Green factory is a holistic concept where the multiple aspects pertaining to design, construction and operations are integrated to achieve sustainable performance. Also, the design and processes vary based on the type and nature of building and climatic conditions.
“Green factories are not just good for the environment, they are good for your wallet also”, says United States Green Building Council (USGBC). Wallet does not only mean operating costs but also the initial cost of the project. It is now well-known that green factories reduce operating and maintenance costs. Our recent works show that if we start working on the project as Sustainability Consultant right from the concept stage, the initial investment of the project itself is sufficient to achieve desirable green rating for the factory. In our projects, we ensure that sustainability equals profitability through high performance of built-environment at budgeted cost.
A sustainable design is the core of a Green factory, which automatically ensures the efficiency of the building during the post occupancy stage. Factually speaking, Green Building movement has modified many parts of contemporary factory architecture in a more vernacular way. Besides tangible benefits like project costs, interest payback and energy efficiency which are visible to all, green factories also work on areas like water, waste, indoor air quality, heat island effect, etc. which are not visible and often not given their due importance. For a factory project with a life cycle of more than 50 years, these aspects have to be accounted for. Green factories bring all this into perspective by setting practical benchmarks to take raise the level of performance.
Green factories also ensure that there is improved productivity of the employees through green health standards without impacting the natural environment habitat. Green factories include mechanisms through which both construction and post occupancy wastes are handled effectively, thereby reducing pollution and improving local environment quality. At last, but not the least, Green Factories reduce greenhouse gases emissions and have less carbon footprints on environment. As per the Green Building rating systems, construction materials must be procured locally to boost the regional economy. This would reduce the carbon footprint by minimizing the emissions arising from transport. Besides this, green buildings encourage the use of recycled material, reused and salvaged material to reduce the use of virgin material.
One of our recently completed projects ‘Mithela Textile Industries Ltd.’ is the World’s First LEED Platinum Certified Dyeing Factory and 3rd highest as any factory in the world. As a sustainability consultant, we try and understand the vision of architects and clients and work as a bridge between different project stakeholders to make their vision come true. Very interestingly, unlike other Bangladeshi Platinum rated factories, while designing our main focus was on the passive design and not active components like solar power, STP etc. Real success came when we were able to achieve 91 points without incurring any cost on Solar-power, STP, high performance glass, imported materials etc. While consulting for LEED certification our concern is always the Return of Investment (ROI). An optimized ROI not only save a lot of capital expenditure for the developer but also encourages developers to think further on environment without a pinch in their pocket.
In one of project for Puma Apparels, we ran multiple simulations to enable the architect to design the building to ensure nil usage of any artificial light during the daytime. Also the design accommodates an earth air tunnel to cool the air by the lower temperature of the earth during summer, thereby eliminating the need of an air-conditioning system. The project is the first Net Zero Energy Store for Puma in the world. It has also received the LEED Platinum Rating.
Green building certification program is focused to measure and reduce the negative impacts on nature due to the construction. For ease of implementation, LEED green building rating has been divided into following major modules: – Sustainable Sites, , Water Efficiency, Energy Efficiency, Green Building Materials & Resources, Indoor Environment, Sustainable Design & Innovation etc.
In each module of LEED rating, there are certain mandatory requirements and some tradable compliance. Mandatory are must to do requirements and one cannot apply for rating if we do not comply with them. Regarding the tradable compliance’s, if we comply with them we get one or more points based on the degree of compliance that we achieve. The more points we get, the greener the project becomes.