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Indian Realty Trends: A Shift From Conventional To Net Zero Energy Segment

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Net Zero Homes

Zero energy homes are the most powerful trend in the real estate today. As the global climate change has become a major pressing issue of current times and hence requires meaningful action to be taken. The vertical architectures mostly are responsible for consuming an extensive chunk from the total energy production in the world.

The current scenario calls for an immediate action towards a reduced carbon future, which in turn requires net zero energy homes as the cornerstones, one that is not reliant on fossil fuels. Now arrives a futuristic home, where the residents can control their home’s energy with the flip of a switch.

Combining an advanced design and superior building system, the net zero homes are here with energy efficiency and on-site solar panels to produce a better home. As the consumer is increasingly identifying with the zero energy concept as a smart investment. The highly sustainable homes with no energy bills and zero carbon emissions seems to be a promising investment.

One of the basic components playing a major role behind this concept is sustainability. This factor needs to be integrated in the designs at the design stage itself. Using Computational fluid dynamics, solar analysis and through digital simulations a detailed design is developed, depicting an overall formal expression of the design. For a sustainable strategy, this procedure is vital at the material level.

For a better understanding of this trend in India, the study of topography, design brief, site, materials, structure and services is essential to create sustainable architecture. This integration of all the elements results in complete sustainable architecture.

The net zero energy buildings have been seeing an initiation in the drive of the Indian real estate sector. Dedicated towards creating a sustainable piece of architecture, the key Indian projects with these strategies are some of the newest of the Taj franchise like, Taj Ahmedabad and Taj Jodhpur. The reputed international hotel chain, the Hilton has constructed its Indian buildings keeping in mind the same concept, Double Tree by Hilton Kathmandu, Double Tree by Hilton Ahmedabad.

Some of the other important architectures in the country are the Trans Ganga Masterplan Kanpur, Information Directorate Headquarters Lucknow, Punjab Kesari Headquarters Delhi, Allahabad Masterplan, 50-acre net zero affordable housing in Jhansi and the Design Hotel Rohtak.

Specifically a building located in Delhi NCR (India), commissioned in 2014, the Punjab Kesari Headquarters went into construction in August 2015. Currently in the final phase of construction, it has won the International Property award for the best office Architecture India 2016-17. It was presented at the TedX talk in Bremen, Germany in 2015 as a part of the talk “Performative Aesthetics” and also the Geometry Hong Kong 2014.

Designed in the form of a fusion of contemporary office space and traditional Indian architecture, Punjab Kesari Headquarters’ major objective is to reduce heat gain and optimise façade opening ratio, making a possibility where there is a minimum requirement of the artificial lights. Owing to the different façade opening ratio based on the orientation, an animated façade gets designed as an outcome.

A traditional Indian façade was translated into a responsive built form by using digital simulations into iterative processes. This traditional Jali screen was successful in locking a cultural sense of belonging. It also achieved Lux level of 500, a sufficient level of illuminance, in the building at a workstation height from each floor plate, along with a daylight factor of 2 over 80 per cent of the floor plate.

For a complete net zero building, the sustainability is at the epicentre of the project embedded in form of, optimise natural lighting, cross ventilation and reduction of heat gain. In a double jali screen system, the temperature of the outside air in front of the glass is reduced, which results in natural ventilation and plummeting the indoor air temperature naturally, so the cooling load of the air-conditioner is reduced.

India has seen its first net zero energy building constructed with adaption of energy-efficient building materials and the solar passive design. Indira Paryavaran Bhavan, under the Central Government, has been functional over a year. The major factor behind this construction was to reinforce the need for more such buildings across the country. According to the Mili Majumdar, Director- TERI (The Energy and Resources Institute) – (Sustainable Habitat Division), it is among the first buildings in India to have used renewable energy technologies and energy efficiency at a large scale.

Being one of the exemplary projects to be rated under the Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment [GRIHA], the Indira Paryavaran Bhavan has set the standards for the future buildings. The green building strategies are aiming to maximise both the economic and environmental performance of the architecture.

In a recently published report it is stated that by 2018, India will see an increase by 20 per cent in the green building industry. But it will also face several challenges such as lack of public incentives, lack of market demand and high perceived upfront investment. Also the green building sector seems to be small when compared to the number of buildings which are planned to be constructed in the country till 2030. In this perspective of net zero energy buildings scaling up to the new constructed volume of buildings, can be viewed as a potential “game changer” by restraining greenhouse gas emissions and drastically reducing energy demand of the building sector in India.

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