India: A Radiant Cooling Building in Pocharam To Be Asia’s First Sustainable Energy Campus

The east wing (right) has radiant cooling instead of variable air volume (VAV) systems.

By setting up a Radiant Cooling building in Pocharam, Infosys plans to set an example for companies across the globe.

On World Environment day observed recently, Infosys exhibited its new radiant cooling building, which saves close to 40 per cent energy. This is apart from the company’s other green initiatives. The building, located at Pocharam, is said to be Asia’s first sustainable energy campus. The idea has not only appealed to the employees working with Infosys but also those working with companies like Google who had come down to the campus to be part of the event.

Rohan M Parik, associate vice-president, head – infrastructure of Infosys, said, “We are always looking for ways to save energy. The idea to build such a building came about after a visit to a historic monument in the City. The interior of these structures are cool even without the use of electricity. We wanted to attain the same concept. We gave ourselves a challenge that we would reduce the use of energy by 50 per cent and to making that possible was a big task.”

The process

Moving water is more efficient than moving air because of its physical and thermal properties. Water can carry 3,400 times the energy that air can for the same volume. This property of water is used to achieve maximum advantage in a radiant cooling system. Also, the natural manner in which the human body dissipates heat is mainly through radiation. This is the primary principle used in radiant cooling. Cold water flows through pipes embedded in a slab and cools the entire slab resulting in the slab surface being maintained at about 20 deg C. Cooling inside the office is achieved when the cold slab absorbs the heat (radiation) generated by people, computers, lighting and other equipment which are exposed to the slab.

Green profits

Another point the company makes is that going green has been highly profitable for them and small sacrifices from the part of employees are helping in the company’s growth. “Since we implemented the green initiation scheme, the company has been saved from using an additional 300 million units of electricity. There are goals that we follow to become a green company and the most important of all is to inspire the employees to take up the initiative,” said Parik.

Leading the charge

This building is 40 per cent more efficient than the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) standards and the lighting design is 50 per cent more efficient. This ensures that the entire office is day-lit without glare from 8 am to 5 pm. The building is designed according to solar passive principles and has a high performance building envelope, consisting of insulated walls and roof.

One half of the building runs on air conditioning and the other on radiation cooling. The company conducted a survey which was prepared by the University of Berkeley (USA) and Braunschweig University of Technology (Germany) to check which side the employees felt better. Most employees felt that the building with the radiant cooling was much better.

The future is green

This is not the only Green Project the company is involved with; they plan to plant close to 70,000 trees in the near future with the ‘Eco Club’ (where many employees are actively involved and working towards an environmentally- friendly campus). There is also a lake that can store 3,00,000 cubic metres of water and rain water harvesting equipment is in place. When we checked with few employees, most of them felt they were part of their company’s green initiatives and were happy about the radiant cooler and other projects.

Global impact

The Radiant Cooling project has now influenced many companies across the globe. Recently representatives from Google came down to Hyderabad to check on it and might soon start on the same system at their headquarters in America.

The Infosys team plans to use the same concepts in upcoming building projects and are hoping to set an example and also help build a safe and clean environment.

Source: Postnoon

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