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Greenest Building in the World
Jamais Cascio, 25 Dec 03

It isn't in the U.S., Great Britain, or Japan. It isn't in Canada, Germany, or New Zealand. It isn't in the hyperdeveloped world at all. The greenest building in the world, as recognized by the United States Green Building Council, is in Hyderabad, India. It's the Confederation of Indian Industry's Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Centre.

InfoChangeIndia gives some details about the building's design:

Two 45-foot wind towers and screen walls provide air pre-cooled by 10 degrees to the air-conditioning system, thereby reducing the amount of energy required for cooling. Says [architect Karan] Grover: “This is called the ‘venturi effect’ in modern buildings. It helps pre-cool the air.” Pointing out the jali (lattice) work in a photograph of the Taj Mahal, he explains: “It’s not the first time for India. We have been doing it since ancient times.”

The Rs 6 crore structure also has photovoltaic panels built into it to generate solar energy that takes care of 20% of the building’s annual energy requirements. Likewise, the electrical fixtures have been automated to save power; 90% of the building does not require any artificial lighting during the day because its circular design allows sunlight to reach every part of it. The building also boasts variable speed motors for its blowers and pumps, and the elaborate use of sensors feeding back to the controls.

Thanks to its circular design, fewer materials were used in the building’s construction. Those that were, were recycled and eco-friendly -- broken mosaic tiles, steel, wood, glass, fly ash brick, oil-and CFC-free equipment and the locally-available bettum cherla stone. Inside, all the carpets and paint are non-toxic. The workers employed in the building’s construction were all local people.

Work on the building started in 2000, and it will be formally inaugurated in January 2004. The Centre serves as a showcase of sustainable design techniques as well as an information resource for Indian businesses.

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