Adopting Low-cost Alternative for Energy Saving
Case Study

In the following, various case studies that have adopted solar passive design features are presented:

Orientation: The TERI SRC building, Bangalore has been selected to show how Orientation also plays an important role in “solar architecture”. The building is located in a long and narrow site, where the southern side has an open drain. The primary winds blow from south to north. The building was oriented along the east-west axis so as to have maximum exposure along north and south which is the most recommended orientation in solar passive architecture. The building opens towards the northern side, taking advantage of glare- free light. The wall towards the south is made into a blank wall, allowing the breeze to flow over the building, which in turn, creates negative pressure and starts pulling fresh air from the north into the building. (source: Energy-efficient buildings in India, Mili Majumdar, TERI & MNRE, 2001)

Fig: Site Plan of TERI SRC showing longer sides facing North-South Fig: Section of TERI SRC building showing wind movement
Diagram showing circular built form for thermal comfort and innovative site planning to reduce wastage  

Shading: The design criteria in the moderate zone are to reduce heat gain by providing shading to the building envelope.

Roof Insulation

Roof insulation can be provided by applying some techniques such as filler slabs and roof gardens. In Mary Mathew’s Residence in Bangalore a roof system of precast hollow terracota curved panels with nominal GI reinforcement. A nominal layer of concrete of only 2 inch thickness at the crown of panel was poured into the place. The hollow terracota layer works as heat resistant layer.

On the roof top of TERI SRC insulation is provided in the form of terrace gardens. The ground covered roof provides good insulation and moderates fluctuations in temperature. (source: Energy-efficient buildings in India, Mili Majumdar, TERI & MNRE, 2001)


Fig: TERI SRC roof garden section

Daylight integration: In TERI SRC there was a detailed study and the fenestrations have been designed so that requirement of artificial lighting is minimal during day time. By creating atrium spaces with skylights, the section of the building is designed in such a way that natural daylight enters into the building, considerably reducing the dependence on artificial lighting. (source: Energy-efficient buildings in India, Mili Majumdar, TERI & MNRE, 2001)

Fig: TERI SRC Interior photo


Advanced passive cooling strategies:

This section briefly presents case studies that have adopted passive cooling strategies.


Solar chimney: in TERI SRC building the south wall was treated as in independent system linking the rear walls of the building over a cavity. This cavity creates a negative pressure setting up the conventional currents. The entire system works very effectively in generating the desired reverse wind circulation. The blank wall carries a clad with black cudappa. The colour black was deliberately chosen because of its heat absorptive power which is the highest among all colours. The working of the system is very simple. The sun’s rays heat the black south wall increasing the temperature of immediate environment around. This causes the air in the cavity to rise upwards through conventional means. These conventional currents are pulled up by the natural winds blowing south to north. This creates a vaccum at the top core of the structure. To fill this vaccum, air from inside is drawn up which is again pulled up by moving conventional currents. This system of the hot air rising up and drawing of the cool fresh air is a continuous process. Hence, reverse wind circulation is established by bringing in the fresh air from the north open face of the building and drawing it through the entire section of the structure and removing it by conventional means up through solar wind vents. (source: GRIHA Manual Vol.1).

Fig: Details of the solar chimney in the building
Courtyards and verandahs:  the verandah and the garden court of Mary Mathew’s house form focal points around which interior spaces revolve. The garden court is formally defined by the water tank pivotal position at its corner. The south- west wall flanks the verandah, which in differing densities encloses the service spaces and shields the garden court from the sun. (source: Energy-efficient buildings in India, Mili Majumdar, TERI & MNRE, 2001
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