Green journey of INFOSYS: High performance with low environmental impact

High-efficiency building performance benchmarks

Tech giant Infosys is showing the world that organizations can deliver high performance with low environmental impact and low costs. Over the last decade, Infosys has achieved high-efficiency benchmarks across energy, water and overall building performance backed by innovative infrastructures, extensive metering, monitoring of facilities and investing in research. In fact the energy performance of its Data Centres is one of the best in India, not far behind the global benchmarks at Google and Facebook.

Guruprakash Sastry heads the expert team driving the company’s green initiatives. In this webinar, he walks us through the innovations behind Infosys’s green journey.

While Infosys added 45 million square feet of built infrastructure between 2008-18 and its employees more than doubled during this period, the overall energy consumption increased by only 16%. The water consumption per employee actually reduced by 60% and campuses are now on the way to achieving zero waste and zero water discharge. All in all, the company is breaking many barriers to demonstrate that growth can be decoupled from resource consumption!

Infosys’s success can be attributed to its focused data-driven approach towards sustainability, with clear performance goals charted out for ultra high-efficiency buildings, smart campuses, renewable energy and zero waste and water discharge. Let’s understand this in detail.

Ultra high-efficiency Buildings

SBD-1, a nearly-zero energy building in the Infosys campus at Pochram,

Realizing that its older, all-glass buildings were causing discomfort from glare, lowered employee productivity and poor occupant health, Infosys decided to adopt stringent building guidelines.These buildings were also energy-guzzlers, with EPIs of about 350 kWh/sqm/year.

Infosys went on to ensure that all its new buildings provide adequate daylighting and thermal comfort with optimized building envelope to control heat gain. New buildings now meet guidelines for appropriate shape and orientation, optimum low window-wall ratio (WWR), daylighting and thermal comfort. At the same time, old buildings have been retrofit for improved performance. Infosys’s current benchmarks require new buildings to achieve an Energy Performance Index (EPI) of 75 kWh/sqm/yr which is half the consumption in conventional buildings! Lighting design must meet the 0.5 W/sft benchmark and cooling capacity is capped at 750 TR/sft.

A host of innovations have helped achieve the company achieve these goals. For example, new buildings now use a high-performance radiant cooling system technology instead of conventional VAV systems. All windows are fitted with exterior shading devices that allow glare-free daylighting through the workday.

Smart window design

Chillers in existing buildings have been replaced with efficient variable primary systems. Data centres now use water-cooled chillers, reducing their energy consumption by 50%. These sustained improvements in new buildings and retrofits over the last decade have reduced the monthly energy consumption per employee by 55%! Not only did this translate into enormous capital savings for Infosys, but it has also reduced maintenance overheads as well as enhanced employee health and productivity.

Smart campus

Operation efficiency,with the help of extensive metering and monitoring, is a top priority at Infosys. A Central Command Centre monitors the performance of 16 campuses in India, across energy and water use, thermal comfort, renewable energy and other systems.

Renewable Energy

Infosys aims to meet their 100% energy requirement through 100% renewable source, as part of its RE100 commitments. Currently, it generates 19 MW of renewable energy on-site meeting 46% of its demand.

The 6.6 MW on-site solar PV plant in Infosys Pocharam campus

Water conservation is another area of emphasis, with all campuses using low-flow fixtures, sensor-based taps and native plantation to reduce water use. All waste water gets recycled on-site and used either as cooling tower make-up, irrigation or flushing. All rainwater is harvested on-site as well, either by on-site storage or groundwater recharge. Infosys’s water-use efficiency per employee reduced by a remarkable 55% over the last decade.

These were just some of the company’s progressive strategies discussed in the webinar. The key takeaway is the low carbon-high growth blueprint that Infosys offers for all organizations. Infosys puts out all the details behind its sustainability approach in its latest sustainability report.

This webinar was conducted live on 17th June, 2019. 

Guruprakash Sastry | Regional Head, Infrastructure / Green Initiatives INFOSYS

He is responsible for ensuring energy efficiency in the new buildings/campuses of Infosys, green building certifications, research projects on building efficiency, building envelope optimization, etc. His previous experience has been with companies such as Johnson Controls and The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI).

Q1. Do Infosys buildings use insulation?

Yes, we use roof and wall insulation. This is the primary reason we’re able to reduce energy loads down to 0.75 W/sft.

Q2. Does Infosys set sustainability goals every years?

We set 10-year goals. We began with outlining goals in 2008 for carbon-neutrality, reducing energy-consumption by 50% and switching entirely to renewable energy. In 2015, we also defined goals for water-usage.

Q3. How difficult was it to convince the senior management to not continue having all-glass facades?

They were completely on-board since we could demonstrate its energy saving benefits.

Q4. How difficult was it to convince the senior management to not continue having all-glass facades?

They were completely on-board since we could demonstrate its energy saving benefits.

Q5. How do campuses recycle wastewater?

We use MBR or Membrane Bio Reactors which is a high-quality technology for treating wastewater. Recycled water is then used for flushing, irrigation and cooling tower makeup.

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