Really, the Green Buildings are energy efficient? A question had been asked by one of my relative living in an Green Building; “How it is a green building, what do you do that a simple building becomes green building”. Well I was confident and explained my relative that green buildings save energy. Your electricity bill will be 20% less than the conventional building. The reply was we use to pay Rs 2500 / month in our previous home and here we are paying around Rs 4000 / month. Hell yes, you have bought a bigger house!! But we still have 2 AC’s, one fridge, one geyser, kitchen exhaust system, almost same number of fans and same number of equipment. Interesting, well yes, what they don’t really understand is that the volume those 2 AC’s are now dealing with is more and have to work more than there previous home. They also don’t realize that fans, lights and kitchen exhaust system needs to be better than their previous home. Same systems and equipment will not work as efficiently as they use to be considering the demand of electricity required in their new home. Well think about it, a whole research paper can be drawn on this topic. I have my limitations as I need to discuss on various other issues of commercial and rating systems as well.
The above conversation leads to a question, that how Green building rating system deal with the problem above. Well, they do not!! They are primarily focused on efficiency of system and do not deal with the issue of energy demand. In fact, interestingly, the rating system do not, at all, deal with the equipment installed in building. It only based on two aspects of energy, first HVAC (Air conditioning) and lighting and to an extent, building envelope but also not fully. Well as someone who has heard about green building and doesn’t know about the technical details the question asked is WHY? Well primarily these are the major sources of energy consumption as suggested by researches done in western countries specially USA. We don’t have an indigenous research which could prove the same. To my understanding, the lighting and HVAC does not contribute as much as other equipment contribute in India. Such as geysers, heaters, washing machines, pumps and plug loads. Plug loads are huge in India, we Indians are too innovative and can put 5-6 equipment in one electrical socket. This genius of Indians had never been captured in any of the study conducted. We are too comfortable following US standards without even questioning them.
The rating systems in India follows ASHRAE (American Society of Heating Refrigeration and Air conditioning Engineers) and ECBC (Energy Conservation Building Code). Its been discussed, that ASHRAE is American and ECBC is Indian, but hey hey!! Both are same. ECBC uses exhaustive references from ASHRAE and lots of calculations are also based upon the ASHRAE standards. Proves another genius of Indians CUT-COPY-PASTE. And believe me we did great job in doing that (nakal badi akal se kari hai). The basic problem I realized over the years that we do not have research based in India, everything is either imported directly or indirectly. I understand the challenges faced by the authors of ECBC, and I certainly didn’t mean to offend them. They did great job in whatever is available to them. Nonetheless, the conclusion is we don’t have answers to energy efficiency, particularly because we never asked any questions yet.
My request to the readers of this blog, is to ask questions which are relevant to us Indians, not hypothetically connect them with research done on the other side of the planet.
Please let me know of any further questions are clarifications you need after reading the blog. We can discuss the issues separately. And also, please let me know if I’m factually incorrect, as I’ve made many presumptions based upon my experience of buildings.