Kunal Gulati

Learn how the Paharpur Business Centre uses the LEED Dynamic Plaque to optimize its sustainability practices.

One of Delhi’s greenest and a LEED Platinum building, Paharpur Business Centre (PBC) has made remarkable strides in setting the standards for sustainability throughout India. Standing out in a highly polluted city by using over a thousand plants to create a self-sustaining, oxygen-rich environment, Kamal Meattle, CEO of PBC, has successfully created an incubator where businesses come to live, work and breathe.

PBC engages with the LEED Dynamic Plaque platform to monitor its ongoing performance and track sustainability goals on a near-real-time basis. Meattle strongly believes in “not merely resting on the laurels of a one-time green certification; it is important to stay relevant at all times.” PBC has always believed that sustainable business is sensible business, so we sat down with them to find out exactly how they stay relevant with the LEED Dynamic Plaque.

What were PBC’s initial thoughts about the platform?

When the USGBC team informed us about their new technology, the LEED Dynamic Plaque, and its benefits, we were excited to integrate it in our system. It takes us one step further towards sustainability.

Why did PBC choose the platform to understand your building’s performance score?

PBC has always believed that sustainable business is sensible business. The mantra that makes PBC a unique experience is our complete focus on people and their well-being while they are in our building. Green building is a necessity, like a high school degree. To move forward, one has to constantly improve, and the LEED Dynamic Plaque allows us to keep its sustainability goals focused in real time and not merely on the basis of a one-time green certification. It is about staying relevant at all times.

Why does the platform work for the Paharpur Business Centre?

The LEED Performance Score corresponds with the globally recognized LEED certification levels. It almost forces us to go out of our comfort zone and keeps us on our toes by displaying near-real-time performance numbers across the five categories. The LEED Dynamic Plaque is intentionally disruptive, which leads to fundamental changes in human behavior and our building’s functions.

Tell us about your occupant and team reactions to the plaque.

We have received positive response from the occupants. They sincerely appreciate and abide by the rules and regulations that help maintain the quality of air. Our occupants understand the importance of air quality and its impact within the building compared to the air outside. A lot of clients also say that our services have optimized their comfort to a greater extent.

Moreover, they now know that green buildings actually boost their growth by keeping them healthier and more productive. When they heard about the LEED Dynamic Plaque, they had a comprehensive understanding of the metrics. Ultimately, anything measurable is believable.

Were you surprised by PBC’s building score?

When we had the plaque installed, we expected the score to reflect our existing LEED Platinum status. At times, the platform surprises us with reality checks, especially when our performance goes down due to more water or energy consumption. We take corrective measures, and at times, the scores go higher than our average Platinum score, so we feel more encouraged. 

What are the some best practices that PBC uses to maintain its LEED Platinum status and overall building performance?

PBC has taken various initiatives to make the building eco-friendly and sustainable, especially with regard to our environmental initiatives relating to energy management, water conservation, reduction of our carbon footprint, use of sustainable resources, waste management, local procurement, etc. Energy management practices followed at PBC help in reducing the electricity bills without affecting the quality of life.

At PBC, energy efficiency is treated as a significant resource, similar to coal and oil. Our results show almost a 30 percent reduction in our electricity bills. PBC is also a Bureau of Energy Efficiency, Ministry of Power, Govt. of India, five-star-rated building, with an average annual hourly energy performance index of 28 W hr /hr /sqm, and is currently operating at <20 wh /hr/ sqm. PBC is also certified for its energy management system (ISO 50001:2011) for further assessment of its operational activities. We also do periodic meetings and brainstorming sessions with our occupants to update them on new product requirements, customer specifications, etc., and share our best practices and take their feedback on market trends.

At PBC, water has always been considered as a precious resource, which is monitored at all inlet and outlet points on daily basis. As water demands and environmental needs grow, recycling and reuse of water plays a major role at PBC, helping us to conserve and manage our vital water resources in a sustainable manner.

What interventions were made/will be made to increase your performance score across the five categories?

At PBC, we take a 360-degree approach while looking at energy management. It is an ongoing process. We plan and implement our interventions, keeping all the aspects of business relevance in mind and constantly puting in efforts to maintain them. There are huge challenges while retrofitting a building like ours, as we are a 24/7 operation and we cannot afford to shut down for any of our retrofit activities.

A deep energy retrofit in the original certification was monitored and optimized using the LEED Dynamic Plaque to ensure we maintained building performance at the LEED Platinum level. Sophisticated mechanical upgrades and energy recovery systems are all managed via a BMS to ensure proper operation. Some of the most impactful energy-saving strategies from the original certification include:

  • 30kw capacity solar PV panels
  • LED lights with motion sensors
  • Installation of advanced cooling towers
  • Condensate water in air handling unit is returned for reuse to cool incoming air
  • Energy recovery wheel
  • Use of variable frequency drives in all pumps
  Measures Taken Benefits
  Replaced 1100 36W fluorescent lights with 950 18W LEDs 50-55% energy savings
  Replaced CFL down lighters with LED down lighters 60-62% energy savings
  Installed 25 motion sensors in elevators, lobby and washrooms 60-62% energy savings
  Condensate recovery process Saving 1,500 litres of water 4 KW of energy every day
  Replacement of tube lights with natural skylights in green house Reduced energy consumption by17.76 KW/day with 12 hours of operation with a payback period of less than 5 years
  Integration of IAQ system with HVAC 10% of energy costs
  Set point of our Air Conditioning system is set up at 25 degree 15% less load on HVAC
  BEE 5-star-rated appliances, air conditioners Have a payback of 2-4 yrs
  Cooling tower with 1 degree approach  
  Upgrading HVAC, electrical system and cooling towers Payback period of 8-14 yrs
  Maintenance + energy measures
- Light-reflecting paint
- Heat-reflecting cool tiles
- Installation of air washer, green house and heat recovery wheel
60-62% energy savings 681 units/year = INR 0.205 million/year
  Lifestyle changes
- Dress code for summer
- Encouraging employees to take public transport, carpool or use bicycle
Huge impact + awareness

Our energy conservation measures led us to achieve the 15th CII National Award for Excellence in Energy Management in 2014.

Water Conservation Measures:

Some of the water conservation techniques that we follow:

  • Motion sensors on water taps
  • Gray water recycling
  • Water quality PH sensor with automatic shutoff
  • Water-saving toilets
  • Rainwater harvesting

Waste Management Practices:

  • Waste separation and closed-loop composting on site
  • Minimizing waste generation in the office by using digital platforms and reusing paper when possible 

Tell us about the challenges with attaining your score.

One of the challenges that we face in attaining our score is taking control of the energy usage during different seasons. For example, during summer, the energy consumption levels increase due to the cooling load. As a result, the efficiency of the energy meter drop down, further affecting our scores. The same goes for water usage, which is usually high during summer.

Tell us your success story about the category you are most proud of.

PBC has taken a holistic approach in ensuring that we maximize our sustainability efforts:

Indoor Air Quality: Unique Biotechnology

The Human Experience category in the LEED Dynamic Plaque platform is the most important category for us, as good indoor air quality relates to high individual worker performance, which directly impact our bottom line.

Per a recent WHO report, India accounts for 1.3 million deaths annually due to indoor air pollution. Indoor air pollution is the second highest killer in India after blood pressure, per a global burden of diseases report. Although we cannot control the ambient air pollution, we can take measures to curb the level of air pollution indoors. If we fix our air quality indoors, then we will be able to gain a respite and rest from fighting against the outdoor air pollution.

For us, having excellent air quality leads to smarter, healthier and more productive people, working better to help in business growth. 

Learn more about the LEED dynamic plaque