Green energy utilization and generation for sustainable future

Sustainable future is foreseen as a conscious and effective implementation of Green Energy utilization and generation along with energy conservation methods. Ar. Prashant Deshmukh talks about the Energy Conservation Methods (ECM) which guides reduction in energy consumption, thus leading to overall saving in the operating costs and ‘Energy Audits.’
‘Sustainability’ is the key word in today’s developing world. Every aspect of infrastructure design, building design and living standards of mankind is very much affected by its sustainability and to cope up with rising demand for resources. As always said resources are very much scarce and should be deployed with great care and to generate maximum output.
‘Energy’ is such a resource which we can identify for its scarcity and recurring expenses. The energy is mostly used in the form of ‘Electricity’ in all the building and infrastructure projects. Thus the major consumption of energy in the form of electricity needs to be dealt with, in more conscious and sensitive mode of thinking and designing.
The general energy consumption area are HVAC Systems and Lighting systems. Energy consumption pattern for typical building shows that about 30 to 40 40per cent energy is consumed by HVAC Systems and about 20 to 30 per cent by Lighting system. Thus HVAC and Lighting systems should be the focus area of generating sustainability in a building. The heat loads and usage of lighting with fixtures are to be considered and effective use of these parameter in design should be done.
Energy Conservation Methods (ECM) needs to be implemented to achieve efficient use of energy, saving in energy consumption thus leading to savings in overall operation costs.

Few of the Energy Conservation Methods (ECM) are listed below:
1. Building Envelope / Façade treatment / Elevational treatment:
Well insulated roof, wall and glazing with low U Value can reduce load on HVAC.
2. Building Orientation:
A detailed study of climate conditions, movement of Sun, Shadow analysis of the building and building site can be done to arrive at best orientation of the building and building function areas, so as to achieve energy efficiency and energy conservation. Properly oriented buildings can achieve major savings in energy consumption.
3. Use of energy efficient systems for HVAC.
4. Use of demand control ventilation to minimize excess fresh air supply.
5. Use of daylight and occupancy sensor for automatic lighting control.
6. Use of efficient luminaries / fixtures
7. Use of energy efficient / star rated appliances.
These Energy Conservation Methods (ECM) will definitely lead to reduction in energy consumption, thus leading to overall saving in the operating costs.
Furthermore, ‘Energy Audits’ assist in controlling, managing the consumption of energy in any building. An Energy Audit is an inspection, survey and analysis of energy flows for energy conservation. A effective energy management program begins an Energy Audit. It will lead to identification of energy systems, evaluation of condition of systems, and analysis of the impact of improvements to those systems. ( Thus a comprehensive data for energy conservation can be generated through Energy Audits.
Each unit of energy saved ultimately leads to generation of energy in the long run, as generating energy also requires energy.
While saving energy, emphasis should also be laid on generation of energy. The traditional energy sources, most notably fossil fuels such as Coal and Oil produce green house gases which are the primary cause of Global warming. Burning vast quantities of fossil fuels has caused a great deal of harm to the environment. Therefore the need of the hour is to develop alternative sources of energy. Renewable energy sources of Green energy are the most relevant terms which have evolved considering their impact on the environment and generation process.
Green Energy is the energy that is produced in such a way as to minimize its negative impact on the environment. Sources of green energy, such as Solar, Wind, Geo Thermal and Hydro energy are developed and promoted as alternative sources that make minimal impact on climate change.
Green energy, especially solar and wind can be very effectively used in residential, commercial, institutional and industrial projects. Solar panels fitted on the roof tops or elevational facades can generate enough energy to operate common lighting, emergency lighting and landscape features such as water fountains etc. Similarly, small wind mills mounted at roof tops can also support the lighting system. Effective use of hybrid system i.e. solar and wind together can lead to a better generation of electricity and can support most of the lighting demand requirements. The use of Solar energy and Wind energy can be supported by energy efficient fixtures such as LED’s which provide better lux levels with less electricity consumption.
Although the initial costs for investments are high as compared to the conventional systems, the operation costs are minimized. In the long run, the operational costs do matter the most as they are recurring costs and increase over the period of time. The investment costs can also be recovered by trading the ‘Carbon Credits’ which are generated due to the use of Green Energy. Credits are awarded to countries or groups that have reduced their green house gases below their emission quota.
Therefore, it is very much advisable to implement green energy concepts at the initial stage of the project in order to develop sustainable environment.
Renowned Architect Ken Yeang believes ‘’ Green design involves the conservation of non-renewable and the care of the renewable resources to ensure that they remain sustainable available for the future generation. This includes designing environments that are less dependent or not at all dependent on non- renewable energy resources’’ (Ref: Eco Architecture, The Work of Ken Yeang by Sara Hart)
Architectural design should attempt to incorporate the features of Green energy. The integration will lead to high levels of modern architecture in terms of architectural aesthetics, building performance and value addition to the users loving standards and living conditions.
Sustainable future is foreseen as a conscious and effective implementation of Green Energy utilization and generation along with energy conservation methods.
Each effort taken to save the energy will ultimately lead to self sufficient sustainable world.

(The author is Principal Architect, Prashant Deshmukh and Associates. He is a ranker from J.J. College of Architecture (Mumbai University) and has been a practicing Architect Consultant since 1976.)

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