New Delhi
The Economic Times


With concern about global warming preoccupying policy-makers worldwide, how do some of India’s most famous building stack up? Thermographic images of some of India’s best-known buildings, including the Bombay Stock Exchange, American Centre in Delhi, Hotel Taj Mahal in Delhi and Hilton Towers in Mumbai indicate that they are far from energy efficient. On the other hand, ITC Towers in Gurgaon does well.

NGO Greenpeace claims that much of the cool air from inside these buildings leaks through glass and concrete, which are made of poor material or have cracks. According to estimates, green house gas (ghg) emissions from buildings grew by 26% between 1970 and 2004. Buildings, government, commercial and residential make up close to 40% of the energy consumption in the country.

The energy leakages in over nine large buildings that were sampled were on account of bad maintenance, low quality construction material, bad design, poor quality insulation and leaking windows. “The National Stock Exchange is shades better than the Bombay Stock Exchange but lessons are to be learnt from buildings like the ITC in Gurgaon”, said Greenpeace’s K Srinivas.

Thermographic images describe different colours with variation in temperatures and are obtained from infra red cameras that are sensitive to changes in temperature. Such images of building surfaces found that while there was uniformity in the surface temperature of ITC Tower at Gurgaon, which is a green building, many other buildings such as the American Centre have variations almost throughout the building.

Green buildings are buildings that are energy efficient and adopt renewable energy technologies and eco-friendly practices such as water recycling. The ITC tower in Gurgaon for instance is a green building that has been given a platinum rating, which is the highest rating for a green building under the world’s leading green building rating systems called Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).

According to Greenpeace, if all the new and existing buildings were energy efficient, there would be a reduction in ghg emissions by 30% in addition to economic benefits like reduction in the lakhs of rupees worth annual electricity bills. In reply to how much expense would be involved in rectifying the design and materials of these buildings. Srinivas said that on an average whatever costs will be incurred will be recovered in at most two years.
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