in higher carbon emissions and hazardous air quality. Much of the energy consumption in the residential sector goes unchecked and is spent ruthlessly, with little to no regard to green building codes and energy conservation codes. ECBC advices to maintain the air conditioner’s temperature to 24 degrees Celsius, but it is taken lightly and not duly followed through.  

What are Smart Meters telling you?

Smart Meters are one way to monitor consumption and demand patterns in high-rise residential buildings. GreenTree Global offers energy metering solutions for the commercial and residential sectors. The smart-meters are integrated with IoT and help to keep track of daily energy consumption. It sends real time consumption information to the user and alerts if unusual consumption trends are detected. Click here to learn more.

The team sourced smart meter data from three apartments namely: G, D and H. ‘D’ is a green-rated apartment, whereas ‘G’ and ‘H’ are conventional apartments.  The data points collected are from two days, July 20, 2020 (summer day) and December 18, 2020 (winter day). All 3 apartments are built in Uttar Pradesh, which experiences temperatures as high as 40 degrees Celsius in hot summer months and as low as 11 degrees Celsius in cold winter months. On July 20, 2020, the maximum temperature was 30 degrees Celsius and on December 18, 2020, the minimum temperature was 11 degrees Celsius.

When we compare the increase in energy consumption of the three specimens, ‘G’ displays the highest consumption drop, of nearly 60.71%. ‘D’ displays 41.40% of consumption drop and ‘H’ displays only 9.77% drop.

What we can infer from ‘G’s consumption data is that they are mainly dependent on mechanical space cooling measures for inhabitant comfort, with little to no consideration for passive ventilation. While ‘D’ happens to be a green-rated apartment, it shows the comfort enabled through envelope (AAC bricks compared to red bricks).

The Smart Meter readings as a daily consumption have enabled us to understand that:
• A high performing green building requires its envelope to be airtight and insulated in order to maintain an optimum amount of treated air within the facility for the longest time.
• Some or all of the electrical appliances and systems are not performing as per the owner’s original requirements and vision. A thorough building audit is required to re-establish energy saving goals and consider operational maintenance/retrofit activities.
• There is a lack of consumer awareness about energy-efficient and BEE Star-rated appliances. There is a need to conduct awareness programmes to gauge penetration levels of green technologies, climate-responsive design and alternative thermal comfort strategies.
•  The envisioned impact of ENS can only be realised if it is actively incorporated in the building by-laws of municipalities or urban local bodies.

The role of efficient building envelope in India Cooling Action Plan (ICAP)

Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change came up with India Cooling Action Plan, in September 2018, as an initiative that accounts in all the industry stakeholders to further synergise actions for addressing the cooling demand across all sectors. As the Government is implementing schemes for building affordable housing such as under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, the newer developments could benefit from careful building orientation and massing, use of eco-friendly and sustainable building material and mandatory implementation of ENS. These interventions have proven to be a cost-effective way to reduce energy bills and achieve thermal comfort. It is responsible for a significant portion of the total energy consumption of the built environment and in residential buildings, it contributes to nearly 5-15% of energy savings.

Let us throw a bit of focus on certain envelope subparts, such as cool roof or green roof technologies. Green Roof is a green building technology that is suited to the climate of India. It is a relatively cheap option for cooling requirements with substantial benefits. Imagine growing a non-intensive, adaptive and climate-friendly garden atop your roof which offers a great break-out space for building occupants and contributes to reduced HVAC loads! While cities like Delhi and Bangalore are now exploring such innovative design patterns, it is still a long shot from becoming mainstream in the country. This marginalised adoption arises from the fact that most building owners are hesitant about adopting this ‘cool’ technology due to fear of collapse or leakage. However, success stories from Europe suggest that only if the government starts to recognise this technology and sow the seed for pilot projects to take off, people will come to realise its ecological benefits.

culture of erecting buildings, mostly and unfortunately, is dependent completely on mechanical cooling systems. It often invites discomfort for the occupants. Heat gain in summers in conventional buildings is a common problem. Lack of passive design techniques like insulation or buildings with huge glass facades, leakage from building envelope, etc.  trap heat which lead to high usage of air conditioners. This further leads to HVAC systems to bungle and blow out much before its intended usage time.

India is a developing economic power. Longevity of life along with health and fitness of our people is a matter of great concern. The effects of climate change can be felt with stinging realness and it is only wise that we do not turn a blind eye to the climate condition anymore. Air conditioning of internal spaces does not only have detrimental effects on the environment, but also on human health. It effects our tolerance of warm temperatures and is linked with exacerbating breathing issues among the elderly. Hence, addressing these real-world issues by the India Cooling Action Plan would certainly highlight the importance of sustaining the overall health of Indians and their spaces.

Rural Cooling: An Architect’s Approach to Sustainable Cooling

Due to rural electrification, economic growth of rural areas by various government policies, and the rising aspirations of residents, new purchases of cooling appliances are anticipated. This will result in a huge rise in cooling demand from rural areas.

There has been seen a rise in income growth of farmers due to the government policies like DFI (Doubling of Farmers’ Income). The shelved Farmer's Bills - Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill (also referred to as APMC Bypass Bill) and Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill –  are also expected to create a major impact on Indian agriculture and agro-trade. As standards of living will elevate, so will the need to make heavier and more expensive purchases in rural India specially in the residential sector.

In order to ‘delay’ the purchases and promote alternatives to achieve thermal comfort indoors, re- introducing the concept of vernacular architecture has never seen a more opportune time. Optimising the building envelope in a way which promotes the use of locally available sustainable material, not only enhances the indoor environment naturally, but also creates opportunities for community businesses to revive and thrive. The customised (let local community decide the design and material rather proto-type) design at block level with verification model. The lockdowns over the past few months have caused many local businesses to shut down and the regional industry could benefit from it tremendously.

By combining passive and active modes of ventilation in the built environment, the desired comfort levels can be obtained. However, energy-efficient and affordable cooling equipment may become an attractive investment for rural dwellers soon.

Nalanda University - GRIHA Large Development (5 Star Master Plan Rating) Net Zero Campus: A Case Study

India’s first net zero energy building found its inception in 2014 and since then, the country has embarked upon a journey of moving towards a zero or low-carbon future of living. From net zero buildings to campuses, we are now realising the beauty of resource conversation through human innovation and eco-friendly design.

A nation’s growth starts from its educational institutions, where the ecology is thought as a prime factor of development associated with the environment. A clean and healthy environment aids effective learning and provides a conducive learning arena. Educational institutions nowadays are becoming more sensitive to environmental factors as more concepts are being introduced to make them eco-friendly.  

Nalanda University was a heritage world-class institutional hub, which offered a superlative educational experience, in a sustainable environment.

GreenTree Global has helped Nalanda University's Master Plan achieve 5 Star rating from GRIHA Council and also the status of a net zero campus. The team has compiled a detailed case study of the various features incorporated by the campus to earn recognition as a ‘net zero campus’.

Click here to access the study!

GreenTree Global is a top green consultancy firm headquartered in Noida, Uttar Pradesh. GreenTree Global is working with various stakeholders in helping them attain green certification, carbon-neutrality and net zero energy goals.

Expert's Take on Sustainable Cooling for India

Mr. Philipp Munzinger is a climate and energy specialist and project manager with the GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH). He builds on more than ten years of experience in advising government bodies and industries on climate and energy policy instruments, technology transfer and capacity building programs. The team discussed the ambitious ‘Proklima’ programme with Mr. Munzinger, which is a globally active programme of GIZ. It promotes climate- and ozone-friendly as well as energy-efficient cooling technologies - Green Cooling - in developing and emerging countries. The Green Cooling approach is based on natural refrigerants such as propane, ammonia and CO2. The focus of our discussion was on Proklima’s development in India and her various sustainable cooling requirements, from space cooling in the residential sector to the cold chain process for vaccine storage.

Did you know that the maintenance of your office building is highly climate-intensive and directly effects the environment?

Facility Maintenance efficiency is the responsibility of facility managers for ensuring the functionality, comfort and safety of the built environment, in the most energy efficient manner possible.

The norm of facility or building maintenance, factoring in energy efficient repair works and retrofits, is often overlooked. Unskilled technicians are employed for annual building maintenance routines and are incapable of carrying out complex tasks related to data accuracy and analysis. At times, due to ineffective building maintenance, the owners end up paying more in terms of maintenance that slash the initial investment returns on energy- efficient equipment. These factors render the building completely inefficient and produce a high EPI (Energy Performance Index) value.

GreenTree Global comprehends this concept and correlates it with sustainability of buildings in the long term. The team has proposed to work in this segment extensively and develop a set of guidelines at the end of it. Interested participants may reach out to our research wing ([email protected]) with their EOI for collaborative study in this domain.

Call for application: Energy Efficiency Enthusiasts

If you have a background in sustainability, energy efficiency, e-Mobility, Digital Marketing and Green development, then GreenTree Global might be the right place for you. Join our dynamic team. For further details, contact - [email protected]

In-house Expert Team Comments

The team at GreenTree has been actively involved in greening the built environment in terms of improved air quality, habitable living spaces and resource efficient design. We acknowledge that access to cooling is no longer a luxury, rather a fundamental right. It is with firm belief we say that the government policies can play a major role in increasing access to affordable and green cooling with regards to policy tools for efficient urban development, stringent frameworks for manufacturing units and encouraging private-public relations for green development activities in remote areas of India.

What’s Next?

  • The emergence of e-mobility in India
  • How is e-mobility transforming our urban infrastructural requirements?
  • Integrating EV charging facilities in the existing residential setup: RWA's role re-defined
  • UKPACT: Greening urban mobility in India!

What have you missed?

Note: The team has sourced data through various rating agencies and desk research. Collaboration with other rating agencies are in progress to make the information comprehensive. For any query, please contact: [email protected]

GreenLetter (GLAPR21) Team: Suparna Havelia, Mansi Khurana, Pradeep Kumar, Dhruv Jain, Anurag Bajpai

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