Category Archives: Power

Kolkata hosts the best builder minds as IGBC plans the future

KolkataIt was a weekend meant for reflection. Some of the finest minds in the country now spearheading the building industry’s future in terms of both powering the industry growth, as well as shaping policy met at a quiet resort outside of Kolkata.

The leaders present were the heads of national building majors – Tata Housing, DLF, Raheja, Daikin and Carrier Aircon, and many other national majors who are mentoring the greening of India’s building professionals.

They were from 15 cities and 8 states represented with the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the City Chapters at the conclave.

The agenda was: to see how they could bring about greater enrollment to the purpose of not just building but offering inspiring directions in managing sustainably natural resources that go into making of building infrastructure.

“I have not had a more intense and mentally fatiguing day!” said a first-timer leader participant. The first day saw over 14 hours of exchange of views, opinions, perspectives on what role the Indian Green Building Council can play in mobilizing opinion and galvanizing action among builders nationally.
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For gridless power at home or office.

Solar installation at a ZED home

Just the 5 star geysers refrigerators and AC’s in India are saving about 9000 MW of power generation every day. India produces 220,000 MW. Government has cleared 80,000 more MW. And they want to raise this to 700,000 MW. Where’s the coal? India is creating 3 nuclear plants when Germany and Japan have closed all their N plants after 20 years. Coal mines destroy lives, livelihoods, forests and rivers.

Actual end-use power used is a mere 30,000 MW, if local power from solar and wind is not fed to grid but used directly by homes, offices, factories, hotels and hospitals.

The power industry lobby fears loss of the massive business if local power is promoted. Governments don’t want to lose the opportunity big spending offers of making speed money.

A solar station costs no more than 4-10 lakhs at about 2 lakhs to a KW of quality generation. It saves money on Gen-sets and UPS. Diesel power costs Rs. 20 a unit. UPS cost over 2 years with battery replacement Rs. 14 a unit. Solar costs Rs. 13 a unit, with the catch that you’ve to invest, not the government. Your BESCOM tariff is 7 to 14 a unit depending on user category.

What would you want to do?

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Delhi groundwater may run dry in 3-5 years: study

“History shows us civilizations have vanished once water is also gone. Water carries people and we need to wake up now and do something before it is too late,” Mrinal Kanti Sen, director of NGRI told TOI on Tuesday.

Staring at an acute crisis, NGRI has been asked by the Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) under the ministry of water resources to trace new aquifers using heliborne electromagnetic techniques in the states of Rajasthan , Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Bihar and Rajasthan.

“The government is concerned and we are gearing up to find new aquifers all over the country as this is the only way out,” says Sen.

In Hyderabad, despite a very good 2011 monsoon, water levels in places like Sanjeevareddy Nagar and Maredpally were at a depth of just about 18 metres; the situation in other observatory zones are equally bad.

Hydrogeologists at NGRI and government water board officials say that with cities turning into concrete jungles very little rain water is getting infiltrated into the earth for conversion into groundwater.

“In an ideal scenario, at least 16% of total rainfall must seep into the earth to get recharged as groundwater , but in cities such as Hyderabad, Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai barely half of it does. This is very alarming,” says Dr SN Rai, a top scientist at NGRI.

“It is going to go down further, and at this rate Hyderabad will the first to run dry in three years time. Delhi will be next and may run dry in three to five years. There is a bleak future in store for other metros,” adds Rai, also the vice president of International Association of Hydrogeologists. NGRI scientists say the scenario in Delhi, western Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Rajasthan are very bad with groundwater in 20 out of 27 tehsils in Delhi receding rapidly.

A two-year CGWB study shows that groundwater use in Delhi was upto 12,569 hectare metres (HM) against an extremely poor recharge of 2,652- 4,172 hm per tehsil. Vasant Vihar, Hauz Khas, Chankayapuri , along with Karol Bagh, Kotwali, Kalakji, Rajouri Garden and Paharganj, are among the worst exploited areas, officials say. Rampant digging of bore wells and poor water recharge areas due to construction of buildings are the reasons, they offer.

In Mumbai, civic bodies are resorting to artificial rains as the city’s water collection and storage is nearly 30 percent deficient; water needs can be handled only till February 2013.

CGWB officials say they have plans to revive 8000-10 ,000 old wells and hundreds of ring wells instead of the current trend of bore wells which does not help in water recharge.The only bright spot in Mumbai is that water levels in the lakes are higher than what it was last time, scientists say. The scenario in the southern metro of Chennai isn’t happy either, with hydrogeologists saying that the already declining groundwater level has been contaminated due to over exploitation . In fact, CGWB says that 247 out of 451 water samples taken from all districts of Tamil Nadu showed high levels of chloride, fluoride and nitrate — all very harmful for humans.The situation looked dangerous in towns like Perambalur, Namakkal , Salem and Vellore, officials say. In some of the areas, officials are using air compressors instead of pumps to draw groundwater.

“If Hyderabad is the worst, Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai have huge water worries of their own. Unless local governments and people learn to conserve water and think about our next generation, it’s all downhill from here,” says Dr Rai.

Scientists say every big household in the city needs a minimum 3 x 10 feet pit to collect rain water from the roof and divert it to the pits for recharge . Ramesh Kumar, deputy director at the Andhra Pradesh groundwater department, says that indiscriminate digging of bore wells, and encroachment of lakes and water tanks are the prime culprits. The city has only 300-odd lakes remaining out of 900 plus in the late 1960s.

“As a result we are forced to get water from Nagarjunasagar, about 140 km away from the city, to meet water demand,” says Kumar. “Hyderabad will run dry and there is no doubt about it if this trend continues.”

WWF Announces Outstanding Business Innovations to Fight Climate Change

2WWF announces list of companies with winning technologies under its Climate Solvers programme, underscoring both the benefit and opportunity for business to contribute to fighting climate change.

Gland, Switzerland – While political will appears to be lacking in terms of tackling climate change, the will of creative and energetic entrepreneurs working in the field of climate innovation is on the increase.

Companies with winning technologies have recently been announced by WWF under its Climate Solversprogramme, underscoring both the benefit and opportunity for business to contribute to fighting climate change.

Innovation is typically a new way of doing something while increasing the value for a customer. WWF believes that this customer value must include radically reduced carbon emissions, energy access and compatibility with a transition to a renewable energy future as described in WWF’s Energy Report.

Climate innovations are often primarily associated with mitigation activities but infrastructure that enables more renewables and energy access solutions are also considered climate innovation, as are innovative financial services that can scale these to market faster.

WWF’s Climate Solvers programme recognizes top climate innovations in key countries. While it has been implemented in Sweden for the past five years, innovation work has now expanded to the UK, Netherlands and China. India will announce their first selection of Climate Solver entrepreneurs in early 2013.

The global market for clean technology manufacturing doubled between 2008 and 2011 to almost reach 200 billion Euros per year. By 2015, the clean tech sector is expected to rival the oil and gas equipment market, when the forecasted market size will be between €240 and 290 billion, says Samantha Smith, WWF’s Global Climate and Energy Initiative leader.

“What science tells us and what millions of people experienced this year is that fighting climate change is now extremely urgent. This year alone, we have witnessed some of the most devastating effects of climate change all around the world.”

“As CO2 emissions reached record highs, Artic sea ice reached record lows, droughts blistered the world’s grain-producing areas, and wheat, corn and soybean prices hit historic peaks. And when food prices spike, poor people go hungry. While we work to urge our political leaders to start taking decisions that will positively impact climate change, we also work to encourage and support innovators who are making a difference right now,” she says.

Climate innovation is also about business opportunities and poverty alleviation. It’s about avoiding wasteful consumption and job generation that make emissions in our society shrink, says WWF’s Innovations Programme Manager Stefan Henningsson.

“The transition from a high-fossil-fuel economy to a clean, renewable energy economy requires new solutions, products, systems and services which will radically reduce climate impact. Such climate innovations are numerous, proven and available. The question is how to employ them at speed and scale, globally,” he says.

Innovations that have a good business case can instil confidence for policy makers to dare to increase ambition on reducing cuts so that these innovations can grow and create even more decent jobs, says Henningsson. Investors, business and policy makers all need to play proactive roles for major commercialization of climate positive solutions carried by entrepreneurs.

Some of the innovations recognized this year include:

  • rental of solar charged vehicles with no upfront costs;
  • retrofit mortgage for energy efficiency in existing building stock;
  • innovative solar cell manufacturing technology;
  • one stop shop for business/home info on renewable energy investments;
  • smart storage battery charging;
  • waste gas reuse for improved steel manufacturing;
  • financial services and technologies for better access to cooking, lighting and charging in poor countries with the help of easily available renewable energy.

WWF Innovation Award Winners for 2012 by Country


Universal Energy Electrical Co. Ltd: Smart Self-Adaptive Storage Battery Charger

Electric cars are more and more a match for their fossil fuel counterparts in terms of comfort and performance. One of the main reasons they aren’t more prevalent is that compared with petrol stations, battery chargers aren’t common and the entire battery charging process can be slow. Universal Energy’s Smart Self-Adaptive Storage Battery Charger improves charging energy efficiency from a conventional 60%-85% up to 97%, which helps makes charging at least twice as fast as with traditional chargers. Further, the charger is only about 1/20th the weight of typical charging solutions with the same power output. Universal Energy’s chargers are currently used by the Chinese military, but with their high-performance characteristics, the company is hopeful they’ll receive strong interest from the private sector.

Wuhan Yunhe Dingyu Refrigeration Science & Technology Co. Ltd: Thermal-Chemical Absorption Refrigeration System

In China, refrigeration, from air conditioning to freezing, is a major consumer of electricity and hence emitter of carbon emissions. Beyond that, the commonly used refrigerants are much worse greenhouse gases than carbon dioxide. Yunhe’s Thermal-Chemical Absorption Refrigeration System replaces electricity as the power source with heat from diesel engine exhaust, industrial steam, or even solar energy. Further, it replaces substances with high global warming potential as the refrigerant with ammonia, and gets rid of electric compressors altogether. Yunhe technology is already found in the air conditioners, ice makers, and freezers of some fishing boats.

China City Environment Protection Engineering Co. Ltd: LHVG Safe and Clean Power Generation System

China has grown into the world’s largest steel producer. And all that steel making produces vast amounts of chemical gases containing vast amounts of heat, which represents not only great wastage of chemical and thermal energy, but also air pollution. CCEP’s Low Heat Value Gas Safe and Clean Power Generation System can take these otherwise waste gases, combust them to create greater heat, and then drive a gas or steam turbine to produce power for the steelmakers.

Nanjing Xingfei Cooling Apparatus Co. Ltd: Hydrodynamic Cooling Tower

China’s landscape is dotted with huge cooling towers marking a chemical plant, pulp and paper manufacturing, steel industry, power station or any other business that produces a large amount of waste heat. Many of these towers use electric fans to aid in the cooling process, and the electric fans add to power bills, are an added danger for workers, and emit carbon emissions with their power use. Xingfei’s Hydrodynamic Cooling Tower design is able to take full advantage of all the water already circulating in these cooling towers and use it to drive hydrodynamic fans, making electric fans completely unnecessary in the cooling process.


Waves4Power – Wave Buoy for Ocean Power

An IPCC Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation (2011) estimates a global technical potential of 500 GW for wave energy, but this resource remains yet untapped.

Heliospectra LED Lighting for GreenhousesHeliospectra AB: L4A Efficient Greenhouse Lighting

An estimated 30 billion m2 of commercial greenhouses are used to produce vegetables, herbs and ornamentals globally. Using supplemental LED-based lighting uses the full spectrum of light, leading to increased yields per m2 in tailored light regimes whilst cutting energy consumption.

Solelia Greentech AB: Solar Charging for Electrical Vehicles

Today, the upfront investment in renewable energy and energy efficient technologies is often held as a major barrier for governments, companies and consumers to choose them. Solar PV and electrical vehicles are two examples of this. Solelia’s approach is to transform these capital-intensive products into a user friendly service so that customers can rent this without any upfront capital cost.

Emerging Cooking Solutions – Biomass-Waste Pellets for Efficient Cookstoves

The strong, global urbanization trend in combination with wide-spread use of charcoal and weak or absent systems for recycling and waste management is damaging people’s health as well as ecosystems. Efficient cookstoves limit the smoke hazard by reducing its fuel consumption by 40%, or more. By making use of locally available biomass waste and providing pellet-fuelled cookstoves as a subscription-fee service, Emerging Cooking Solutions is an inspiring example of how to address this urban challenge.

HiNation HiLight Solar Light & ChargingHiNation: HiLight Solar Light & Charging

An estimated 1.3 billion people living in rural areas have no access to electricity. This fact seriously limits the ability for almost a quarter of the world’s population to provide for their basic human needs and rise out of poverty. Nevertheless, 500 million people living off-grid have mobile phones, which offer connectivity and hope for the future. The HiLight Solar Light & Charging is an example of a solution for powering both lighting and communication.



Winner of the 3rd Dutch Cleantech Star Award, Tempress provides machinery and associated technology for the production of highly efficient solar cells.



Winners of the WWF UK Green Game Changers Award, YouGen is enabling direct renewable energy and energy efficiency investments. The purpose of YouGen is to make it easy for home and business to learn about, invest in and enjoy the benefits of renewable energy and energy efficiency. It provides information about renewable energy on the internet answering the really practical questions.

Whiskers: Refurbishment Insulation Services for Hard-to-Treat Social Housing

WHISCERS™ (Whole House In-Situ Carbon and Energy Reduction Solution) is a process for Internal Wall Insulation (IWI) of hard-to-treat social housing, like tower blocks, that uses laser technology for the first time, enabling residents to continue to live in their homes throughout the refurbishment works. The patented process and eco measures installed in a home have proven to greatly improve energy efficiency and reduced fuel bills by nearly £600 a year whilst carbon emissions have been cut by 77%.

C-Change Retrofit Mortgage: Making Good Energy Performance Pay Off

Ecology Building Society’s C-Change Retrofit Mortgage is a financial service addressing that most of our houses waste huge amounts of energy and money! If you want to improve the energy efficiency of your current property, the C-Change retrofit scheme can help shrink the mortgage payments as well as the carbon footprint. For every grade improvement in a home’s Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating, C-Change offers a discount of 0.25% from the standard rate.

Zediquette – Phase out inefficient lighting

Lighting represents a significant amount of household greenhouse gas emission. By installing energy-efficient alternatives such as CFLs, you can significantly save on your energy bills. To make things easier for you, we have already installed such lighting in your house—at our cost.

CFLs use only 20-30 per cent of electricity consumed by incandescent bulbs to produce the same amount of light. And they last 10 times longer.
If every home replaces just one bulb with a CFL, savings to the environment and economy will be significant. At just one bulb for every home in Bengaluru, we’ll see a saving of 45 watts for every such bulb. That’s over 11 million units, or Rs 22 crore saved for the energy utility! If 11 million units are saved, 10 times that number, or 110 million units of power generation is reduced for the power corporation, given transmission and distribution losses.

That’s a saving of Rs 225 crore for every CFL put in each household! Can you imagine what the savings can be if every home in the city did what your ZEDhome does? You are living on a campus built by an exemplary leader in the world. Just 100 ZED homes save 250,000 KWh or electric units a year! The power of what ZED offers as demonstration is tremendous.

Zediquette Occupying Green – Working around air and heat

Here are things that you can do to limit the need for air-conditioning. Well, you will see them in every ZED home.

Orientation is everything. Knowing how your home is positioned in relation to daily sunlight and wind flow will help you use nature to your own benefit. Place windows strategically to create natural breeze ways throughout your home. Consider how natural sunlight can stream in throughout the day and affect the temperature in each room. Plant trees for shade. You will see around every ZED home thoughtfully planted trees—especially on the sunny south and west sides of the house. These can reduce the need for artificial cooling significantly. Since Bangalore offers cooler climate,
planting deciduous trees helps. They shed leaves in winter letting you enjoy the sun’s heat when you so need it.

A home that is open to the outside improves not only ventilation, but also your quality of life. Making use of verandahs, balconies, and patios translates into a more comfortable and livable habitat without having to rely on artificial cooling.

Zediquette – It’s been a long haul…

Biodiversity Conservation India was founded in 1995 with a desire to offer solutions to the massive urban challenges of water, energy and waste
management. It took us 10 years to convince our customers, bankers, and even our own employees that green was the only way to go. The tide changed around 2005, and a new generation of young and aware customers responded in larger numbers.

Today, ZED Habitats—the division that promotes ZED homes—offers its clients a variety of sustainable alternatives—recycled or sustainable solid surface materials and insulation, low-VOC furniture and paints, CFL and LED lighting, and many other things that go beyond the capacity of most builders in India. Even the world has acknowledged that ZED directions are far ahead of the future.

We must admit, though, that not all our clients walk in with the intention of building or buying a sustainable home. Despite this, in many cases, ZED Habitats has standardized green practices into basic design templates. There are a lot of green building materials now and they are not different from a cost standpoint.

Producing a successful, sustainable result is often a matter of educating and negotiating with the clients. Finding out what you want and then offering green alternatives, has been part of our research. For example, a client who wants to use granite for countertops can substitute recycled glass or plastic that looks like granite. We had to turn into experts…. The first step in choosing green materials that work for you meant digging out information through focused research.

So we built our own capacity, instead of depending on external professionals for architecture and designing resource use for water and energy. We then launched a serious campaign to research green distributors and materials available in India and outside. We got to many types of options that work for our homes and for
our residents now.

ZED-Tower AC


An AC that is stand alone, has a built-in 1 hertz inverter, an ionizer, a dehumidifier and a carbon nano filter that cleans the air in the room too. That’s the ZED-Tower AC for you! An AC that uses 37% less power than any compatible product in the market, uses 410a as refrigerant, which is clean and green, meeting world standards.

Want to know more? Email us at


portableHere’s something that can help you move away from inefficient water coolers, not just at your homes but everywhere you go. ZED –Portable AC systems are easy to carry and use as little power as any water cooler. Conventional water coolers use a 0.5 horse power or a 1 HP motor but these ACs work at 0.7 tons which is almost the same power rating to run as the water cooler. This ZED product comes from with an ionizer to keep the air in the room and requires no external split unit. Since it’s easy to move around, you can have just one unit and move it around reducing the hassles of fitting multiple AC units.

The icing on the cake is the built-in wide band heater, so the system can work as a heater and air-conditioner simultaneously in winter.

Want to know more? Email us at


Zed posts – The weekly environmental beat


• On BMW smart energy strategies

BMW recently convened a group of transportation, electric vehicle (EV) and energy thought leaders in Silicon Valley to participate in a dialogue with their senior executives about sustainability, energy and mobility services. Christine Hertzog – how-bmw-driving-smart-energy-strategies

BMW’s guiding view is that sustainability along the entire value chain is inseparable from their corporate self-image. The company has been systematically reducing energy use in facilities through energy-efficient materials, products, and processes; and in vehicles through use of regenerative energy technologies.

1• On green burglary

Is it ok for an unauthorized person to pick up your recyclables? Do you give your recyclables to scavengers when they come begging, or do you put them off? Author – what-is-green-burglary-what-can-we-do-about-it/

Residential neighborhoods have become targets for recyclables by “Green Burglars” when placed beside the house or at curb side. Once the recyclables are placed in a recycle container provided by a designated recycle collector, the contents becomes the property of the designated recycle collector.

zed 1• On Carbon Barometer

A quick look at the aims and benefits of the Bombay Stock Exchange Carbonex.

Times of India: Ahona Ghosh – bse-carbonex

The index is supported by the British high commission and the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), a UK-based non-profit organisation is the data partner for BSE. It includes all constituents of a BSE Benchmark Index, which is currently the BSE 100.

light• On Behavioural Science increasing Energy Efficiency

How consumer behaviour to different sales tactics can provide an insight on effective communication on the benefits of Energy Efficiency (EE) and raise awareness to attract more customers. Sam Shrank – behavioral-science-can-increase-energy-efficiency-adoption/

For all the surveys demonstrating consumers’ stated interest in reducing energy consumption and spend, EE is rarely top of mind. Utilities struggle to get consumers to pay attention. If the customer won’t come to them, perhaps it is time for utilities to go to their customers. By combining EE measures with offerings that have higher intrinsic appeal and shifting marketing focus from saving energy to the benefits of the other measure, utilizing a concept known as goal substitution, utilities can attract more customers.

zed 2• On using algae for power and shade

Germany to use living algae for power and shade in a sustainable building, which would also feature the world’s first bio-reactor façade. Ysabel Yates – zero-energy-building-uses-living-algae-for-power-and-shade

The bioreactor facade is made up of glass panels that act like giant Petri dishes to grow the algae. The algae can then power the building by both capturing solar thermal heat and creating biomass that is harvested for energy.

ZED Posts will be a weekly compilation of interesting news, reads and other serendipitous discoveries we made online. Have similar environmental stories to share? Email us at, or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.  

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