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IIT Madras recognized with ‘IGBC (Indian Green Building Council) Platinum Certification’

By   /  September 27, 2023  /  Comments Off on IIT Madras recognized with ‘IGBC (Indian Green Building Council) Platinum Certification’

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CHENNAI : Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras) has been accorded the ‘Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) Platinum Certification,’ recognizing it as one of the country’s largest and highest-rated green campuses to attain this honour.

The Platinum Certification indicates that the Institute demonstrated exceptional resource efficiency and environmental responsibility. This not only reduces operational costs but also conserves valuable resources. IIT Madras recorded an impressive score of 82 out of 90 points.

The ‘IGBC Green Campus’ is a rating system and certification program developed by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) to promote sustainable and environment-friendly practices in educational institutions and corporate campuses in India.

IIT Madras has also established a Solid Waste Incinerator facility with the capacity to process two tons of mixed waste per day that otherwise goes out for landfilling. Prof. V. Kamakoti, Director, IIT Madras, inaugurated the facility on 19th September 2023. This facility demonstrates the Institute’s commitment towards achieving a sustainable ‘Zero Waste Discharge’.

Elaborating on the importance of IGBC Platinum Certification, Prof. Ligy Philip, Dean (Planning), IIT Madras, said, “It evaluates campuses on various parameters emphasizing resource efficiency, environmentally responsible design and enhanced indoor environmental quality. Sustainable landscaping, transportation options and a strong focus on awareness and education are integral parts of this initiative. Green Campus certification not only leads to long-term cost savings but also enhances the reputation of institutions, attracting environmentally conscious individuals. Furthermore, it contributes to a sustainable future by addressing environmental challenges such as climate change and resource depletion, emphasizing responsible resource management and stewardship for current and future generations.”

Prof. Ligy Philip, also a faculty in the Department of Civil Engineering (Environmental Engineering Group), IIT Madras, added, “What makes the achievement laudable is that IIT Madras is also one of the largest campuses in the country – spanning 611 acres to have achieved this feat. This recognition underscores the Institutes’ commitment to environmental sustainability and responsible campus development. This recognition serves as a benchmark for other institutions to follow suit in adopting green practices.”

According to a comprehensive digital twin analysis performed by Earthonomic Engineers, IIT Madras stands as a remarkable example of mitigating the urban heat island effect in Chennai. The extensive forest cover on the campus plays a crucial role in counteracting this phenomenon, making the campus consistently 3-5 degrees cooler than the rest of the city. This cooling effect highlights the significant environmental advantages of green spaces within urban areas.

SOLID WASTE INCINERATOR

Speaking about the Solid Waste Incinerator facility, Prof. Ligy Philip said, “At present institute generates about 4 tonnes of solid waste per day. The waste segregation is done at source.  The segregated organic waste is either composted or anaerobically digested.  We have a biodigester of 1 tonne capacity already functioning and another biodigester of 2 tonne capacity is being constructed. The biogas generated is being used in hostel sector for cooking. The inorganic waste is further segregated and sold to vendors for recycling. Still, we get about 300 to 400 kg/day of mixed waste. We were sending this waste to landfill site. With this facility, our campus will be a ‘Zero Waste Discharge campus. We are in the process of installing an energy recovery system from the incinerator. This shows the institute’s commitment towards sustainability.”

Elaborating on the impact of this facility, Project Coordinator Prof. R. Vinu, Department of Chemical Engineering, IIT Madras, said, “This facility can handle unsegregated wastes up to 40 per cent moisture content. It will be used to combust food/packaging wastes, partially consumed food wastes, cups, cardboard and big packaging boards and used beds/foams. By incinerating the mixed wastes, the Institute reduces around two tons of CO2-eq GHG emissions. The Institute benefits by reducing expenditure on waste disposal. In the near future, energy extraction is planned by either using a gas engine or by using a boiler and turbine system to produce power.”

While the material gets transported from the waste bin to the shredder, the obvious, bigger metals and glass pieces are handpicked and sorted. The mixed organic/food+plastic+carboard+packaging wastes in the mixed form are combusted in the rotary kiln. The hot flue gases are cooled down using air in a cyclone unit.

This avoids the use of water to cool the gases. After the gases are cooled to <150oC, it is sent through a series of bag filter, wet scrubber and dry scrubber to bring the emissions within norms and finally let out. The ash collected from the Solid Waste Incinerator can be used for making bricks/construction. In effect, it is a zero-waste discharge unit.

The key initiatives taken up by IIT Madras towards a ‘Green campus’ include:

Ø  Water Harvesting: The campus captures and utilizes 100% of rainwater runoff from both roof and non-roof areas, directing it to two existing lakes with a combined capacity of 165 million liters and 105 million liters, respectively.

Ø  Waste Management: The campus effectively manages waste by treating 100% of food waste and landscape waste through a combination of biogas plants and vermicomposting.

Ø  Wastewater Treatment: A state-of-the-art Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) with a capacity of 4 million liters per day (MLD) has been installed to treat wastewater generated on the campus. The treated wastewater is reused to fulfill 100% of the flushing, landscaping, and cooling tower makeup water requirements, showcasing responsible water management.

Ø  Extensive Greenery: A remarkable 70% of the total site area, which equates to 16,48,939 square meters, is adorned with lush vegetation. Furthermore, the campus boasts an impressive count of 65,425 trees, enhancing its environmental aesthetics and contributing to air quality and biodiversity.

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