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It is now beyond doubt that sustainability and energy-efficiency are being given their due importance in India, and this importance is manifesting itself in green architecture all over the country. Joining this bandwagon is a new Recreation Centre and Solarium in Delhi, to be inaugurated later this year. With all the eco-friendly aspects that are to be incorporated into its design, this Recreation centre is likely to stand out among other similar buildings.

The structure is sprawled over five acres of land, incorporating a green design that also provides a habitat of luxury in the indoors as well as the outdoors. The building is also unique for the fact that the environment created is conducive to outdoor activity throughout the year. This design has been provided by Mumbai-based architecture firm Prem Nath & Associates.

The Solarium, spread over 1 million square feet will be a multi-use destination complete with a farm, pool, gymnasium, aquatic centre and a library, all under a canopy made of enormous solar panels, a grey-water system, and passive cooling/heating design.

Glass with Aluminum

The entire structure is formed from glass and aluminum sections. Double-glazed low-e glass is held in place with high-strength horizontal fiber glass tendons and aluminum structural members. The clean construction gives way to an equally streamlined interior that is rendered clutter-free. The temperature inside the structure is regulated to meet the requirements of occupant comfort as well as to optimize conditions for the growth of plants.

The aluminum frame was designed to make the structure homogenous, lightweight and structurally stable. Photovoltaic solar panels on the roof work with the low-e glass to control temperature and reduce energy consumption, and rotating louvers on the roof help flood the indoors with ample fresh air. Meanwhile, motion sensors and LUX intensity meter sensors control lighting for efficient energy consumption.

The high gloss aluminum finish, the envelope of green landscape, the manicured lawns and the local tree plantations keep privacy intact. Trees have been illuminated with floor and trunk mounted lighters, concealed cleverly for glare-free lighting, and there are various theme indoor gardens with fruit tree plantations, sculptures, and pathways curbed with flowering plants. Some rare and exotic species of plants have been planted inside the structure as well as in the garden. Irrigation requirements within the complex will be partially fulfilled with recycled water.

Netmagic Solutions Pvt. Ltd., a managed IT hosting service provider contributed to the dream of a Greener India by earning a LEED Gold for Commercial Interiors (CI) for its Chennai data centre from the US Green Building Council (USGBC). This is India’s first data centre to have received this coveted rating.

Netmagic’s Chennai data centre has embraced several green features to make the premise truly energy-efficient. The additional cost of incorporating these much-needed features was less than 10%.

Green Attributes

This consists of a long list that includes site ecology, water conservation, smart energy meters and equipment, reduction of carbon dioxide emissions, recycled content, effective waste management, eco-friendly interiors and so on.

  • Site ecology has been maintained by reusing the evacuated top soil for landscaping.
  • There is a rain water harvesting system that collects rain water for landscape irrigation and toilet flushing; and a 50% reduction in potable water consumption has been achieved by using water efficient fittings and water meters.
  • Dependence on fossil fuels has been reduced by providing carpool facilities, bicycles and alternate fuel options through provision of electric vehicle charging points.
  • The lighting system has a lighting power density of 0.69 W/Sqft as against 1 W/Sqft for office space.
  • The roof has been treated with high reflective paint to minimize heat ingress and has brought about a 3-4 Degree Centigrade reduction in temperature in the indoor spaces.
  • The furniture, seating, carpet, glass, composite wood, aluminium, false ceiling, etc is made of recyclable material.
  • All paints, adhesives, furniture, carpets and housekeeping chemicals are eco-friendly and free of harmful components.
  • Waste bins for different categories of waste have been provided.
  • It is a ‘No Smoking’ premise with several operable windows to facilitate cross ventilation.
  • Occupants have been provided with task lighting and lighting control to ensure better comfort and high productivity.
  • Energy meters have been installed to measure and monitor energy consumption of the building. An overall 20% higher energy efficiency has been achieved through these innovative energy efficiency measures integrated right at the design stage.

Sustainable buildings in Europe will have a new height to scale with the creation of the Gazprom Tower, officially known as the Okhta Tower. The plan has recently been given the green signal to begin construction; it will be designed by UK-based architectural firm RMJM. Upon completion, this building will be the tallest in Europe and one among the world’s most energy-efficient.

St. Petersburg in Russia will be the home to Okhta Tower, which through its 77 storeys will cross 400 metres in height. This tower will primarily serve as headquarters to Gazprom’s oil unit, OAO Gazprom Neft, and will also be home to a concert hall, a museum, a hotel and a business centre. In the name of sustainability, this tower will incorporate multiple elements for energy-efficiency during construction.

Glass Skin

The building will be insulated by an exoskeleton, dubbed as a low-energy ‘fur coat’, and will consist of two layers of glazed glass ‘skin’ with an atrium between the inner and outer walls. This buffer zone will supply the building with natural ventilation, sunlight for interior lighting and at the same time will act as a thermal insulation by keeping the structure warm during fierce minus 30 degrees Russian winters. Trees and plants will be sandwiched between the double glass walls, which will be responsible for providing warmth in winter and lower temperatures in summer.

The outer wall will comprise of temperature-colour-changing glass panels. This tower will change colour up to 10 times a day depending on the position of the sun, and creating a dazzling scene of a 300m-tall twisting glass tower across 75 floors.

Inspired by the pentagonal plan of an ancient Scandinavian fort believed to have once occupied the site, the tower consists of a central concrete core ringed by five square interlocking floorplates. The floorplates spin on their axes as they ascend, giving the building its twisted effect. A ‘cog mechanism’ – whereby the five floorplates interlock – ensures the tower’s stability.

Sustainability

The pentagram design of the tower maximises access to daylight and allows for spectacular views for the offices without losing heat due to exposed surface area in comparison to other structures.

Specialized water, heating and ventilation systems have also been incorporated to reduce the energy consumption levels of the building. There will be a public viewing gallery on the 70th floor.

The office floor plans will also feature a large number of social spaces and green zones that will let the workers to access leisure areas without wasting energy by using elevators for vertical transportation.

The cost of construction is estimated at to $2.4bn. This cost will be borne jointly by Gazprom’s subsidiary Gazprom Neft ($1.4 billion) and the St Petersburg City Administration ($1 billion).

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