LBHS is an architecture college situated in the suburbs of Mumbai, in India. It is a prime example of Green Building Architecture. The city of Bombay is a bit crowded, and as such, land is at a premium. So, the location provides enough space for expansion and providing sufficient infrastructure to students.
This project is special because it has implemented many energy-saving devices and techniques to make it one of the first green building designs in India. From light sensors for auto-switching of lights, to water recycling, use of solar arrays and use of earth air tunnels, this project has done everything. It is a very interesting case study. The designers have aimed at developing an semi-autonomous building, almost self-sufficient building complex.
It is inferred that such buildings reduce environmental impacts, increase security, and lower costs of ownership.
Segmentation of Space
This project is spread into a vast area. The available space is divided into public and semi-public zones.
Auditorium, Restaurant and Exhibition halls requiring services are placed adjacent to the service road. Amphitheater, the main interaction hub, is placed centrally orienting in the North-West direction to capture the wind flow. This keeps the open-air amphitheater cool in the evening with a gentle North-Western breeze.
It is located near the entrance and given a formal outlook for usage reasons. There is an entire buffer floor for flexibility. Open spill-over areas around it provide a comprehensive view of the stage.
There are three large halls at different levels which are used to exhibit various things and host architecture fairs from time to time. Sit-out serves as an interaction space at the rear side of the block. The open-air exhibition has a retractable covering around the edges. Considering the rains and heavy winds in the Konkan area, tensile material has been chosen for roofing for the exhibition halls..
Green, eco-friendly roof insulates the conference block, auditorium and exhibition block from external weather and temperature, thus saving energy costs over the long term. Shading, evapo-transpiration and filtering are functions of the green roof infrastructure.
Provision of Earth Air Tunnel
Another interesting feature of this college is an Earth Air Tunnel to cool down temperatures during the summer season, in order to reduce energy costs.
Earth- air tunnels may be considered as special types of wind towers connected to an underground tunnel. The cooling process is based on the fact that the temperature a few meters below the ground is almost constant throughout the year. A wind tower is connected to the underground tunnel, which runs from the bottom of the wind tower to the basement of the building. The wind tower catches the wind which is forced down the tower into the tunnel. The temperature of the tunnel, being lower than that of the ambient temperature, cools the air before it is circulated into the living space.
In order to reduce water consumption, this project has implemented “water recycling” at the site. The recycled water is probably used for watering the gardens maintained by the college.
Solar Cell Arrays
Surprisingly, the college generates electricity with the help of 32 Solar Cell Arrays. There is not enough data to understand how this generated power is utilized and how it affects their power bills.
Air Conditioning by Gas-fired Ammonia absorption Chillers
The entire college is air-conditioned, and this unit provides air conditioning at a very low cost. Infact, it uses 75% less power than a comparable conventional air conditioning unit.
These guys don’t have to worry about switching off the light when they exit the rooms. There are movement sensors in important places which can detect the presence of people, which regulates the light switches. Incredible… I wonder if it actually works.
This is a very interesting case study. Many interesting and mature techniques have been used to reduce energy consumption and reduce dependence of the college on the grid.