EDS conducted the NZEB tour of the Infosys net-zero energy Pocharam campus on 23 November. The group of 53 professionals and students. Participants got a first-hand experience of the high-performance strategies across the campus.While Infosys has grown over the last decade by more than 150% in terms of the number of employees, the monthly energy consumption per employee has more than halved! Key to this has been stringent standards of building performance. For example, Infosys has bechmarked the energy use in its software development buildings to 75 kWH/m2/year, 63% below its 2008 consumption. The campus at Pocharam achieves ambitious targets across energy, water and waste management. The tour focussed on the on-site solar PV production, rainwater management, waste management and elements of the high-performance Software Development Building-1.
As participants gathered in the SDB-1, they noted the unique passive design strategies to minimize energy use. For example, deep light shelves increase daylight penetration while reducing glare- the indoor spaces don’t require blinds. Moving around the campus, participants observed all the buildings had a low window-wall ratio and all windows were shaded with a mix of horizontal and vertical shades. Newer buildings are adopting radiant cooling systems in place of conventional VRF systems, including an in-house system consisting of chilled water circulated in baffles on the ceiling.
The highlight of the tour was a visit to the 6.6 MW solar PV farm. Participants learned to recognize fixed and single-axis tracking solar PV panels and the difference in their installation and orientations. For example, fixed solar PV panels are oriented towards the south while tracking PV panels tilt between 15° East and 15° West depending on the time of the day. Infosys has experimented with two kinds of mechanisms for enabling the PV panels to tilt with the position of the sun- one wherein an entire row of panels tilts together, and the other- where each PV panel uses an individual motor. Within 15-odd minutes of venturing into the PV plant, participants witnessed a whole row tilt! The PV farm also houses two PV technologies- polycrystalline and thin-film.
The tour also provided insights to the campus’s approach to rainwater management. Large ponds within the campus collect rainwater, recharging the groundwater and discharging into the Pocharam river. The campus does not use any single use plastic either, and biodegradable waste is composted or converted to biogas.
The campus stands out for implementing high-performance benchmarks at a large scale. Participants walked away with a deeper understanding of different utilities that can be implemented in large-scale projects.