This Chennai school uses data to improve its performance

School

ARC is a new digital platform that uses data to help measure and improve sustainability performance across the built environment, from buildings to cities and beyond.

The data-centric approach of ARC connects actions and tracks progress through a performance score that allows projects to track and benchmark progress. American International School Chennai (AISC) is the world’s first K12 school to achieve green building certification via ARC rated by GBCI under the LEED v4 Operations and Maintenance rating system. With a simple-to-use interface, the ARC platform generates a performance score out of 100, based on global benchmarking.

It has helped the school to track its performance and areas that need improvement. The software has also helped keep a tab on the quality of indoor air and employee satisfaction to ensure a healthy and positive work environment. More important, the online tool focuses on consumption. AISC has put in various measures to ensure this is reduced, which eventually translates into a better score.

Eco-friendly practices
The organic waste converter was successfully re-instated and state-of-the-art dustbins for five types of ongoing waste were placed at various places to ensure segregation of waste at source. In addition, effective operations and regular maintenance along with essential upgrades ensured a healthy score in energy performance. Also, solar PV with a capacity of 260 kW was integrated with the building, which has helped reduce overall energy consumption by 20 per cent annually. The rooftop solar panels are directly connected to the grid system and the power is being used across the school.

Saving water and electricity
The school has made use of motion sensors in most classrooms; these cut off the lights when there is no one in the room, helping to save around 5 per cent of energy. Temperature sensors in the air-handling unit (AHU) also help save energy. Other measures undertaken include replacing conventional lights with LEDs and the use of more natural light. Earlier, AISC did not meet the pre-requisite criteria as the flow and flush fixtures were high compared to the LEED baseline when it came to water conservation. These were worked on and revised to be more efficient than the LEED baseline. This has led to a saving of around 30 per cent of non-potable water. The rainwater harvesting system at the campus has a capacity of around 15 lakh liter. And an STP with a capacity of 60 kld has also been installed on site.

Maintaining standards and the path ahead
Periodic maintenance is the key. Also, periodic checks once every quarter by a third-party expert helps AISC be on track to achieve subsequent recertification and provides a platform to think of innovative measures and strategies to upgrade the building from LEED Gold to LEED Platinum, which is the school's goal. Going forward, AISC is working on becoming mercury-free by replacing all existing fixtures with LED-based fixtures. There are plans to phase out all CFC and HCFC-free air-conditioning units. The school is also planning to increase the number of solar panels installed. Meanwhile, during renovations, there has been maximum reuse of building materials, proper disposal of waste and use of wood certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).

In totality, the school spent $80,000 to implement the certification to the payback along with return on investment with lesser consumption will be in the learning and imbibing of the green value system by students.