Divide by Net-Zero: Infinite Potential or Calculation Error? A Quasi-Academic Design and Construction Project in India

Rajan Rawal, Prasad Vaidya, Sanyogita Manu, Yash Shukla  | 2017


This paper traces the design and construction process of a net-zero energy building (NZEB) in a university campus in India. Climate resilient, high performance building design warrants an integrated and iterative design process with front-loaded analysis to arrive at an optimized solution. The building discussed in this paper is designed to work as a living-laboratory where the architectural elements and systems components are designed with flexibility to allow for experimentation with systems and operations. A team formed under a US-India bilateral project with expert consultants from across the world and local consultants’ experienced in execution proposed a highly optimized and context-appropriate solution. A master architect, a design, construction and occupant-cum-commissioning team, other consultants, and equipment and material suppliers worked together to evolve the building design. The design of the comfort and energy monitoring systems for the building form an important demonstration of the collaboration between academia and industry which is not typical in India. The building serves as an example of the challenges and opportunities that integrated design offers and this paper elaborates on some of the important lessons for all stakeholders – architecture students, professionals, researchers and industry, who are going to play a vital role in the making of high performance buildings in future. The paper highlights the experiences during the design detailing, construction and equipment sourcing, that prove challenging to smaller NZEBs in developing economies