The rapidly growing energy use has already raised concerns over supply difficulties, exhaustion of energy resources and heavy environmental impacts (ozone layer depletion, global warming, climate change, etc.). Delhi, this winter, broke 44 years record as it witnessed its maximum temperature below 10⁰C. Mumbai, this year, recorded the third lowest March temperature as well as third highest March temperature in a decade and the hottest temperature in the country. Growth in population, increasing demand for building services and comfort levels, together with the rise in time spent inside buildings, assure the upward trend in energy demand and will continue in the future. Ever changing urban lifestyles and the expectation of higher comfort levels contribute to a rising energy demand as people become more and more reliant on air conditioners. The contribution from buildings towards total energy demand and CO2 emission is nearly 40 percent.
India offers a huge opportunity to avoid the carbon lock-in associated with new buildings as about 66 percent of the buildings expected to exist in India in 2030 are yet to be constructed. With the fast depleting fossil fuels reserves and ever increasing electricity prices, it is inevitable to adopt Energy Conservation Measures (ECMs).If ECMs are included in the design stage, today’s modern and contemporary buildings, can avoid adverse impact on the Environment and Economy by saving 25 percent to 50 percent of its Energy Demand.
As per the study conducted by McKinsey’s on Global cost curve for greenhouse gas abatement measures beyond “business as usual’, almost a quarter of possible emission can be reduced from measures such as better insulation in buildings which carry no net life cycle cost which in effect comes free of cost. India is also witnessing this trend and building envelope insulation is gradually becoming one of the key practices to minimize heat gain in the building and save on increasing energy cost. Apart from the considerable savings in the operational cost, exterior thermal insulation also improves the indoor comfort factor there by providing a healthier environment and enhancing the life of the building.
The traditional and conventional systems of waterproofing and thermal insulation in India worked well for ages to suit to the Indian construction and economics. However, the use of conventional systems such as Brick Bat Coba, tar felt, mud phuska, etc. are not sustainable and require frequent maintenance and also do not suit the complicated site dynamics of today’s construction nor do they offer the required insulation values to comply to the Energy Conservation Building Code (ECBC), an energy code launched by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency in 2007. Today, it is necessary, socially environmentally and economically, to design and constructed buildings adapted to Green Measures. Indian Green Building Council, since 2001, has been creating awareness towards the benefit of green design through LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating system. The Energy Research Institute (TERI) is also creating awareness towards green design through GRIHA (Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment) rating system.
As per ECBC, India is divided into 5 climatic zones and depending upon the building usage i.e. either day time or 24 hours’ operations), thermal performance values have been pre-defined. Efficacy of Insulation is measured by Thermal Resistance (R Value). For instance to achieve a R value of 2.1 m2.k/W (for day time operation building in Mumbai which falls under Warm and Humid Climate), one can use a Brick Bat Coba (BBC) of approx 1900 mm (1.9m) thick or approx 80mm thick Expanded Polystyrene or 40mm thick Dr. Fixit Foamshield from Pidilite Industries. For the same case, BBC would weigh approx 3 Ton/m2 where as Dr. Fixit Foamshield would weight only 2 Kg/m2.
Waterproofing and Insulation material for roof should be selected based on the life cycle analysis and not just the initial investment. An important aspect towards a sustainable performance of such system is the integration between waterproofing and insulation system. Moisture management in envelope assemblies is a very critical design consideration and requires a fundamental understanding of the physics of moisture transport. New age waterproofing technologies are now available across the country which offers excellent performance apart from being a Green Product for e.g. Dr. Fixit Extensa R which offers 1600 percent elongation, water based quick setting spray applied membrane and more products from the industry to manage moisture and water leakages. System detailing would play a vital role as areas like parapet wall, drain collection, pedestal etc are prone to be the soft target for system failure. Trends like single point accountability and manufacturer’s entry in offering turnkey solution can help in eliminating accountability issue when a system fails post completion of work.
India is growing rapidly and it is up to us to leave behind a healthier mother earth for the coming generations.
“No Energy Conservation, know Monetary Loss Know Energy Conservation, No Monetary Loss”
Sanjay Bahadur, Global CEO, Construction Chemicals Division, Pidilite Industries