New Delhi, India
Located in the Pragati Vihar district of New Delhi, Atal Akshaya Urja Bhawan by Edifice Consultants for India’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (M.N.R.E) signifies a polemic shift from conventional government buildings in India as an exemplary precedent that embodies energy consciousness and demonstrates a new model of civic development.
The Atal Akshaya Urja Bhawan is India’s first net-positive energy campus that sets an inspiring example for future Government buildings in India.
With an expected LEED Platinum and stellar GRIHA-star rating, the project incorporates design strategies such as strategic building orientation, fenestrations, jaalis, energy-conscious building envelopes, and shading devices working in tandem to decrease passive heat gain.
The building also boasts rainwater harvesting, recycling, and wastewater treatment systems.
The site’s landscaping features local and indigenous flora, with all lighting fixtures powered by individual solar panels.
Atal Akshaya Urja Bhawan draws from the rich built vocabulary of Lutyens’ Delhi to craft a visual identity for itself — one that is distinctly modern and yet pays homage to the past.
It continues in the tradition of institutional and public architecture of New Delhi, using beige Dholpur sandstone as the primary façade material.
The east façade has a continuous double-glass unit (DGU) glazed façade to allow daylight into interior spaces while insulating them from heat.
This façade is thermally insulated with double walls built using ACC masonry with a glass wool infill of 200 mm thickness.
The western façade covers the service cores and features solid walls and GFRC jaalis that allow creepers to grow on them and bring cooling breezes into the building for cross-ventilation.
On the southern edge, a solar wall shields the building and its southern seating court from incident radiation as well as contributing to its energy sources.
The project is a symbolic one that signifies a polemic shift from conventional government campuses in India.
Bringing in a change in public building culture, the design uses areas such as the Exhibition Hall and the Urja Pavilion to invite visitors to engage with and explore the campus.
The design leverages cutting-edge technology in energy-efficient fixtures and solar panels installed over a roof-top area of 60,000 square feet to reduce energy consumption within the building.
Photovoltaic panels on the roof and southern wall produce 1100 kWh of electricity, with a generation potential of 19 lakh energy units per annum.
Water-cooled screw-chilling machines have been used to create a radiant cooling system.
Running through PEX pipes embedded in the ceiling, the strategy uniformly lowers the surface temperature for optimum thermal comfort.
A multitude of strategic interventions combined with alternate sources of energy to make Atal Akshaya Urja Bhawan a net-positive campus.
Additionally, the reduction of the building’s air condition footprint and energy-efficient fixtures have further brought down the building’s power consumption.
The project also aims to conserve water by harvesting its rainwater and treating its wastewater, reusing it in the cooling tower, flushing, and horticulture.
With the imminent threat of irreversible climate change affecting lives worldwide, it has become imperative that newer, sustainable ways of living be devised and implemented.
The Atal Akshaya Urja Bhawan emerges as an exemplary precedent, creating a landmark that embodies energy consciousness and demonstrates a new model of civic development that blends iconicity with an interactive public interface.
Project: Atal Akshaya Urja Bhawan
Architects: Edifice Consultants
Project Representative: Shaon Sikta Sengupta (Director & Head, North Edifice Consultants)
Design Team: Shaon Sikta Sengupta, Naveen Thomas, Bedanta Saikia, Aneesh Kumar, Druv Prajapati, Priyanka Kapoor, and Pranav Gupta
Interior Design Team: Sabarno De, Shridhar Bandiwadekar, Amita Kamble, and Prasad Mayekar
Client: Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (M.N.R.E), Government of India
Photographers: Prashant Bhat and Purnesh Dev Nikhanj