Adopting Low-cost Alternative for Energy Saving
Case Study

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

Orientation: The West Bengal Pollution Control Board building had used orientation to be a positive feature of the adverse site. The site was not suitable in this respect, being a long narrow plot facing north-west and south-east. A conventional plan would have exposed large glazed areas to south-east, north-west and south-west, resulting in the useless glare of direct sunlight and excessive heat gain. By effective architectural design, the key laboratories and office spaces are oriented north-south for both daylighting, good ventilation and optimum thermal condition

  Fig.1: A typical floor plan showing the staggered plan form to ensure maximum daylight and ventilation and minimum direct solar gains

Building Form: With the objective of designing a sustainable the architect had used building form as a major solar passive strategy in the building silent valley, a resort near Kalasa, on the way to Kudremuk on the eastern slope of the Western Ghats of Karnataka. The building form of the adopts a circular form which has lowest surface to volume ratio and thus reducing the conduction gains from the building envelope as well as solar gains from the windows which makes the building an energy efficient building in this warm & humid climate.

  Fig.2: A view of the building in the resort
Diagram showing circular built form for thermal comfort and innovative site planning to reduce wastage  

Shading: The shading devices of the West Bengal Pollution Control Board building were designed specifically for different wall orientations to control the glare and reduce the thermal load on the building. For windows facing north, vertical louvers normal to the wall, capped by horizontal members of the same width on top are adequate to provide the required shading. Windows facing south were generally shaded with horizontal louvers. Normally these horizontal louvers should extend much beyond the window, possibly to other windows at the same level, to avoid sun light coming partly from the corners. Hence, instead of extending the horizontal members to any distance beyond the window on either side, two vertical louvers were provided at the two extremes. For windows oriented east and west, the recommended shading device is a combination of horizontal and vertical louvers. The horizontal louver is normal to the wall but the vertical louver is inclined at 30º towards the south, away from the normal to the wall. This has the advantage of letting in the winter sun during early mornings on the east façade and of completely cutting off summer sun from morning to evening. The shades are designed so that the summer sun is cut off and the winter sun is allowed in. the compute simulations of the design also proved the huge amount of energy saving by providing different kind of shading devices

Fig.A view of the building showing north-oriented windows of office space and laboratories.

Daylight integration: The CMC (Computer Maintenance Corporation) building at Bandra, Mumbai is an intelligent, hi-tech, and energy – efficient building and is a good example for integration of day lighting with the lighting system. Windows are located on the periphery are unable to transmit daylight deep into the working areas (11-13 m in the case of this building). A central atrium with circulation routes around the atrium introduces daylight in all floors and effectively reduces the depth of the working areas to 9m. The double glazed peripheral windows are split into two parts- the upper half is used for day lighting and the lower half for view. The upper window incorporates small light shelves in the form of reflective Venetian blinds operated by microprocessor-control-led motors which tilt the slates at predetermined angles in response to the angle of incidence of sunlight on different faces of the building. The motorized louvers are designed to be automatically adjusted, to reflect sunlight onto the ceiling, which has white painted flat and angled panels. This method provides more light deep inside the office space and improves daylight distribution near the windows. The lower half of the window is fitted with reflective glass and ordinary Venetian blinds, which people can adjust according to their needs. For better maintenance, the blinds are enclosed between outer and inner sheet of glass. The net effect of these measures is that during daylight hours, practically no artificial lighting is needed.

Fig. Elevation of the CMC building, Mumbai

Fig: A central atrium as a means of daylighting in the CMC building, Munbai Fig. Elevation of the CMC building, Mumbai

Landscaping: The Silent Valley, a resort near Kalasa, on the way to Kudremuk on the eastern slope of the Western Ghats of Karnataka adopts a careful landscape planning. The built environment is beautifully merged with the natural landscape. The scenary is indeed breath taking and has the effect of taking one’s imagination to unbelievable heights. The building follows the existing contour and interplay with the natural landscape. Instead of indiscriminately chopping of trees to give way to construction activitiy, the mature plants have been retained and made a part of the building. Natural tree canopies provide excellent shading for the houses. The natural contours have been retained and used effectively to minimize effects of vehicular pollution as well as for protection against strong winds. The restaurant of the resort, which is a multi-deck structure, follows the natural contour and is designed without the conventional wall; the hills are its walls.



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

The resort built spaces with lush green landscape


Advanced passive cooling strategies:

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


Solar chimney: Special emphasis was laid on natural lighting in the visitors centre of Auroville as various types of people use this building as a training site. It also taps only renewable sources and is not connected to the grid of the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board. The climate is warm and humid. Therefore, natural ventilation is necessary for comfort. However, during the hottest part of the year when there is almost no breeze, an integrated solar chimney causes wind draught in the room below. This is a demonstration solar passive ventilation technique.

  The entrance arcade of the visitors centre is spanned by arches in compressed earth blocks
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