A green mall by the riverside

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  • Published 21.03.14

The largest mall on the west bank of Hooghly, albeit on both sides of Hooghly, Avani Riverside is now, striving to be the most energy efficient as well. It has bagged the five star rating from the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE), Government of India, the first prize in the National Energy Conservation Awards, 2013 and the CII-Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) platinum rating awarded by the President of India, Pranab Mukherjee in January this year.

Avani Riverside Mall has achieved 59 per cent energy efficiency since it started operations. This percentage, when converted to monetary units, amounts to Rs 9 crore per year. “The first thing that needs to be regulated in a building of 6 lakh plus square feet is the air-conditioning that consumes the largest amount of electricity. In this case, recycling units have been installed to help reduce consumption,” said Subir Das, the chief operations officer of Avani Riverside mall.

The internal design of the mall supports energy conservation. The walls have sensors that detect the rise and fall in temperature within the mall premises and, in turn, regulate the amount of cold water supplied to the compressor. The heat recovery unit is a unique system, which recycles the air inside the mall. “The inside temperature is lower than that outside and requires less amount of cooling in comparison to the air taken from outside. However, there is also a supply of fresh air along with the recycled air to maintain oxygen balance,” said Das.

Lights inside and outside the mall are timer-based. There are motion-sensors all around the common area, which detect movement and switch on when there is movement around the area. Escalators and elevators go into sleep mode when not in use. Inside the shops, however, the lights are in control of the owners. “We cannot dictate how the shop owners want to light their stores, however, the air-conditioning is in our hands,” said Das.

While the standard specified by BEE for energy usage for a commercial building is 400 kWh/sqm per annum, Avani Mall has an average annual energy performance index (EPI) of 185.62 kWh/sqm per annum. The ‘green building’ tag has been maintained by Avani Riverside mall since its construction stage. It was built using Cellular Lightweight Concrete (CLC) bricks. These are made from flyash instead of the regular clay, which are environment-friendly and also help in reducing the temperature within the building by a few degrees.

A lot of conservation schemes have been put into place at the mall. A sewage treatment plant, organic waste treatment plant and rainwater harvesting is done at the mall. “These are used for various purposes, the water is recycled and used inside the mall and is also used for the garden in the terrace. Fertilizers made from the organic waste treatment plant are used in the gardens as well,” said Das. Solar heaters placed on the terrace help in heating water that is supplied to the food court for washing dishes.

The first prize for National Energy Conservation awarded to the mall on December 14, 2013 was with respect to increased energy efficiency in the mall as compared to its performance in 2012. “We managed to further save 30 percent of the energy that was used in 2012. This year, again, the management is vying for the award by further reducing consumption. We plan to change all the lights in the common areas of the mall into LED lights,” said Das.