Adopting Low-cost Alternative for Energy Saving
Case Study

Various case studies that have adopted solar passive design features are presented below:

Orientation: The TERI retreat building, Gurgaon has been selected to show how Orientation plays an important role in ‘solar architecture’. The TERI retreat 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. South orientation receives maximum solar radiation during winters which is preferable as composite climate receives severe winters. The orientation ensured winter sun (while keeping the summer sun out) and adequate daylight in the building. (source: Energy-efficient buildings in India, Mili Majumdar, TERI & MNRE, 2001)

  Fig.1: A north view of the RETREAT building

Building Form: The form of the Punjab Energy Development energy [PEDA] office complex in Chandigarh is a climate-responsive building, with an innovative concept of architectural design. The building site is located on a major road intersection and lies on the edge of a residential area with other proposed office buildings on the other edge. The building form is a three-dimensional form developed in response to solar geometry, i.e. minimizing solar heat gain in the hot-dry period and maximizing solar heat gain in the cold period, the scale and form of the building on the two main roads of the intersection bears the character and scale of a office building, the building responds to the residential context on the south/south-east edges by gradually scaling down in mass and volume. (source: Energy-efficient buildings in India, Mili Majumdar, TERI & MNRE, 2001)

  Fig.2: South view of the building showing solar water heating panels and solar chimney
Fig.3:Interconnected volumes of space to enable passive space conditioning of entire volume of the building Fig.4: Sectional view of the domical roof for ventilation and day lighting

Building Form: The TERI RETREAT building in Gurgaon depicts the best case for solar passive design. The building has been designed with adequate shading devices and fenestration has been designed to cut off summer sun and let in winter sun. The external walls are also shaded adequately with red stone jail and deciduous trees. Creepers and trees along the walls add to the insulation and help evaporative cooling. (source: Energy-efficient buildings in India, Mili Majumdar, TERI & MNRE, 2001)

Fig.5: Half North block with red stone jail and landscaping Fig.6: Red stone jail as a shading device for external facades Fig.7: Solar panels are used to shade the roof and form a ‘solar roof’

Daylight integration: The ITC, Green Centre in Gurgaon adopts effective daylight integration. At ITC Green Centre, during day time, unlike other office buildings, artificial light is not consumed at all. The design of the building ensures natural light penetration deep into the interior spaces. The glazing for the building has been designed to maximize the effect of natural light, largely eliminating the need for artificial ones, yet cutting down the heat gain in the interiors. (source: Report on ITC Green centre, ITC)

Fig.8: Elevation of the ITC Green Centre with high performance glass Fig.9: The massive ceiling of the building allows adequate amount of natural light deep into the interior spaces (source: Report on ITC Green centre, ITC).
Landscaping: The SOS Tibetan children’s village at Rajpur, Dehradun adopts a careful landscape planning. Landscape planning has been carefully done to provide shelter from cold winter winds and access to winter sun. The planning and plantation schemes are combined. The large playground is in a wind-sheltered zone with clear winter sun access, while the existing fruit orchard in the campus doubles as a shaded playground. Smaller pockets between buildings, benches under the shelter of trees and low walls to sit or slide on are also planned as places for informal recreation. (source: Energy-efficient buildings in India, Mili Majumdar, TERI & MNRE, 2001)

Fig.10: The site plan of the building integrated to the landscape of the area

Fig.11: Habitable out door space with lush green landscape

Water bodies:  The fountain in the Transportation Corporation of India Ltd, (TCIL) building, Gurgaon is a re-circulating system in which a large body of water flows over extensive surfaces to maximize evaporation. Water evaporation has a cooling effect on the surrounding areas. The tall solid concrete columns of broad diameters over which the water trickles down the height of the courtyard, and the thin sheet that overflows the sides of the pool at ground level create a large heat sink and a body of air close to wet bulb temperature. The white marble sides of the tank reflect the courtyard light into the basement work areas. This showcases demonstration of a natural element in true harness and as an appropriate modifier of micro-climate. (source: Energy-efficient buildings in India, Mili Majumdar, TERI & MNRE, 2001)

  Fig.12: Water in a fountain in TCIL building as a modifier of micro-climate

Advanced passive cooling strategies:

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


Solar chimney: A central evaporative cooler located above the staircase well at the residence of a family in Panchkula helps in providing good and natural ventilation. It helps escape warm air out of the building and facilitates entry of cool air into the building from openings near the ground. This air circulated is augmented by a solar chimney which extracts air from the front room. Louvres in the doors ensure air circulation even if the doors are closed. (source: Energy-efficient buildings in India, Mili Majumdar, TERI & MNRE, 2001)

  Fig.13: Details of the solar chimney in the building

Courtyards and verandahs: The American Institute of Indian studies, Gurgaon is one of the best examples of providing spaces with different thermal characteristics through verandahs and courtyards. As one moves in from the lobby, the building opens up to two sunken courtyards with vegetation and water. The sunken courtyards provide an element of surprise to visitors and bring adequate daylight and ventilation into all areas of the building. The architect has attempted to restore to the courtyard its original function of being an internal climate modifier. The breezy central verandah is ideally suited for the monsoon period. The first court is ornamental with a water pool and fountain while the send one has plants and sitting areas. The diagonal placement of two courtyards, with the second one being open-ended, has immensely increased the air circulation within the building. (source: Energy-efficient buildings in India, Mili Majumdar, TERI & MNRE, 2001)

Fig.14: Elevation of the building Fig.15: Internal courtyard as a climate modifier
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