Friday, October 10, 2008
WITH TECHNOLOGIES CHANGING RAPIDLY, AND KNOWLEDGE OF GLOBAL BEST PRACTICES BEING SO EASILY ACCESSIBLE (THANKS TO THE INTERNET), THE CONCEPT OF GREEN ARCHITECTURE IS NO LONGER JUST TEXTBOOK KNOWLEDGE. IN FACT, ORGANIZATIONS ARE USING THEIR ‘GREEN’ IMAGE TO BUILD A POSITIVE BRAND INTERNALLY AND EXTERNALLY.
You enter your office building and go straight to the parking lot. What do you get to see there? Parking is not allowed in the basement. Wonder why? Just to increase vegetation. Not only this, there are preferred car parking areas for car pooling vehicles and recharge stations for alternative fuel vehicles. Now imagine this! Your office uses sensitive air conditioners that automatically alters the room temperature depending on the number of people in the room. It also uses eco-friendly paint on the walls. The structure of the office building is designed in such a way that it uses 95 per cent natural light. Well, don’t be surprised. You are simply working in a green environment! Corporate India is steadily waking up to the benefits of green architecture including significantly lower running costs and a better brand image. Companies are also increasingly acknowledging the benefits of green architecture not just from an environmental perspective, but even from a cost management angle.
THE GREEN REVOLUTION HAS BEGUN...
Different companies may have different reasons but the most important reason for a company to move towards a green architecture is its commitment towards environment conservation. Patni’s green ITBPO Knowledge Center in Noida is a case in point. It is designed to use less energy, water and natural resources as well as creates less waste. The state-of-art facility is built as per the guidelines of LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) India Green Building Rating System for New Construction. According to Patni, it is one of the first few buildings in India that is being jointly audited by the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) and the US Green Building Council (USGBC).
“People are the most important assets of a company and it is vital to provide them with a healthy work environment. This becomes all the more important to us, as we run our BPO and KPO operations on a 24x7 basis. Green environment provides occupants access to natural light and outside view which has a pleasant and soothing effect on them. In addition, productivity of people having access to natural light can be about 15 per cent higher,” says Sanjiv Kapur, senior vice president and head of Patni-BPO. Kapur stresses that while green buildings require between five per cent and seven per cent additional investment, the cost can be recovered within 24 to 30 months.
In case of Cisco, the company feels that its employees need a green and a healthy environment to be truly productive. Cisco campuses have ergonomically designed workplaces, recreational facilities and green areas to provide employees with a “world class work environment”. Leveraging a new online community, ‘Let’s Talk Cisco Green’, employees are now sharing best practices and their recommendations to help Cisco meet its environmental goals. Employees are also sharing their perspectives via short video clips downloadable from a new green focused website. Cisco also has group (multiple) email aliases of green-minded employees who share information. Cisco’s Varghese M. Thomas, vice president – Corporate Communication, CISCO – India & SAAR C - Sales & Globalization Center East says, “We believe that the network can become a ‘green platform’ for technology to help transform the way in which we manage global environmental challenges.”Adds Thomas, “Some of the green initiatives at the campus include - rain water harvesting for irrigation and fertilization, garbage/organic waste recycling into bio gas for cooking, usage of socially responsible green materials, daylight harvesting for internal environment, compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) with electronic ballasts, use of occupancy sensors in enclosed spaces, harmonic filters for power conditioning and energy saving, etc.”
Motorola’s manufacturing facility near Chennai was recently honoured with the ‘Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEEDR)’ silver certification by the Indian Green Buildings Council. Under the LEEDR Green Building Rating System, the facility was evaluated on several parameters such as efficiency of water usage, energy, material and resource selection, besides indoor environmental quality. Henry Mohan, director, manufacturing, Motorola India says, “The plant implements rain water harvesting capable of collecting about 10,000 kiloliters of water. We have a green belt surrounding the premises covering approximately 120,000 square feet. We have adopted a ‘whole-building’ approach to sustainability.”
THE GREEN EFFECT...
Since buildings are a leading contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, to combat climatic change, it is critical for the building industry to rapidly adopt sustainable design practices.
According to Sunil MK, Head- AEC, Autodesk (India & SAARC), “As the environmental impact of buildings becomes more apparent, a new phenomenon called green building is gaining momentum. Research and experience increasingly demonstrate that when buildings are designed and operated with their life-cycle impacts in mind, they can provide great environmental, economic and social benefits.”
Speaking about the Autodesk Building Information Modeling (BIM), Sunil adds, “It is a strategy which uses technology to represent buildings as digital simulations rather than using technologies to make traditional CAD drafting drawings. It is a platform to understand the lifecycle of buildings, the relationship between the players and the project, methodologies for collaboration while giving the ability to create profound design information as part of the design process.”
THE GREEN CARPET IS SET...
Setting standards in energy conservation, Tesco Hindustan Service Center (HSC), Tesco’s global services arm in Bangalore, has become the first campus in India to completely change 2500 CFL lamps used for interior lighting to LED. As a part of the company’s green initiatives, it has also changed 40 garden lights and 70 street lights to LED installed in the 15-acre campus.
According to Captain Dayalu Arasappa, Head - Support and Facilities & Chief Security Officer, Tesco Hindustan Service Center, “The center has rainwater harvesting wells, waste water treatment plants, algae retardants in the water bodies, solar water heater in the gym and cafeteria, organic gardens and catalytic converters for generators on its campus.”
“Earlier successful brands were built around meeting consumer needs by providing the right product at the right price at the right place; now brands have to add another new dimension of ‘community building’ to be differentiated. CSR provides the emotional engagement with customers over and above the rational one. Consumers today want to be associated with companies which give something back to the community through tangible initiatives, values and ethics,” says Esha Anand, head – marketing & Visual Merchandising, Hyper City. As part of ‘Green Aid’, Hyper city uses non polluting, Eco friendly bikes and 100 per cent biodegradable carry bags.
Whatever the route, as the world looks towards ways of combating an imminent energy crisis and ecological imbalance as a result of industrialization, going green is no longer just a business imperative, it is imperative for the planet’s future.