Everything in this world comes with a cost. Nothing is free. With rapid urbanization and increasing demand for infrastructure, we tend to forget the irreversible cost our environment bears for every new building that pops out from the ground. And isn’t it our responsibility to control and minimize the amount of damage our infrastructure causes to our environment? Aren’t we accountable for the resources and amount of energy we spend from the environment to establish and maintain a building throughout its lifetime? Everything needs to be in balance to maintain harmony.
In terms of architecture and building design, when a building generates renewable energy on/off-site and if this energy generated is equal to the total amount of energy used by the building on an annual basis, then the building stands out as a Net Zero Energy (NZE) building. In simple terms, we generate what we spend. These Zero Energy Buildings’ (ZEB) contribute towards the sustainable development of mankind with nature.
Zero Energy Design LAB: ZED Lab
ZED Lab is an architectural and interior design studio based in India’s capital city, Delhi. It was established in 2009 with an aim and motive to design and develop Net Zero Buildings. With its research, design, development, and construction techniques ZED Lab has been creating sustainable designs that last long with changing context and climate. Sustainability as its core principle, ZED Lab not only works towards improving the quality of human life but also the life of the building and its environment.
ZED Lab’s founder Architect, Sachin Rastogi’s buildings reflect the strong idea and philosophy behind the importance of user-centric building design that goes beyond mere aesthetics. ZED Lab was established on the foundation of energy-efficient design principles that sparked the idea of “Measure, Minimize, and Mitigate” the building’s design, development, and overall functioning.
Here are some projects by ZED Lab:
Boys Hostel Block/ Gurugram/ India
Project: Boys Hostel Block – St.Andrews Institute of Technology and Management, Gurugram, India.
Lead Architects: Sachin Rastogi & Payal Seth Rastogi.
Year: 2017; Completed: 2019
A good design addresses the challenges of the site with respect to its climate in the given context. St.Andrews boy’s hostel block was proposed on the existing campus of the university, posing challenges in the areas of physical, social, and environmental aspects of student interaction on the university campus. ZED Lab with its zero-energy design approach, addressed the design of the hostel block by proposing a linear mass of a block that imbibed active-sustainable, and student-friendly interaction spaces, keeping in mind the climate and context of the site.
Inculcating sustainable design principles along with the science of construction techniques and choice of materials, ZED Lab has worked towards achieving a suitable social and physical environment that withstands the test of changing climate. The double-tripled heightened overlay of spaces at multiple levels promoted active student interaction. The multiple courts and cafeterias provided at certain intervals acted as a focal point drawing student interaction. ZED Lab not only focused on the indoor interaction of the students but also integrated outdoor campus views as an active aspect of the hostel design to maintain indoor-outdoor integration.
Climate sensitivity has always been an important consideration for ZED Lab. Keeping in mind the lighting, ventilation, and thermal comfort of the building which is directly proportional to the amount of overall all energy consumption, ZED Lab has arrived with a solution of a double-layered/second skinned facade design that took care of the lighting, ventilation, and thermal comfort of the students indoor. With a vernacular approach that imbibed a brick jail wall as its external facet which helped to control the thermal comfort indoors by adding extra skin that acted as a buffer in controlling the temperatures inside-out.
Latest Work: House Under Shadows
Project: House under Shadows, Karnal, Haryana, India.
Area: 1672 sq.ft.
Lead Architects: Sachin Rastogi & Payal Seth Rastogi.
Year: 2018; Completed: 2021
A beautiful play of changing sunlight and shadows, a uni-lattice roof that acts as an umbrella on top holding the homes of two brothers under one roof, this is the apt description for this beautiful house under shadows. ZED Lab combined two houses that look identical under one roof that evokes one’s imagery by casting shadows of changing sun that resembles a huge canopy of tropical rainforests on the ground during the day.
The residential architecture of the house under shadows is an amalgamation of vernacular architecture fused into the modern context of Indian homes. This nature-inspired home designed by ZED Lab nearly achieved a net-zero design through the design strategies that met the standards of sustainable living.
The design of the house under shadows was inspired by the architecture of a palatial hotel in Karnal – Noor Mahal. The elements like ‘chowks’ and ‘chatris’ were taken into consideration, adding value to the context of significance. ZED Lab’s climate responsive design approach included courtyards that enclosed pools of water bodies that acted as heats sinks. Double height common entrance and large cantilever roofs projected help cut the harsh sunlight from penetrating the south-facing home.
The internal spaces are planned to accommodate natural lighting and cross-ventilation throughout the spaces in the home. All the extensive cantilever projections, wooden pergolas, water bodies surrounded by courtyards, walls cladded with vertical plantation and cooling stones, etc contribute towards the climatic responsive design aspect of ZED Lab.
The use of locally available materials that have low carbon content helped reduce the use of mechanical cooling systems. Right from the design approach to nature-inspired ideology to the use of sustainable elements of design and construction to materials used, the house under shadows stands out as an eco-friendly home in the neighborhood of Karnal.
ZED Lab worked and has been continuously working both independently and collaboratively towards climate-responsive, sustainable, net-zero energy buildings that are inspired by the vernacular style of Indian origin, and try to fuse it with what we call modern Indian living. ZED Lab has been recognized as one of the top architectural and interior design firms in the country. The exemplary work put in by ZED Lab has won them many awards placing them on various national and international forums.
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world, S. (n.d.). Sachin Rastogi of ZED Lab on the essentiality of sustainability in India. [online] www.stirworld.com. Available at: https://www.stirworld.com/inspire-people-sachin-rastogi-of-zed-lab-on-the-essentiality-of-sustainability-in-india [Accessed 1 Sep. 2021].
Zedlab. (n.d.). St. Andrews boys Hostel. [online] Available at: https://www.zeroenergydesignlab.com/boyshostel [Accessed 1 Sep. 2021].
Nast, C. (2021). This eco-friendly Haryana home is ornamented with shadow and sunlight. [online] Architectural Digest India. Available at: https://www.architecturaldigest.in/story/this-eco-friendly-haryana-home-is-ornamented-with-shadow-and-sunlight/ [Accessed 1 Sep. 2021].
world, S. (n.d.). A latticed roof rains dappled light into House Under Shadows by ZED Lab. [online] www.stirworld.com. Available at: https://www.stirworld.com/see-features-a-latticed-roof-rains-dappled-light-into-house-under-shadows-by-zed-lab [Accessed 1 Sep. 2021].