Hyderabad Boasts one of the oldest green buildings in India with LEED Platinum accreditation, the CII Sohrabji Godrej Green Building Centre. The approach towards the creation of this truly sustainable campus gives equal regards to the traditional practices and modern technological innovations in the built sector. Apart from the sustainable and inclusive building, the organization also promotes behavioral changes to further lower emissions. Bicycle riders are treated preferentially and other initiatives like carpools, bicycles, and battery-operated vehicles are encouraged reducing the emissions up to 60%.
Within the site, the building is located on a relatively flat section such that the natural topography could be left undisturbed. Lush vegetation surrounds the built form in order to reduce the pollution from outside entering the building premises. Besides taking measures to control topsoil erosion, the design was conceived to produce minimum disturbance upon the ecological environment of the site (limited to 40 feet from the building footprint). This has carried out a significant role in conserving the ecosystem of the site by not hampering the existing flora and fauna.
Waste materials from industries and post-consumer goods were recycled and used as construction materials and the majority of the Virgin material sourced within a 500-mile radius from the site. Construction waste and leftovers were repurposed by dispatching them to other sites or recycled so that materials are kept in the loop and don't end up in landfills. Majority of the built form uses aerated concrete blocks for facades made up of Fly-ash, they act as insulators and reduce the air-conditioning load by 15-20%. Other materials used include glass, aluminum, ceramic tiles and bagasse-based composite wood for the office furniture.
Building rating systems give considerable credit to Indoor air quality as it defines occupant comfort to a certain extent; CII responds by regularly monitoring the IAQ, and continuous fresh air is supply into the conditioned space. Passive techniques are also used to maintain thermal comfort by drawing in fresh air like wind towers. Supplementary strategies include reducing toxins by the use of low volatile organic compound (VOC) paints and coatings, adhesives, sealants, and carpets.
Specially designed sanitary fixtures like waterless urinals in men's restroom and ultra-low and low-flow flush fixtures for WCs help the building reach one step closer to its water efficiency goals. The generated wastewater (grey and black) is treated in the Root Zone Treatment System up to the standards listed by Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) norms. The treated water is further used for watering the landscaped areas. Apart from these initiatives, permeable grid pavers are used for water to seep in; these practices have led to a 35% reduction in Municipal Water supply.
From the initial stage, extensive energy simulation exercises were embarked on to work out the orientation, building form and fenestrations to minimize the heat ingress while allowing natural daylight to penetrate abundantly. Although daylighting reduces the lighting energy demands it brings in heat radiation, which is lowered by the use of double-glazed panels with argon gas filling.
Building Management Systems (BMS) are installed for real-time monitoring of energy consumption by ventilation, lighting, power systems, etc. The green roof covers more than 50% of the roof area and serves a dual purpose by Earth sheltering to reduce heat loss and help maintain a steady indoor air temperature; remaining area is covered by installing solar panels leading to 20% reduction in the energy demands.
· The concept of the structure is derived from the Pancha Bhutas which dictate that life exists by balancing elements and what draws itself from nature must return to that. The building reduces its footprint by giving back to nature as it borrows from it.
· The central courtyard represents another traditional element prevalent in ancient Indian Architecture. Its a ocular anchor, social interaction space, and environment control (light and air)center of a structure which remains the focal inward-looking space of the ring-shaped building.
· The use of jalis is another climate control device of India, they allow controlled passage of air and diffused light into the interior space and throw aesthetic patterns of light and shadow on the floor.