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  • Green and Sustainable Education Campus: A case study of TERI University

    The TERI University established and constituted in 1998, dedicates itself to the study of environment, energy and natural resources for attaining the far-reaching goal of sustainable development. The campus is housed in a green building in New Delhi and is spread over two acres of land, and is one of the first in the country for a university and it further aims to minimize the ecological footprint. The genesis of the TERI University is rooted in the comprehensive research, consultancy, and outreach activities of TERI, a not for profit independent research institute recognized globally for its contribution to scientific and policy research in the realms of energy, environment, and sustainable development. The University has two faculties – the Faculty of Applied Sciences and the Faculty of Policy and Planning and approximately 640 students.

    The University building already has features that contribute to ~40 per cent energy savings vis-a-vis a conventional building. For energy conservation, the campus is equipped with three types of cooling systems; earth air tunnel (EAT) used for free cooling/heating of the building, variable refrigerant volume (VRV) air-conditioning system, similar to an efficient version of a split air conditioner and thermal mass storage (TMS), which involves storing energy when available and using it when required (Pant and Jain, 2010). Insulation of external walls is done with rock wool and that of terrace is done with vermiculite and puff insulation topped with high Solar Reflective Index (SRI) material for efficient heat reflection. Usage of material like double glazing window units help in reducing heat gained by the building. Also, the campus is designed to receive ample amount of daylight. Building design and lighting arrangement support use of daylight. Building direction and design also prevents heating during summer. The solar water heating system is being used in the hostel block to save energy from grid. The compact florescent lamps (CFLs) are used in the entire campus.

    A recent study conducted for energy modeling for the campus showed that reduction in energy demand was due to energy efficient features and green design of the building. Efficient HVAC systems with VRV, Shading analysis and louvers incorporation on exposed face of building contribute highly to energy savings. The energy simulation results show that cafeteria is most efficient in energy saving from lighting. This fact is also supported by daylight simulation results as it receives maximum amount of daylight for most of the day. Office building shows maximum energy savings in HVAC, which could be due to use of louvers, which reduce the cooling load of the building but doesn’t block the natural light as supported by daylight analysis. In the current setup, the per capita CO2 emissions are ~0.8 ton per annum, which is lower compared to other examples across the world.

    The energy saving of the buildings can increase with simple measures, such as, reduced use of blinds to reduce the artificial lighting usage as it is evident from daylight analysis using Radiance that the building receives ample amount of daylight. Placement of louvers (at inclination of 90 degree) can reduce HVAC load especially in buildings with high WWR (example cafeteria block 40%) can help in energy demand reduction, which allows sufficient daylight and reduce the glare and heat gained (Husin and Harith, 2012). Keeping room temperature at 24 °C can help reduce HVAC cooling load (Bhaskoro et al, 2013; Larsena et al, 2012). This will decrease heat gain of the building and will also allow daylight. With incorporation of sensors such as lighting, temperature, CO2; energy consumption of the building may reduce even more but further study needs to be done on the same.

    However, in the coming years, the University plans to adopt renewable sources of energy on-campus. Besides this, the University believes that there is a need to ensure maintenance of the existing cooling and heating systems. The University is also carrying out a detailed carbon footprint analysis, which would help in estimating the total GHG emissions due to energy usage. The TERI University’s carbon footprint from energy consumption is ~0.8 tons CO2-eq per capita, which is lower, compared to UCT’s and Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s footprint ~3.2 tons, 33.1 CO2-eq per capita, respectively but higher than the National University of Lesotho’s value of 0.1. However, the TERI University is taking measures to reduce its carbon footprint by generating electricity by the roof-top solar system very soon. It will further reduce carbon footprints by nearly 50%.

    Approximately 25 per cent of water savings is due to use of low flow fixtures on campus. Treatment of wastewater generated in the hostel block of the University is used for landscaping purpose. Entire campus including roofs and floor area is under rainwater harvesting system. Entire water collected during the monsoon season as well as cleaning of floors is used for aquifer recharge on campus.

    About The Author:
    Suresh Jain and Sandeep Dahiya
    Department of Natural Resources
    TERI University, New Delhi-110070



    • Bhaskoro, P.T., Ilani, S.I.U.H., Aris, M.S., 2013. Simulation of energy saving potential of a centralized HVAC system in an academic building using adaptive cooling technique. Energy Conversion and Management, 73:617–628.
    • Husin, S. N. F. S., Harith, Z. Y. H., 2012. The Performance of Daylight through Various Type of Fenestration in Residential Building; Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 36:196–203.
    • Jain, S. and Pant, P., 2010. An Environmental Management System for Educational Institute: A Case Study of TERI University, New Delhi. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, 11 (3):236-249.
    • Larsena, S.F; Flippin, C; Gozaleza, S., 2012. Study of the energy consumption of a massive free-running building in the Argentinean northwest through monitoring and thermal simulation. Energy and Buildings, 47:341–352.

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