Thursday, July 26, 2007

Indian Telcos Going Green


Erratic power supply in rural areas is pushing more and more Indian telcos to alternate energy to power their towers. Early this year Idea Cellular announced that it was looking at bio-diesel to power some of its rural cellular base stations. The fad apparently is catching on.

The Trend Catches On

Ericsson AB has already set up 4 towers running on fish and vegetable oils, for Idea Cellular in the power-strapped Maharashtra circle.

Reliance Communications is tapping wind and solar power. While it has already installed windmills on its towers at Kunustara and Murugathal near Durgapur in West Bengal, it is in talks with Pune-based solar cell manufacturer Machinocraft on the solar power front.

"On a rough estimate, a wind power turbine or a solar panel mounted on towers will generate around 1,800-2,000 watts during peak sunshine hours or high-windy days. Of this, the repeater sites consume up to 500 watt each, while the remaining is stored in batteries and used to power the network at night or low windy times."

Hutch is also looking at wind power, while BSNL and MTNL are "experimenting with multiple sources like solar, wind, gobar gas and biofuel from molasses."

Potential Impact

In most cases the alternate energy sources replace diesel gensets which are currently almost universally used to ensure uninterrupted power supply at the base stations. So the shift will certainly save petroleum and prevent emissions.

In the big picture the financial and environmental impacts will be very small, but it will be a good experience for Indian corporate houses, and the alternate energy culture in general. The villages will get exposed to alternate energy too and that should help adoption in these areas.

Monday, July 23, 2007

India's Tallest Green Building

Though India has never been a significant player in the global skyscraper stakes, one building promises to change that and for all the right reasons.


The India Tower, currently under construction on the Queen's Necklace, the scenic Marine Drive in South Mumbai, is expected to dominate the skyline of India's main financial district. At 300m, it is a giant by Indian skyscraper standards. But when it is ready in 2010, the Burj Dubai is expected to dominate the global building height stakes at about double that height. So what is the main claim to fame for the India Tower?

The USP(s)

It might well be the tallest building in the world in its class of green-rated buildings. Designed by New York-based FXFOWLE architects, it will be a LEED-Gold certified project. Here are some of the features planned to improve its energy-efficiency:

A solar chimney to generate electricity (Solar chimney's need to be very tall - so incorporating one into the design of a skyscraper is really cool.)

On-site waste water reclamation (ease the load on public facilities, plus build more reliable ones)

Daylighting - a process to ensure maximum usage of sunlight for lighting within the building

Solar shading, natural ventilation and rainwater harvesting

The rotating form apparently comes from functional requirements (whatever those are - but it certainly looks kewl).

Mapping The Trend

This is a building for the very rich - with "a custom-designed residential-style Park Hyatt hotel and serviced apartments, and long-lease and duplex penthouse condominium apartments", in addition to luxury-brand retail and hospitality. (We the poor might benefit if they open up a sky-walk for the public though - imagine the view!)

But most new trends start with targeting the rich. The premium they pay helps fund research into making them more common place and affordable.

If India's tallest building is going to be one of its greenest, then that is a solid commitment we as a society are making towards sustainability.


Related Posts:
Indian World's Tallest Building Aspirants

India's tallest building in the World