Green ministry walks the talk, shifts to new, eco-friendly address

Written by Kirtika Suneja | New Delhi | Updated: Feb 24 2014, 21:02pm hrs
MoEF officeThe MoEF's associated offices, including the Ozone Cell and the Wild Life Crime Control Bureau will also find a new home in the building. Express
When the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) shifts its base from Paryavaran Bhawan at CGO Complex to the brand new Indira Paryavaran Bhawan in the tony Jor Bagh area on February 25, it's not just a slight extension in the complex's name that the green authority will inherit.

From 100% on-site generation of power to a geo-thermal heat exchange system, the new office complex will be a green structure in letter as well as spirit.

The MoEF's associated offices, including the Ozone Cell and the Wild Life Crime Control Bureau, will also find a new home in the building. Others, like the National Tiger Conservation Authority and the Central Zoo Authority, will then move to CGO Complex from their current locations so that the two addresses remain exclusive to the ministry.

Indira Paryavaran Bhawan will be a net zero energy building and will generate its own power from a roof-top solar plant catering to the full load of 900 kW. Simply put, the building complex will not draw any power from the grid; on the contrary, it will feed extra power back to the grid, if possible, said environment ministry officials.

As per reports, it is this prime feature that led to an escalation in the the project cost. Initially planned at Rs 131 crore when the project was conceived in 2009, the total cost is now Rs 209.6 crore, said an MoEF official.

We had to accommodate a greater number of solar photo-voltaic cells to achieve net zero energy, which led to an increase in costs. Besides, there is no surface parking, due to which the underground parking had to be mechanised, said the official.

Also, while the ministry had been planning the big shift for quite a while now, the high moving costs were coming in the way, estimated to be well over Rs 50 lakh.

Comprising four towers, the Indira Paryavaran Bhawan has the capacity to house almost 1,000 officials, including three ministers and their offices. It has a plinth area of 30,914 square metres with terrace gardens on one of the towers.

The new complex will be the first government-owned property with a target to be a five-star GRIHA and Leed India Platinum Rating building. While GRIHA (Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment) is a green building design evaluation system, Leed (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a rating system for the design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings.

Some of the energy-efficient fixtures include innovative chilled beam system for cooling, pre-cooling of fresh air from toilet exhaust using heat recovery wheel to reduce load on chiller plant and water-cooled chillers.

A geo-thermal heat exchange technology has also been planned for heat rejection from the air-conditioning system.

An innovative energy-saving regenerative lift system will be installed for the first time in a government institutional building. The mechanised car parking is also a first for a government building and will accommodate some 344-odd cars, the official added.

Water conservation measures adopted in the building include low-discharge water fixtures and dual-flushing cisterns and drip irrigation system.

As per the ministry's claims, as against the mandatory 72 trees that had to be planted for green ratings, it has planted 94 trees and cut only 19 trees to construct its new headquarters.