Sustainability isn't expensive
Climate Change is a big reality!
Groundwater depletion, water pollution (contamination) are not new words anymore. Everyone agrees that going Sustainable is the only way forward, but expect someone else (read government) to take care of it.
The primary reason could be because of the following point of view:
- Sustainability is expensive.
- Challenging to implement.
- Even more difficult to maintain.
- Is Complicated.
Intention of establishing Sanicon itself was to demystify that notion. The best way to start doing that was to build up a working demo which signifies all those values that is promoted. Thus the reason for building up a zero water building was born.
Set up in Western Part of Delhi, the project is 17 Kilometers away from Terminal 1, of Delhi Airport. The area is well connected by the Public Transport of Scheduled Buses as well as Metro. The said location was chosen since its in a quiet neighbourhood and ample of possibilities for experimentation.
During the conception following objectives were laid out:
- Sustainable Building can be constructed majorly with localised resources itself.
- The construction cost would not be more than the cost of any other conventional building.
The chosen plot measuring approximately 250 square yards was blessed in terms of directions, perfectly aligned opening towards South. So choice was made to have an alley / setback towards the North and the East. Possibilities were created to have windows / light coming in from these two directions and have South and West majorly opaque so that heat ingress could be retarded during summer months.
This also reduced the dependence on Artificial Lighting. So there isn't even a single light bulb installed in the office area. So what happens if the Team has to work overtime? Well it also brought in the cultural change. The office timing was chosen to start at 8:30 AM and then complete for the day by 5:30PM. In case of pendency it was also consciously chosen to start next day early rather than staying back late which turned out more productive.
The walls and roof of the building were double insulated having reflective aluminium surface which reflects the maximum heat radiations.
The Showstopper of the project was it been Zero water building.
The entire rains were channelised through softscape area, which was laid with crushed stone and grass. This made the runoffs to be low and gradual. Then this entire runoff was directed towards a desilting drain which allowed the maintenance to be practically hassle free. Post desilting the rain water is overflown to underground voids created with permeable walls that simply recharge the groundwater table.
Another feature was introduced by passively recycling the grey water originating from the pantry and powder room of the office. The entire waste was first passed through filter which isolated the solids form the waste and catalysed the anaerobic reaction by digesting the organic matter.
Then this semi treated water was fed further on to the plants which digested further impurities. This entire treatment mechanism is called “initia”
As a matter of fact this entire mechanism of inita created a fully flourished ecosystem in place while attracting bees, chameleon. This further vetted our entire approach of sustainability .
The treated discharge from initia is then utilized for the irrigation of the plants in place, thus saving precious water resources for the irrigation.
Other passive features such as Honeycombed brick structure allows the natural ventilation taking place
Figures and Statistics:
- The entire cost of the building came out to be ₹800 per square feet. Which is comparable with similar kind of non sustainable structure.
- Since inception the ground water table has been at the level of 4.5M and not showing any signs of depletion.
- The Electricity Bills
- During winters has been at the minimum level of ₹1000 Per month
- During Summers it does not get exceed ₹ 2,200 per Month at peak.
- The lowest Bill that has been sho far is ₹150 during the month of March 2014.
Considering the above mentioned figures it was established that sustainability is not only low energy and low water consumption building, but also low cost intensive one as well.