You are on page 1of 6

- -=.

.. .=~.-
Getman BuildJng ThchnoIcgies

The next time you see an imposing
building, go beyond its swish
interiors and/or architectural style.
Look at it more holistically. Is it energy
efficient? Does it have a sound public
health engineering system in place? Does
it have a well-networked, integrated
building management system?
Ultimately, it is efficiency on these
parameters that make a commercial or
residential building comfortable to live
and work in. Or that's what Dr Prem C
Jain, head honcho of one oflndia's biggest
MEP services providers, will tell you.
For those not in the know, Mechanical,
Electrical and Plumbing (MEP) service
providers are literally the backroom boys
of any architectural project - the people
who engineer the spaces.
And Dr PC Jain and his Spectral
Services are the Goliaths of this
business. Set up in 1980 with a mission '60S." Besides studying advanced heat and been chosen to host the Asian Games - the
to provide integrated MEP services mass transfer during his post-graduate first time an Indian city was ever going
design ("words that did not prevail in studies at Minnesota, he took classes in the to host an international championship,
the vocabulary at that time," he recalls), history of art and architecture to give his and several hotel projects were coming
Spectral laid emphasis on energy and education a well-rounded edge. up across the capital. What helped
water conservation, total fire safety and With a dream to come back to India and was his decade-long stint with one of
maintaining indoor air quality at levels design energy-efficient systems here, Dr the biggest architectural firms in this
matching international standards. Jain returned to India in the 1970S to work country. His reputation was impeccable,
The renowned 'HVAC engineer' traces with Joseph Allen Stein and the legendary and the services he was offering made
his love for design back to his days in BV Doshi. "I learned the values of design sense - as India was just waking up to the
Benares (now known as Varanasi) and excellence and power of conviction from possibility of optimising efficiency in a
the architecture of the temples along the them." In 1980, he decided to start his own building through a good HVAC (Heating,
Ganga ghats, or temples such as Sarnath, company after a decade with the Stein, Ventilating and Air-conditioning) system.
which he considers the cradle of Indian Doshi & Bhalla powerhouse. Convincing Armed with radical thinking on MEP, Dr
civilisation. Growing up in the 1940s, his architects about the importance of the Jain worked on hotel projects like Samrat,
1. TheCII-Sohrabji first choice was to study engineering at a services his company offered, was an Le Meridien and the Centaur. Since then,
Godrej Green Benares college. He went on to study in uphill task, as MEP was still in its infancy his company Spectral has worked on over
Building Centre, the USA, where he also met Frank Lloyd and most MEP designs were vendor- 100 hotel properties across India - besides
Hyderabad, is the Wright - "one of the greatest architects of driven. "Clients were not sure of the value a host of townships, residential complexes,
first LEEDplatinum our times" through a roommate. "In the that MEP consultants could bring over and hotels, hospitals, corporate offices, IT
certified building in US, I worked on many NASA projects and above vendor designs," he explains. campuses, commercial complexes and
India and outside witnessed the birth of intelligent buildings Dr Jain was the right man in the right large-scale industrial projects. Dr Jain
USA. and building automation systems in the place at the right time. New Delhi had maintains that Spectral Services has

020 I


innovated to achieve maximum output Spectral's success, he believes, is due promotes the HVAC industry. He also German Building 1eclmoIogies
from the HV AC systems they design. "We to their ability to offer optimisation of all launched the Indian Green Building
have used heat recovery wheels and high services, a nightmare for most architects. Council (IGBC), a branch of the US Green
COP (Coefficient of Performance) chillers. "A building cannot be complete without Building Council (USGBC).
We have supplied treated fresh air on us," he insists. "We are involved right from "Green buildings are essential for the
demand through CO2 monitoring," he the planning stage." When he started out survival of the human race on Planet
points out. in the 1980s, about 20% of a building's Earth," he says. "Spectral has all along
Even today, Dr Jain says, Spectral pays maintenance bill went into feeding energy designed MEP systems as identified in the
a lot of attention to designing efficient requirements. Today, he has brought it Green Building ratings. It was, therefore,
HVAC systems. "An efficient HV AC down to almost 7% or even lower. Roof only natural for us to become the leader
system begins with an optimised envelope and wall insulations, double glazing and in designing MEP services for green-rated
design by the architect and the MEP even the orientation of doors and windows buildings too."
service provider - with plenty of daylight, can help keep energy bills down. According to Dr Jain, traditional Indian
cross-ventilation, high-quality indoor As part of its portfolio, Spectral Services architecture has always been energy
air and improved thermal properties to now offers green building services, HVAC efficient. There is a millennia-old reservoir
achieve competitive installation costs system, electrical system, plumbing and of knowledge that can help reduce energy
within a building," he elucidates. "Properly public health engineering, fire fighting consumption in buildings today. Typical
designed and installed HV AC systems reap and protection system, and integrated principles include climate-responsive
multiple benefits for occupants, building building management. design, use oflocal and sustainable
owners, contractors and the environment. But the cause closest to his heart is materials, and water harvesting methods.
It increases comfort and reduces energy that of green buildings. Dr Jain is one Climate-responsive architectural elements
costs for residents, reduces complaints of the biggest proponents of using green like courtyards, clusters, wind towers, roof
for building owners and benefits the technology to reduce the carbon footprint terraces andjaalis (stone lattices), among
environment through reduced greenhouse we leave behind as we rapidly urbanise. He others, are used for climate control and
gas emissions. Well-sealed and balanced was instrumental in setting up ISHRAE have become social and cultural elements
duct systems and proper filtration improve (Indian Society of Heating, Refrigerating of Indian architecture.
indoor air quality and safety by reducing and Air-conditioning Engineers) in 1981. The challenge, says Dr Jain, is to 2. Potni Knowledge
the possibility of backdraft." Based on its parent American model, it reconcile these ancient methods with Centre, Noido.



-GBT- modern technological innovations. "Green of the occupants. "My office in India uses Ahmedabad; HSBC Office, Gurgaon;
German Buikfing-olugies
technologies can easily be adapted to no artificial light at all," specifies Dr Jain. ITC Royal Gardenia, Bengaluru; Green
modern living. The emphasis should Among the many advantages of living Boulevard, Noida; Kohinoor Hospital,
be on optimum design of the building and working in a green building, he Mumbai; Patni Knowledge Centre, Noida;
envelope through careful modelling and mentions improved energy efficiency and Space Matrix, New Delhi.
computer simulation," he suggests. "The (between 20 to 50% energy savings over The best project as far as an efficient
objective is to minimise the energy and conventional buildings) and increased HVAC system and a unique green building
water demand of the buildings, and then water savings (around 30 to 50%). "You project goes, is the cn Sohrabji Godrej
3. Board room provide these through the most efficient use toxin-free materials in building Business Centre in Hyderabad. It earned
of the Spectral and cost-effective systems. Green cities construction. In fact, there is increased a LEED rating of 56 credits and became
Servicesoffice also generate minimum waste by recycling use of regional materials and products a certified LEED Platinum for new
building in Noida. all the waste water and generating power with recycled content," says Dr Jain. "The construction - the first in India and the
from all solid waste." emphasis while designing a building is first outside the USA. Vegetated roofs
4. Work studio. Modern technologies have found on natural ventilation. The idea is to cover 55-60% of the building's roofs,
solutions that make energy saving easier promote the use of daylight for better while the remaining portion of the roof is
5. The office while keeping costs low. A green building health and productivity." covered by solar photo-voltaic panels with
building is designed uses key resources like energy, water, Over the years, Spectral has designed a 24KW capacity. The 100 to 120 units of
in such a way that materials and land more efficiently than 11 Platinum-rated green buildings - power generated per day are fed into tl1e
it allows sunlight to buildings that are just built to code. With including cn Sohrabji Godrej Business grid and meets 20% of the total energy
penetrate almost more natural light and better air quality, Centre, Hyderabad; ITC Centre, Gurgaon; cost of the building.
85% of the interior green buildings typically contribute to Wipro Technologies, Gurgaon; Spectral The green roofs on the building are
spaces. improved health, comfort and productivity Headquarters, Noida; ABN Amro Bank, divided into parcels that are separated by

-r=r If you arein the businessof creatingenergy-efficientgreenbuildings,you have
to ensurethat yourown corporatebuildingmatchesthe beststandardsof green
\ II technology. Soit iswithSpectral's Corporate Officein Noida- a LEED-certified
PlatinumGreenBuildingthat has beendesignedas perfeaturesspecifiedbythe
- j
craft in orderto createa micro-climatethat's conduciveto indooractivitiesbut
alsoallowsfor interactionwith the surroundingsin a synergeticway. A prominent
featureof the buildingis the top-lit atrium,which not onlylightsup the indoor
spacesbut providesa senseof grandeurto the office interior.Thebuildingis
designedin a waythat allowssunlightto penetratealmost85%of the interior
spaces.Theverticalstonelouvershavebeeneffectivelyusedto softenthe harsh
sunlightenteringthe building,especiallyfrom the north-westandsouth-west
directions.However,they allow airto passthroughandcoolthe interiorspace.
In orderto makethe buildinggreenandsustainable,DrJainandhis team
haveput into placea systemthat helpsto savewaterandenergy.Thebuilding
hasa rainwaterharvestingsystem,andgreywater is usedfor non-potable
purposeslikeflushingandwateringthe gardens.Thewater consumptionlevels
havebeenreducedby the useof high-efficiencyfixtureslikeoccupantsensors.
Roofgardensinsulateandprotectthe buildingagainstthe harshnorthIndiaheat.
Eco-friendlymaterialslikeGwaliorstoneandred sandstonehavebeenusedfor
In sum, Spectral'sfour-storeycorporateofficeis day-lit,dischargesno waste

---- andwater (thanksto the sewagetreatmentplantandrainwaterharvestingsystem)
anduses60%lessenergythana conventionalbuilding.

022 I


Gmnan Building'Thchnologi..

6. Asian Heart Institute and Research

Centre, Mumbai.

7. Doha City Centre.

8. Grand Hyatt, Mumbai.

9. Escorts Heart Institute, Jaipur.

parapets. Laid on top of a concrete roof, is no need for air-conditioners. awareness of practical issues in going
the green roof system (which comprises The courtyard design at Wipro is green, which is hindering the acceptance
two inches of sandy soil topped with paver inspired by the traditional inward-looking of green building principles," says Dr
blocks and overlaid with a uniform grass haveli plan that performs varied functions. Jain. "Another challenge faced by green
sod) begins its build-up with three layers Designed to form a light well, it acts as a buildings is the slightly higher investment
of waterproofing. In its appearance and micro-climate generator - thus reducing costs. Here, government incentives can
composition, green roofs are identical to energy consumption. Mutual shading of encourage growth in green renovation or
the grassy pedestrian and parking areas. the courtyard walls keeps them cooler retrofit activity. It will act as a catalyst.
All wastewater and runoff generated than the outside walls; while a large water Meanwhile, owners of buildings can be
by the building is recycled by root zone body and vegetation in the middle of the motivated by reduced lifecycle costs,
treatment, in which specially selected courtyard reduces its temperature by higher return on investment and improved
plants purify and filter the water that evaporative cooling. tenant satisfaction (in the case of
irrigates them. The water leaving the root Dr Jain is promoting not just green commercial buildings). Tenants can take
zone treatment is directed to one of three buildings, but a culture of sustainable the benefit of lower operating costs and
ponds and is used for domestic purposes. design that involves the use of techniques improved quality oflife."
The building has achieved a 35% reduction that are in conformity with nature. For now, a green building costs 2.5%
in potable water through the use of low- Topping his list of priorities are soil to 3% more than a conventional building
flush toilets and waterless urinals. erosion and sedimentation control by - but as 224 million sqft in 347 buildings
At Wipro Technologies Development native/adaptive vegetation; development under construction in India over the next
Centre, his other notable project, the green of a new site on a previously developed five years go green, Dr Jain is convinced
building concept was directed at making site to make it more efficient and reduce that "a green building could cost less than
an eco-friendly, high-performance, low- impact on environmentally-sensitive a conventional building. Commercial
wastage and intelligent building that is land; reduction of heat island effect by buildings have had a head-start on the
sustainable along with having a minimal roof vegetation, installation of rainwater green building concept in India; but this
negative impact on the environment. It harvesting system to reduce potable water is expected to spread to the residential
also aimed at the conservation of energy consumption; and use of salvaged/recycled sector soon. With rising awareness, there
and resources at every level, to save even material in construction. has been an increase in the number of
the top soil and the trees on the project Despite the unquestionable benefits consultants to cater to 'green' clients."
site. Free cooling method or blowing associated with green buildings, there But that's considered good news by Dr
natural air that passes through air filters is are several roadblocks to achieving the Jain, who believes that more players in
used to ventilate the building, again saving standards of sustainable development. the market translate into a much better
on electricity - since it ensures that there "There is a lack of understanding and developed and aware marketplace. mill


Building 'IidmoIogieo

You were one of the founding fathers I wanted to keep ISHRAE open to them. this front. More and more technologies
of the Green Building movement in For three years, ISH RAE operated from and products must be developed locally
India. Are you happy with the way it my home with 4-5 colleagues joining - such as what Mili Majumdar and her
has been evolving? me. We didn't have a lot of money, and group did with the sewage treatment
Yes, of course, the Green Building our wives contributed about Rs100 per plant in the Godrej Building Centre. It
Movement is a wonderful journey to be on. meeting from the month's grocery account. is very important for the government to
I have been involved from day one, along The second challenge was retaining encourage this.
with Karan Grover and Jamshyd Godrej, members. After one year, we realised that
when the Green Building rating came to the annual members were not renewing The concept of an MEP service
India. A challenge that still remains is their memberships. So we started the provider is still relatively new in
the cost of green buildings, which is still concept oflife-membership with a India, so it must have been quite
higher than conventional buildings in minimal fee of Rs500 per member. Today, difficult for you when you started
India - the reason being, we do not have we have 10,000 members with more Spectral in 1980. Do you think the
enough products in India that are truly than 20% being non-degree holders. To green building concept is actually
green. And we do not have a system to me, they are the best members. Now, we helping the growth ofMEP service
authenticate the greenness of a product. have 35 autonomous chapters of ISH RAE providers and why?
We do not have qualified laboratories operating profitably across the country. You are quite right. When I came back to
and testing methods that can validate When we wanted to buy our first office India after doing my PhD, we had very
the claims of the manufacturers bringing way back in 1989-90, we were struggling good consultants (Maneck Dastur for
out green products. If we had more true to raise Rs7.5 lakh. Today, we have more air-conditioning; Murthy for Electricals;
green products, our movement would have than Rs7.5 crore in our coffers. When we Menon for plumbing). They were all giants
progressed further. To encourage green started IGBC, we realised there was a need in their fields, but we did not have one
products, we hold a Congress. When we for a synergy between IGBC and ISH RAE. unified consultant who offered all these
started, we had five products - and now Fortunately, this has happened. About 3-4 services. Since different people were
we have more than 100. I hope that in a years ago, the then president saw merit in providing inter-related services, it used to
couple of years we will have more than linking ISH RAE with IGBC. It is now one create a lot of problems. Moreover, due
1000 products. When the competition of our strong supporters. All our literature to a lack of an integrated approach, there
for green products grows, the pricing will carries ISHRAE's name as a nodal body was no optimisation of the services - and
naturally come down; and that will be a supporting our efforts. The logic is hence the utilities were also costing the
boost for the Green Building movement. simple. Most of the energy in a building, users more. We at Spectral believe in a
particularly in a commercial building, wholesome approach, and have therefore
You were instrumental in setting goes towards air-conditioning. IGBC and succeeded. Today, when an electrical or
up the Indian Society of Heating, ISHRAE have been growing up like twin mechanical engineer joins Spectral, we
Refrigerating and Air Conditioning sisters, and I treat them as my children. train him to be a services engineer. We
Engineers (ISHRAE). Tell us have an in-house training facility where
something about ISHRAE's synergy What encouragement is being given every new recruit goes through a month-
with the Indian Green Building to the developers/manufacturers of long training course. About the link
Council (IGBC). green products? between green buildings and MEP, Green
ISHRAE has been a member of Within the CII, we have a group to buildings mean optimised energy; and
ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, encourage these people. This group will optimised energy can only come through
Refrigerating and Air Conditioning support any entrepreneur who has got a optimised MEP. (One must appreciate that
Engineers), a society I joined when I was good green product, but does not have the largest operating cost in a building
a young student in Benares in the '50S. money. Once it is convinced that the is MEP.) Luckily, I started integrated
I started ISHRAE in 1980. It is identical entrepreneur is genuine and the product optimised MEP services 20 years ago -
to ASHRAE, but Indianised. ASHRAE is is right, it will arrange for a soft loan from so when the Green Building movement
a society of white-collar professionals. I a bank. About 65 products are currently came to India, I was ready for it. Spectral
challenged this because, in India, our best being developed through this initiative. already had this wealth of optimised MEP
learning comes from shop-floor operators. Of course, a lot more needs to happen on experience when IGBC started. I!:!I