Home News Nalanda campus may become first net-zero campus in India

Nalanda campus may become first net-zero campus in India

Nalanda University campus when completed will become country’s first net-zero campus meaning whatever energy consumed within the campus will be generated within the campus itself. Since the location has no potential to generate energy using wind as a source the university will be using an alternative approach.

The alternative being adopted is the utilization of Solar P.V. and energy generation through Bio Mass. The campus will be using the solar energy during day and the energy generated through renewable sources at night to minimize requirement for energy storage. Net metering further adds a reliable backup for the strategy. Goal of Net Zero requires first reduction of energy demand and then fulfilling the demand using renewable energy. A Series of innovations in architectural design, Air Conditioning and Plumbing systems ensure a reduction in the overall demand. Once the demand is reduced the focus is on generating required energy through renewable sources.

The architectural design takes inspiration from the existing ruins of Nalanda. The design attempts to blur the boundary between the inside and the outside. The periphery is solid, cladded in brick while the interiors use all contemporary materials. A solid heavy mass in the periphery houses all services and circulation areas and ensures the first layer of insulation from the outside heat. The interior spaces are then micro cooled further through the DEVAP (a low energy cooling) system housed within the climate towers. Design development looked in all design aspects to keep energy demand to the lowest possible level. All buildings are simulated in energy simulation software to ensure correct orientation, well shaded facades, appropriate building envelop & optimized daylight levels. These considerations reduce heat gain in the building by 30%.

Hot and Humid climate of the area offered a challenge in obtaining low energy cooling system. Therefore, the cooling system consists of three stage cooling strategy – chemical dehumidification, evaporative cooling and air conditioning. The dehumidification is driven by waste heat available from electricity generation process. This three-stage process over a conventional air cooling reduces cooling load by 40%. This strategy has been used in parts at various locations but all three parts will be working together in this project for the first time.

Bihar being mainly an agricultural state has a huge biomass (rice husk) available. The University also has a large land where algae can be grown. Nalanda University proposes to use of Solar P.V. and Electricity generation from Bio Mass i.e. rice husk & algae. This dual approach takes benefit of solar energy during day and biomass based electricity at night. With this dual energy source University plans to produce 100% electricity on site using renewable energy sources. Also having a secondary renewable energy source minimizes use of battery for storage. Excess Energy can also be exported to the grid, if required.

The project location has good rainfall with large catchment area and the campus will utilise this potential and collect surface water in large manmade lakes. Collected water is then treated further before use. Project also uses Decentralized Waste Water Treatment for sewage treatment. Treated water is used for landscaping.

All of these strategies are planned for the entire project but will be tested in an “Outreach Center”. The performance of outreach center will be monitored and strategies will be fine-tuned before implementing it on other buildings and campus area. Repetition of model for Phase 1 & Phase 2 buildings will be done by the university.

Nalanda University, established in November 2010, is setting up a campus in the town of Rajgir in the Nalanda district of Bihar. The site for the University is on the South West outskirts of Rajgir town at a distance of 3.5 kms from the current urban edge of the town. Rajgir also happens to be the administrative sub division of Nalanda district. The whole campus is planned to be constructed in two phases. The first phase will be of approximately 1,40,200 Sqm of Built up area.

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