Visit to Education Park – truly zero energy campus

The lesson taught to us in school about renewable and non-renewable sources of energy and the importance of conserving the exhaustible energy by using alternative mode of energy has always been one of the most discussed lessons of science. The lesson however is rarely implemented in practical life, when we got to know about a “zero energy school” we immediately decided to visit the campus and learn from them. We wish to analyse and use similar ideas in the construction of Gyankriti School campus. Here are some key points from our visit:

Dr Chetan Singh Solanki, who did his engineering from SGSITS in Electrical Engineering and now is a Professor of Department of Energy Science and Engineering at IIT Bombay. With an aim to improve education in rural areas Prof. Solanki has founded an educational park for kids of Khargone.

The layout of Education Park

The layout of Education Park

Solar Electricity is expensive to setup and maintain. A workable solution is to “Avoid & Minimize” use of electricity. The architecture of school is such that there is no requirement for fans or tubelights. The fact that the school has not taken an electricity connection shows the confidence in their “passive solar” design.

Micro Climatic Analysis - The key to design a passive solar building is to best take advantage of the local climate performing an accurate site analysis.

Micro Climatic Analysis – The key to design a passive solar building is to best take advantage of the local climate performing an accurate site analysis.

Most of the walls are orientated in North-South direction to minimize direct contact with sunlight. To account for the seasonal tilt in sunlight, the roof is extended in outward direction for about 2 feet. The roof therefore acts as a shade throughout the length of wall.

edupark3You can see in picture that the windows are not parallel to the wall. Instead they are aligned to the direction of winds in a triangular fashion. This helps in controlling the inflow of winds as per the prevailing season. Check the graphic for details:

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The walls on the opposite side of room have big windows on the top side for cross-ventilation. The air enters from triangular windows and exits from the opposite end cooling the entire room. They have observed a temperature difference of upto 11 degree Celsius when compared to the temperature outside.

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In the picture you can also see glass panes between the triangular windows and the roof. Direct entry of sunlight will heat up the room so the light gets reflected from the chajja (painted white). The diffused light entering the room after reflection is comparatively cooler than direct sunlight.

edupark5The bricks on bottom side of roof act as insulator as they are porous and less conductive.

From Barren Land to Green Land
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About 10000 sqft of land was dug out for construction purposes. This was done purposefully at a low lying area of the land so that it can accumulate water during monsoon. Now the ditch has taken form of a pond. About 100 meters away from this pond a well is located, the water percolates from the pond very fast and recharges the well.

Prof. Solanki got some discarded solar panels from US laboratories to setup a power source for boring well motor. The boring well irrigates all the plants and shrubs in the 14 acre campus continuously through drip irrigation.

Team Gyankriti wishes Prof. Chetan Solanki and Education Park Society all the best in their endeavours. We are very much inspired by their ideas and hope to implement many of them in Gyankriti School very soon.

Image source: https://www.cse.iitb.ac.in/synerg/rutag/2012-jan-ws/slides/IITB-Presentations/Chetan-Solanki-Education-Park.pdf

Website of Education Park Society: http://edupark.org/