Saturday, August 08, 2009

A question

Is it possible to power an entire corporate building/hotel/school/mall or any other huge facility/community which is as close to zero carbon as possible.
From what I gather, some of the structures I mention utilize equipment that need a stable power supply. I know that some equipment in various industries in India are run by generators.
Out of curiosity, would it be possible to make a structure like Spencer Plaza or Tidel Park completely 'green'? What are the options available in India? Are there laws or something on those lines which give facilities or exemptions for some facilities that reduce the carbon footprints or achieve the carbon zero challenge in India?
Could you please care to enlighten me on this?

P.S: Its just not possible, that with the number of brainy people in our country, we do not have a way. What is perhaps missing is transparency and awareness of the talent. I am going to be looking out for those people. If you know someone let me know. I am trying to see if I can 'green' power my home with the capacity to operate sensitive equipment as well.


Praveen said...

It will take a long time in india. But Abu Dhabi has started;

Abhu Dhabi has started

Zero Carbon option for Solihull home

You migh tbe interested in this video

Imagination said...

Hi Chinmayi,
Green energy is available in US too but its slightly expensive than the regular kind.

srini said...

There are lots of ways to reduce our carbon foot print !!!
The day is not so far in our country!

We could start by few little things like changing our lighting technology ( incadescent to CFL to LED lighting).It will reduce the amount of power wasted in our home.

Second is looking at rewable enery like solar / wind which are much available.

Change the equipments which has standby mode

look at
for giverment initiaves

(Download Tips for Energy Conservation for Domestic)

To start with these info is fine. Can send few more if interested to know more !

Its high time to
Think Green !!!!!!!!!!!

Singularity said...

Hi Chinmayee...

Thats a kewl question... and more of a "need of the hour" q...

It can certainly be done.. no doubt abt it... Ther are a long list of possible Green supplements which can replace other direct or indirect carbon emissions.... I have come across several quotes in Discovery and NGC about projects in NewYork, Dhubai, China... and certain other places too...

> For a building the most common thing power supplement wud be solar panels... Newer technology offers transparent Solar panels which can cover the windows in short whole sun facing sides of a building can be covered in solar panels.. Which can supplement the power needs and also pump power back into the grid.. greener than green :)

> There is a proposal for a building which acts as a vertical wind mill to be started in Dhubai i guess. different sections of the building will be mounted on a central pole and wud be free to rotate.. and wud generate power.. but this is basically for those very high rise buildings where the power of wind will be fairly high..

>A self sustained Biomass setup could be used to use and resue the waste from the building,.. this will offer power, heating, compost and wud also help the environ by not dumping un treated waste into the sewage...

>I have seen a programme where they plan a huge garden at the roof of high rise buildings.. use green house effect to grow them.. use the vegetables and fruits.. and the process also produces a lot of heat which can be used for space heating...

>It is certainly not advisable to use the huge Wind mills in a office/school or home.. cos it deprives the area off air... But smaller wind mills can be used in the terrace of fairly high buildings like 5/6+storeys... which can produce a handfull amt of power...

>One most common green energy capturing technology which is already in use in India is the solar water heater...

>There are other exotic ideas of capturing energy from lightning... its too primitive and dangerous.. and out of the list...

All the above mentioned ideas wud certainly shoot our budget by a huge margin... But some balanced outlook can atleat offer half of all the power we wud use...

Solar pannels at the roof and sun facing walls is the best bet... in my opinion :) :)

Thanks for givin me the opp to pen my idea !

Santhosh Nandakumar

srini said...

If you know someone let me know. I am trying to see if I can 'green' power my home with the capacity to operate sensitive equipment as well.

----> We cannot compromise on our work or requirement.But still can save lots of energy if RIGHT alternative technology is adopted at each requirement at home

Singularity said...

missed some... :)

It wud be another decade before we see such things here in India i guess.. i am dying to see such things power country like India... we need them the most... Am also not too sure abt the laws and options available with our EB, but i know that there are sevral individuals and companies which own Wind Turbines.. and are getting paid in money or get their Electricity bills adjusted against the amount they feed back to the grid.. donno if the same is possible with Urban buildings...

I guess its possible in US,... and the Electricity meter will run in reverse if we feed back more than what we use... Things like dat have to come to India to encourage ppl to use Solar Panels and domestic Wind mills...

Santhosh Nandakumar

Singularity said...

am sorry to break the comment into several pieces...I went to bed and
was thinking abt this blog...came across some basic ideas for greener

actually we cannot totally depend on renewables as they are
unpredictable... so savin energy is wud the foremost green option...
natural light can be used wherever possible, higer ceilings can cool
the room better.. smart sensor based lightings can be used to save
energy.. we can certainly implement these with facilities available in
our country.. and follow up with renewables as and when the technology
knocks the (in our country) common man's door

santhosh again !

Joshi said...

Yes many places around the world are achieving near zero carbon emission. Check this about the best Green Buildings in the world.
You will be surprised to find some Indian names in it...
As in India there is run by CII.

Mathavan said...

Energy source currently in use is carbon based. Probably, all other energy sources are either in primitive stages of research or of forbidding cost or ineffcient.

World needs a Newton. :)

Vamsee said...

Green Building is a very vast topic, and you will need a lot of research for doing this right. There is no 'one true way' for a building to be green. A lot depends on the environment the building will be built upon, and how effectively it is taken advantage of, and conserved at the same time.

The authoritative certification for any green building is a LEED rating. Widely respected and acknowledged. You can start from there, and go into all the nitty gritties it mentions: Good luck!

Hariharan said...


finally ur also goin d green way...

here are certain links that could enlighten u on the grave issue facing mankind

chk dis out at how a corporate company has helped in their way

these are some other links that may be useful

msr said...

Like most others have pointed out solar could be a better option.

I think we should address those areas first where energy is spent needlessly and promptly cut wastage which could go a great way in reducing the carbon footprint.

Thought would refer this, although related only slightly remotely to the question in hand.
The HOME Project
Hour and half long video briefing Life's origins and how Man pillaged the natural resources. Every frame is a visual treat.

Anonymous said...

hi chinmayi..

as off now there is no technology available to support the power requirement of a whole building in a greener way..

may be instead of using diesel generators we can use UPS power supply which mainly uses batteries.. But after their life times these batteries will also constitute chemical waste..

Solar panels are pretty costly.. still cost of production for solar panels have not been optimised.. that is the reason why they are not widely used.. nowadays solar water heaters are in use in few places..

But instead of generating power in each building and using it for them the practical solution would be harvesting green power and distributing just like our coal power plants do.. Winds mills, hydro electricity can be quoted as examples for such power generations..

if i am right the govt of india has decided to power the homes of all the governors withe solar energy!! i heard it in some news channel..


Chintalvaady said...


I always dream of having my home completely powered by the solar energy.I hope u also have such ambitions..,Though i cant get into technical details,I can tell that it`s certainly possible to "GO GREEN" completely.As far as awareness about "GOING GREEN" is concerned..,I think u can contribute a lot by making use of your "celebrity" status.I hope u will take up such activities to create awareness about "GOING GREEN" in future.

Garfield said...

I believe Great lakes Institure of Management in manamai, 8 KM off Mahabalipuram on the way to Pondy is a platinum rated green building. They recently inagurated the building.

Ramki said...

Hi Chinmayi,

That is a good thought process. There are possible ways of doing that. But it would require a lot of money. However Zero carbon at this modern world could be almost impossible or we would have wait for more advanced technology to be invented. You would need a separate mini power plant kind of thing to convert any source to power and store it for future use, be it a. We Indians face a very irregular climatic condition that actually requires more of planning (If you are going for Hydro(during rainy days or Solar power during summers).

Here are some links that could help you with that

Note for all those who are reading this blog
1. There is still a debate going on if Solar power is carbon free(I remember reading some exp proved CO evolves for solar power plant at a small scale).
2. That was always us and our necessity which dragged the environment to this stage. There are Zero Carbon houses already in many places in India and South Africa who don't use electricity and eat raw food. We gratefully call them villagers and aboriginal.

Balaji P G said...

Solar technology is still in its primitive stages and not much success has been achieved as of now. Research projects are getting kick started in solar technology in many universities including mine (NUS - Singapore). Practically speaking you can reduce carbon footprint to some extent by using comments suggested by people above, however, for sustainable green power, you need to wait for few more years. Everything starts from baby steps, so don't take the leap yet and go slow.

Mumbai meri jaan... said...

It has happened in India. Those who don't know about it should google about Orchid restaurant in Mumbai. The mastermind is Mr. Vitthal Kamat.

jishu said...

Hi akka,

Tips for greening your own home that will save you money and help prevent climate change:

1. Insulate in the attic because hot air rises and you could be losing as much as 15% of the home’s heat through the roof, costing you £110 and the environment one tonne of CO2 per year. Current recommendations are for 270mm of insulation

2. To stop heat escaping through your windows, draw the curtains at night, or install a primary or secondary glazing system. The product comes as different sized easy to fit acrylic sheets that are attached to the interior of a window frame with a magnetic strip. Prices start from £40 per m2.ent one tonne of CO2 per year. Current recommendations are for 270mm of insulation.

3. Install energy efficient lights bulbs which last far longer than normal bulbs. They cost a bit more than ordinary ones but you’ll find plenty of places giving them away free, perhaps your energy supplier.

4. Fit air-flow taps and showerheads. For example, the ecocamel showerhead reduces the flow rate of water per minute from 12 litres with a conventional showerhead to 6.7 litres. Over a year, a family of four will save 30,000 litres of water and knock around £140 off their annual energy bill, or up to £250 if they have a water meter. Priced at £24.95.

5. If you have an older style toilet (fitted pre-1991) you could be wasting three litres with every flush compared to a modern low flush toilet which uses six litres per flush. Adding a displacement device, such as Hippo the Water Saver, will reduce the amount of water used per flush, saving as much as 40% annually. The price is just £1.95.

Roof - The roof provides an enormous amount of space that can be utilised to capture the elements’ power i.e. wind and sun. The sun’s radiation can be ‘tapped’ as solar energy to heat water or converted into electricity. There are many types of thermal solar panels - such as flat plat collectors and cylindrical evacuated tube collectors - whereby the heat radiated by the sun is turned into hot water. Photovoltaic (pv) panels convert the sunlight into electricity via an inverter. Direct sunlight is not required to generate electricity via pv; solar thermal is dependent on sunlight to heat water. Ideally, both systems should be installed on a south (or south west) facing roof. Solar thermal installation adequate to heat an average three-bedroom house will cost £4-5,000. A 3kW pv system that would produce enough electricity for the average family’s use costs around £12,000 to install.

Eswar said...

Hi Chinmayi,

In India, there are so many Green Buildings are available. CII-godrej Green Business Centre,Hyderabad is the first one obtained platinum certification from LEED-US GBC.You can check it up the following site to know about Green building.

I visited CII-GBC three years ago. They are using Wind power & Solar power for Electricity geenration. Energy Efficient Lighting & air conditioning, fully automated building(Even light output is controlled there), Waste utilization, Zero discharge etc are the necessities for Green buiding

In chennai Grundfos Pump factory is also certified as one of the Green Building.

India has made some significant impact particulary CII(Confederation of Indian Industry) in the Green Energy Trend.

if you would like to know further details you can mail me to



Hariharan said...

there are also other things u can u being a media personality u can encourage people to go green by investing in wind and solar is profitable venture both commercially as well as environment u know that bollywood celebrities like aishwarya rai, srk have all invested in windmills...they cost 1 cr per machine which can be recovered in 2 years the power they generate after that is profit..and also TN is d leading state in the country as far as wind energy is concerned.

nash said...

one fact I would like to comment or critisice, whatever,

I appreciate the fact about the so-called "Go green" residences. But WHY is nothing done for the emissions from bikes, car, bus? Perhaps environmental concerns are also driven by Economic factors


Anonymous said...

I heard someone saying ramachandra medical college generates their own power I believe,does any one know

KK said...

try to use some renewable sources to reduce the carbon footprint...for commercial spaces, you can reduce the emissions to an extent...beyond a point, you can buy carbon credits and get the "carbon neutral" certification.

musicpaithiyam said...

almost everyone has suggestions to utilize non-renewable energy sources.

In my opinion, any country, or society requiring to change the existing living standard to go green, would at first have to create awareness...

awareness not amongst the people in top echelons of society, but at the very bottom level.

As with any change, this "going green" effort, currently, is at best a 'fashionable trend', more than anything else. Something is better than nothing, yes.... But being a country with one of the heaviest population densities in the world, with so much communal, regional, religious and various other diversities, it would most certainly require a tremendous shift in attitude of the common man, in order to bring about a change of such magnitude.

Other things will just follow naturally.. :)

Saranyan said...

Hola Chinmayi,

Last year I was working on the same topic in Sweden. The Swedes are a bit foresighted and advanced on this matter I should say. Hydrogen power supplies are thoroughly investigated these days for alternate power sources. The good thing about Hydrogen power is the waster that comes out will only be water vapour! The problem how ever is to store Hydrogen. There are some successful methods to do this. Other methods are Lithium ion bombardment, solar cells etc. Lack of funding for fundamental research is one of the reasons India couldn't go far in this even when the necessity is at the peak. I plan to start a research center in India in 3 years that will focus on this issue and other nanoscience related topics. It is a mighty task and a great risk, but India might benifit.. ;)

Swarna said...

omg! people just copy paste off the internet! Jishu for eg. It's all from the Energy Savings Trust UK website (btw: i work for them!) How can roof insulation even be necessary for a place like chennai!!

The western world is more carbon reliant because they need space heating due to the winter weather conditions.
As someone who's day job is renewables feasibility studies and energy efficiency, i can safely say Renewables is the way forward. With the amount of sun we get in chennai, Solar PV or solar water heating is the best way forward. On days when it rains or there's no sun, you can get "grid electricity " to power the homes. YEs it is expensive to instal Solar PV panels, but they payback is around 10-12 years for an avg usage home in a city like chennai. THe Govt should pass a ruling to make complusory the installation of some form of renewable energy ( Solar PV/hot water) for larger projects/larger private homes (essentially people who can afford it) and that way when it's a law atleast theres's some hope of it being implemented. Some what similar to Rain water harvesting in Tamilnadu.

my 2 pence worth! if you need precise calculations for input/output for Solar PV or any other, happy to do it when time finds me free! best wishes!

Anonymous said...

The Best Part is that so many people are aware of it :)
Re : Query !
I am an Engineering student and there was this lecture by Mr.Karan Grover who specialises in "green" buildings and has done fantastic projects for MNC's, google him and you can get some proper contacts for greening your building! And lastly, I remember reading that The Olympia Tech Park In Guindy is Absolutely Green and has an accreditation for that..

Neo said...

I was reading about startup from IIM grads... came across as startup called NextGen which deals in clean technology... get in touch with them, maybe they can help you!

Read the article in the ET link below...

k said...

It is quite complex as of now. But there is research going on; not quite in India. You could use green power in your home- very much possible.

And yes there is hardly trained researchers in India despite its population.

Smart! :)