UPDATE: Fair Conditioning’s workshops put focus on need for hydrocarbon training in Indian universities 

By Robert Davidson, May 07, 2015, 09:08 3 minute reading

The Fair Conditioning Programme, an Indo-Swiss initiative, has published a report on their two recent workshops that focused on improving energy efficiency in buildings. The workshops had the overall aim of increasing awareness of green and sustainable alternatives to those currently used among both students and lecturers, including the use of hydrocarbons in air-conditioning applications. Fair Conditioning has also launched a new project which seeks to help

Fair Conditioning is a joint programme between Noé21, a Geneva-based NGO and cBalance Solutions Hub, an Indian business development company, which seeks to significantly improve awareness, knowledge and know-how in tomorrow’s architecture and building engineering graduates in the field of energy efficiency. Fair Conditioning endeavours to achieve these goals through various means such as through the promotion and availability of training.

Fair Conditoning’s Academic Curricula Integration Project (ACIP) – which their workshops are a part of - looks to firmly place desirable practices in the consciousness of architects and engineers at a university-level. The self-proclaimed aim for the ACIP is in five years time to have sustainable cooling systems and energy efficiency integrated into the five largest urban areas of India’s leading architecture and building engineering curricula.

Fair Conditioning: creating a culture of sustainability

The pilot phase of the ACIP was conducted in June 2013 and concentrated on phasing out air conditioners using fluorinated refrigerants with very high global warming potential (GWP) with air conditioners charged with propane. The mature phase, which is currently in-progress, is seeking to establish a ‘culture’ around the use of natural refrigerants for their efficiency and neutral global warming effects. This attempt to create a culture regarding these refrigerants was instigated in Fair Conditioning’s two recent workshops.

In addition to trying to introduce natural refrigerant training into university curricula, Fair Conditioning aims to ensure natural refrigerants have a place in large corporations and are known about by practitioners in the building service area.

Fair Conditioning brings together teachers, students and industry

On 9-11 January, the first of the workshops took place in Mumbai and included discussions on the importance and logistics of implementing energy efficient building designs and cooling technologies. The main aim of the workshop was to discuss the ‘training of trainers’ for these technologies and how best to ensure a plethora of competent staff to match the expected rise in demand as well as how to best implement this into a clear curriculum for students.

To guarantee fruitful discussions, efforts were made to gather a diverse group of stakeholders that included university students, teachers and practitioners from two sectors that are usually mutually exclusive: architecture and engineering. The hope is that this will meld these sectors together to work to ensure a more efficient and greener future for architecture.

The second workshop - which took place on 27-31 January in Pune, India - was more practical and crafted to equip engineering undergraduates and graduates with knowledge on designing and building energy efficient buildings. ‘Dissemination’ was the word of the day with efforts taken to shine the light on the need for students to spread this knowledge of green practices amongst peers and industry alike.

The role of hydrocarbons

During the second event, a section was devoted to the use of natural refrigerant-based air conditioning systems for ‘end-of-pipe solutions’, presented by Vivek Gilani of Fair Conditioning. It was discussed and noted that R290 is seen as a good fit for unitary and centralised air-conditioning systems, furthering the idea that these technologies should be taught at university level to ensure there is sufficient awareness and knowledge of this application.

In addition to this, the Godrej Team presented a special module on R290-based refrigerant technology. In countries with high-ambient temperatures such as India, hydrocarbons are seen as a viable alternative to fluorinated gases, which could be subject to a global-phasedown in the future.

New project for helping architects improve energy efficiency through design

Parallel to the Academic Curricula Integration Project, Fair Conditioning has launched their Building Energy Modeling Advisory (BEMA) project that will be conducted over three years. This course looks at reducing the amount of required air conditoning through optimising the design of buildings. The project aims to equip leading professionals in architecture and engineering to boost energy efficieny early in the process of building design and equipment in cooling components. To achieve this, practitioners will be trained to use a software tool to run energy performance simulations of planned buildings and cooling components, enabling them to lower demands for the use of air conditioning through design.


By Robert Davidson

May 07, 2015, 09:08

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