Unique, green air-cooling system for Nalanda University

Patna, June 18 (IANS) Architects building the Nalanda International University at the ancient seat of learning in Bihar have decided to use the desiccant enhanced evaporative (Devap) air-cooling system. This is the first time such a system will be used in India.

The Devap system works by using “dessicant” material that removes moisture from the air using heat, as also evaporative technologies that bring about cooling by using up to 90 percent less energy than conventional means.

“We plan to use the Devap system in Nalanda International University for the first time in India, as it gels with the concept of the ancient seat of learning,” said Rajeev Kathpalia, principal architect of the Ahmedabad-based company Vastu Shilpa Consultants, selected last month to design the university.

Kathpalia said the Devap system had not been tried in India till now. “It will be an experiment in Nalanda,” Kathpalia told IANS, adding that it had shown satisfactory results in the US and Japan.

Kathpalia, along with B.V. Doshi, the firm’s principal architect, visited the site at Rajgir, some 100 km from Patna, where the university will be built, and discussed the design with Vice Chancellor Gopa Sabharwal.

Sabharwal said construction work on the 446-acre plot, located 12 km from the ruins of the ancient seat of learning, would begin by December.

She said the first phase of the varsity, an initiative of the Indian government and supported by the East Asia Summit, would be completed in two years.

The university will begin its academic session from 2014, initially offering masters degrees in ecology, environment and historic studies, Sabharwal said.

Kathpalia pointed out that the buildings would be designed on the concept of “net zero” energy consumption. The university would generate its own energy using photo voltaics. It would also collect the biomass of neighbouring villages to generate its own electricity and harvest rainwater.

The university, which will have seven schools, will be fully residential, like the ancient Nalanda university. It will offer courses in science, philosophy and spiritualism, along with social sciences.

The project took shape in 2006, at the initiative of then president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.

(Imran Khan can be contacted at [email protected] <mailto:[email protected]>)

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