Pankaj Soni, who has around 20 years of professional industry experience, discusses the green building movement in India with Renu Rajaram.
What is your outlook on green buildings in India?
Sustainable design should involve more than just site orientation and energy-saving construction techniques. What goes into a building in the way of infrastructure is equally important. Well-planned HVAC, plumbing and other mechanical engineering systems are essential to making a building sustainable throughout its lifecycle.
How can existing buildings be made more energy efficient?
Energy costs typically represent 30 per cent of a building’s annual budget and are the single largest operating cost (Energy Star). The Energy Systems Lab at Texas A&M University indicated that energy use in buildings could be reduced from 10 to 40 per cent by improving operational strategies in buildings, including maintenance strategies.
With welded and flanged piping systems, accessing valves, strainers, pumps and water softeners is often a time-consuming and inconvenient process due to system shutdown and drainage. The more difficult the process the more likely the maintenance will be deferred.
Mechanical pipe joining systems provide an optimal way to effectively maintain piping systems in structures, thereby reducing the deferral of maintenance and promoting operating efficiency and saving money. Their ease of installation and ability to disassemble and reinstall the same components make them a simple solution for the frequent performance of both routine and unscheduled maintenance. For access to a grooved piping system, a maintenance person simply loosens the two coupling bolts.
Less deferred maintenance means peak energy efficiency and operation of buildings, and reduced overall costs. Repairs for equipment and buildings that have not been well-maintained are often far higher than the estimated maintenance costs.
What are the major challenges faced by the Indian green building movement?
Given the busy agendas and budget constraints in India today, it is easy to see why familiar procedures are replicated. But, in reality, tried and tested alternatives techniques can have huge impact on both the immediate and future economic and sustainability returns.
What are Victualic’s green initiatives and how do your products help build green?
Sustainable building materials are extremely important for India and Victaulic products are manufactured from 90 per cent recycled materials. The company is a founding member of the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) and is involved with BRE Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) and other international initiatives.
Victaulic components may contribute to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification through reduced construction site footprint and overall waste due to pre-fabrication, bag and tag of materials and coordinated shipments to jobsite, as well as reduction in electricity consumption during installation and maintenance activities through the elimination of weld installations.
Grooved mechanical pipe joining systems provide an attractive alternative to welding and flanging for engineers, installers and owners alike. They allow quick, easy, safe installation and maintenance to meet compressed project schedules, along with maximum operating efficiency and built-in sustainability. The benefits also combine to give a lower total installed cost over the life of the system.
Reducing the need for welding, soldering or brazing means better air quality, less particulate matter released into the atmosphere and decreased fire risk. There also is less material waste, reducing site impact.
Tell us about your ‘Green’ rated projects and ‘Green’ measures observed by your company.
Grooved pipe joining technology is rooted in sustainability; its inherent qualities naturally make it environmentally friendly. Even before the evolution of green building the grooved piping system has been providing a more efficient, cleaner and safer system when compared with other pipe joining methods, such as welding, soldering or brazing.Victaulic piping systems have been installed in numerous LEED Platinum and LEED Gold rated buildings including Manitoba Hydro Place in the US, Eighth Avenue Place in Canada, and the Park Hotel Hyderabad, which utilised the company’s large diameter Advanced Groove System (AGS) piping solution to reduce the need for onsite welding.
The reduction of airborne weld emissions and particulate matter means less air-borne pollution providing for a more sustainable environment, and also a safer job site during construction, maintenance or retrofit work.