Shed glass for cooler buildings, say TERI, UGC experts

A joint initiative of The Energy and Research Institute (TERI) and the University Grants Commission (UGC) might just help avert a power crisis in the near future.

As part of a research programme, TERI has come up with concepts to make commercial buildings energy-friendly. And the UGC is showing keen interest that the findings are understood by universities across the country so that funding of projects may be possible.

The initiative has already been put on the fast track as the UGC has asked representatives from 17 universities to participate in a training programme conducted by TERI.

Meanwhile, a whole new set of ways to keep buildings cool is being researched. ‘‘We need technology like automatic switching for all our buildings. It’s also possible to keep a room cool without using the air conditioning system excessively. Old buildings had an underground air canal system which had temperatures equivalent to the average ambient temperature, that’s always a few degrees cooler,” says Mili Majumdar, TERI fellow who is a member of the research team and is co-ordinating the training workshop.

“For Delhi, these systems would keep the room temperature at a comfortable 25 degrees,’’ says Majumdar. According to TERI’s findings with regard to buildings, there should not be any more glass structures,” adds Majumdar.

‘‘In India more cooling is required and for the West it’s the opposite. But we have been following Western norms while designing our buildings which tend to waste a lot of energy and power. Glass is prone to direct solar gain, it tends to become very hot. We need to replace this with thick walls, so that the air is flushed of heat, filtered and then allowed to enter the room,’’ says Majumdar.

Also, buildings in Delhi do not have too many apertures to let air in. ‘‘There should be as much natural flow of air within the four walls of a room. Our observation of Delhi’s buildings is that the number of apertures in them are too few,’’ says Dr Vibha Dhawan, Vice Chancellor, TERI, School of Advanced Studies.

Sources say the UGC is keen to integrate novel energy saving techniques in the city’s architecture. It also wants to bring about changes in the way buildings are constructed in university campuses and is considering setting aside an amount to invest in instrumentation required for these concepts.

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