The National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) is a full-fledged center of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO). This premier organiza- tion in the field of space research is located in Hyderabad, Telangana. NRSC is responsible for remote sensing satellite data acquisition and processing, data dissemination, aerial remote sensing and decision sup- port for disaster management. It also sets up data reception stations for acquiring data from remote sensing satellites and engages in collabora- tion projects with stakeholders from different sectors such as education, weather, mining, transportation, disaster management, among others.

The NRSC planned to develop a new campus at Shadnagar, a town close to Hyderabad. The officials were eager that this facility incorporate sustainable features and green building technologies. A renowned R&D facility such as NRSC that runs operations 24x7 has its own challenge in terms of uninterrupted operations. To design, build and operate a facility that included environment-friendly performance and sustainability require- ments was a difficult obstacle to overcome. Nevertheless, the NRSC Team was insistent about one thing: the new facility had to be designed to be a green building. And, not just any green building, but one that met the Platinum Rating standards set up by LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), because a LEED plaque on a building is rec- ognized the world over as an attestation of quality and achievement in green buildings.

 Conserve Consultants Pvt Ltd—a global consulting firm in the business of planning, design, development and maintenance of energy-efficient, sustainable, high performance green buildings and organizations—was awarded the contract. From the design stage itself, all ideas and strate- gies were developed around the goal of attaining a LEED Platinum Rating. The blueprint kept in mind that minimum heat ingress and maximum natural lighting (without glare) were a part of the design. Envelope materials such as aerocon blocks for the walls, high reflective paint with under deck insulation of the roof, high performance glazing, efficient lighting de- sign, occupancy sensors and day lighting controls, a variable air volume system, efficient water-cooled centrifugal chillers, secondary chilled water pumps with VFD, renewable energy through photovoltaic panels, were all incorporated to LEED mandates.

After conducting numerous analyses, the NRSC’s building was designed in a circular manner to ensure minimum heat ingress. The window-to- wall ratio was designed by a space-by-space analysis to identify where the incoming daylight was optimum. The natural day lighting requirement met the stringent LEED mandatory compliance that 75 percent of the area should be naturally day lit. To overcome dark pockets, effective sky- light locations and light pipe technology were used. Lighting sensors were positioned for automated control that did away with human interven- tion. This, along with the high-efficiency lighting fixtures, led to a savings of 64 percent lighting power consumption over the ASHRAE (Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings) baseline. The provision of cavity walls with an air gap on certain faces was done to minimize the heat load due to the envelope. Up to 90 percent of all regu- larly occupied spaces were designed for visual access to the outdoors to ensure high productive and healthy working areas.

These and other green strategies helped the project achieve an overall energy savings of 29 percent over the ASHRAE baseline. This has led to a full 10 points for the optimization of energy performance credits. Over- all, in the energy module, the building achieved a rare feat of 16 points out of 17. The total stood at an award of 59 points where the maximum was 69 points.

Is there any wonder then that the NRSC facility at Shadnagar received the LEED India Platinum Award from the Indian Green Buildings Council? The building has the distinction of being the first green building among all ISRO centers. The NRSC is proud of this first-of-its-kind effort and hopes that other research buildings will follow the example set. 

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