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15 July 2010

TERI University – Green and Sustainable Setu Goyal, Sandeep Goel Students, M.Tech. (Renewable Energy) TERI University is a premier University in India, focussing largely on post-graduation education and covering a multitude of inter-disciplinary courses based on energy and environment. We feel highly honoured to be a part of such an institution that provides its students and faculty with world-class facilities ushering in innovativeness and multidisciplinary research. True to its mission, the University houses a variety of sustainable measures at its New Delhi campus, which not only make it a ‘green’ building, but also bring in a sense of responsibility and concern for the environment, within each and every individual who call themselves to be a part of this wonderful institution of knowledge and learning. Introduction: One of the many successful sustainable measures employed at our campus is the Earth Air Tunnel Ventilation System. It is utilized to meet the thermal requirements of the building, by making use of the heat sink property of earth. The air that passes onto the buried pipes gets cooled in summers and heated in winters, maintaining a comfortable ambience inside the premise thorough out the year. Complimentary conventional measures of heating and cooling are only considered based on the severity of the climate, resulting in a saving of almost 50% of electrical power consumption in the building. The system takes in air from the inlet above ground at the end of a long tunnel system reaching almost 4 meters beneath the ground, with the help of an Air Handling Unit. The air is then de-humidified and passed into the load area, thorough the conventional system of ducts and diffusers, while the exhausts with the help of a wind operated exhaust turbine are sent out through a chimney.

Concept: The technology is based on the premise that earth acts as a great agent of heat sink, to the extent that annual heat losses from earth are only 10 % of the total annual collected energy. Also, it is an established fact, that for any given place, the diurnal variations in surface temperature are ineffective at depths more than 0.5 meter beneath the ground and similarly the seasonal variations fail to play a role at depths of about 4 meters beneath the ground levels.


As a consequence of the above, the air temperature at depths of 4 meters remains almost equivalent to the annual average surface temperature of that particular place. This air if blown to cater to the Heating Ventilation and Cooling (HVAC) requirements of a building, can greatly minimize its energy consumptions, resulting in savings and a more sustainable and environment friendly solution. Although this technology has to be essentially incorporated within the building structure, during its construction phase, another approach could be to couple the building with ground using underground and partially underground structures. The latter approach is however less efficient, however it is still more efficient than the conventional setup. Advantages: Most significant benefits are in terms of the saved energy requirements and emissions. With the conventional centralized coal generated electric power, having minimal efficiencies (just about 33%) and huge transmission and distribution losses and carbon emissions, the actual energy demand and carbon footprint of buildings can sky-rocket if such energy efficient and clean measures are not implied. At the same time, it also results in an improved indoor air quality, by reduction in both fungal and bacterial load of the air and also by utilizing 100% fresh air, instead of partly re-circulated as in the case of conventional HVAC systems.

Other Sustainable measures in place: Earth and Space conditioning Apart from the above mentioned feature, two more measures are in place, to minimize the energy requirements towards building’s heating and cooling needs. One is the Variable Refrigerant Volume System, in place to cater to areas with partial load conditions and varying occupancies. Other is the Thermal Mass Storage which involves the storing of thermal energy when it is available and utilization when required. Water Various measures have been taken by the University to contribute its bit towards saving this precious natural resource, right from the selection of toilet fixtures in terms of dual flush toilets and sensor taps, to extensive rain-water harvesting to recharge and improve the quality of ground water. An effluent treatment plant too has been setup to treat the waste generated from students’ hostel and canteen area. The waste water is utilized to water the gardens and for landscaping purposes. Sun The building has been predominantly given a North-South orientation to avoid the glaring day light. It has been provided with minimum windows on its East-West and South facades while the South-West openings have been provided with shading devices. The university also


utilizes the solar energy to cater to its warm water requirements, by the use of solar water heaters. Sky Various energy saving measures are in place, which have resulted in the reduction of lighting load from 2 W/sqft to 1W/sqft. These include fixtures with continuous dimming electronic ballast where daylight is available and occupancy sensors in areas of non-uniform illumination. Use of double glazing windows, insulation in roof slabs and insulated stone-clad walls have further resulted in great energy savings.

Student Initiatives Aahvaan’10 The University also encourages the students to actively involve in extra-curricular activities. Aahvan’10 is our annual inter-college, national level cultural event, which houses numerous events and competitions promoting the spirit of participation and cultural unanimity among the students. This year’s event is being promoted as a ‘green’ and carbon neutral event, an initiative, taken care of entirely by the students of the university. Cups In their bid to contribute to the environment, the students and teachers at the university have vowed not to use plastic bags/paper cups within the building premise. Most of the individuals carry ceramic mugs and jute bags to serve their purposes. Various workshops/seminars/movie projections Students are persistently involved in organizing environment-oriented workshops, seminars and movie screenings in order to inculcate and foster among the fellow mates, a sense of responsibility towards the planet.

Student initiatives in progress Campus sustainability The university has its own Campus Sustainability Club (CSC) formed by a bunch of enthusiastic individuals, persistently seeking way to reduce the University carbon footprint. One of the ongoing projects of CSC is to formulate a solar PV based power generation system for the University. In this regard, the University footprint has already been measured, the past years electricity bills reviewed and the block-wise load requirements assessed. It is in the final stages for the technical and economic feasibility assessment for the implementation of such an idea.


Reva car charging station Yet another feather in CSC’s cap. The university owns a 4-seater electric car, for which a solar charging station has been proposed. A proposal is being prepared for a demonstration level model to be approved by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy in India. If implemented, the station would be first of its kind in the country. Paper recycling The university generates nearly 200 kg of paper waste each month. This is currently being sold to a local vendor. A proposal is in the offing from the CSC volunteers, to research on the economic viability of buying a self-reliant paper recycling machine for the University. This plan on implementation would save another hundred tonnes of CO2 emissions per annum.

Inlets to Earth Air Tunnel

Earth Air tunnel

Building layout Ground water reclamation

Rain water harvesting

REVA Electric Cars

Effluent treatment plant Solar Hot water

Automatic Louvers for ` shading

Earth Air Ventilation System  

Air Conditions are very energy intensive to run, so the buildings at TERI University, India are cooled through a new air ventilation system.

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