Modern Buildings: Growing adoption of advanced technology solutions

Indian smart cities are increasingly promoting the uptake of smart solutions in various building-related projects. Under the Smart Cities Mission, bus depots, airports and metro stations are being enabled with newer technologies such as intelligent transport systems (ITSs) and electric charging stations. They are also being integrated with renewable energy so­ur­ces and LED lighting systems, and have provisions for CCTV surveillance. These clima­te-resilient solutions have enabled ease of access and travel for commuters and  increas­ed energy efficiency of buildings.

Smart depots

Smart bus depots are gaining popularity with the evolving mobility patterns. For instance, the bus terminus in Vellore city being built under the Vellore Smart City Project at a cost of ar­ound Rs 0.53 billion will have several charging points for electric vehicles and high resolution CCTV cameras for efficient surveillance. It will also be equipped with solar panels that can generate 100 kW of power. Smart bus depots are increasingly being powered by solar energy and are also making use of recycled building materials, mobile charging stations, LED lighting, etc. To this end, the first smart solar-powered bus station was inaugurated in Varanasi under the Varanasi Smart City Project in Nov­em­ber 2022. This depot at Sampurnanand Sports Stadium’s main gate in the Sigra area is built as part of the corporate social responsibility programme of Hindustan Unilever Limited. The bus depot’s buildings along with the floor tiles are made of recyclable material.

Besides, many cities have started implementing ITS solutions such as advanced traffic management systems, fleet management systems, automatic vehicle detection systems, el­ec­tronic fare payment systems and central control systems.

Adoption of renewable energy

There is a shift towards clean energy solutions in airport buildings and metro stations being de­veloped under smart city projects. These buildings are targeted to be carbon-neutral wi­th smart construction practices and innovative materials. There is an increased focus on the use of recycled materials and energy efficient systems. The development of smart city airports also emphasises the adoption of renewable energy sources. The Indira Gandhi In­ter­na­tional Airport in Delhi has been developed on similar principles. It has been meeting all its energy needs through hydro and solar power since June 2022. Further, its operator, Delhi In­ternational Airport Limited, has signed a long-term power purchase agreement with a Hima­chal Pradesh-based hydropower-producing company for the supply of hydroelectricity until 2036. Moreover, the airport has a 7.84 MW solar power plant on the airside and an additional 5.3 MW rooftop solar power plant. This smart solution will allow the airport to reduce its indirect energy emissions by 0.2 million tonnes of carbon dioxide every year.

Similarly, new and existing metro stations are being equipped with solar panels for their energy needs. To this end, 27 elevated metro stations are being constructed by the Delhi Me­tro Rail Corporation under Phase IV of the Delhi Metro Project with a provision for solar plant installation. The design and construction of the stations will be with respect to their alignment with the exposure to sunlight.  This would ensure efficient solar power generation. Under this pha­se, there is a target to set up 10 MW of solar pl­ants at these buildings in order to generate arou­nd 10 million units of solar energy annually.

The way forward

Going forward, smart cities will see a growth in smart building solutions with a larger uptake of internet of things and big data technologies. Integrated building management is also being encouraged under these projects. It is expected that Warangal will receive 121 smart bus depots under the Smart Cities Mission that would be holistically enabled with technology. These modern bus depots will feature digital displays with information on routes, bus numbers, and schedules, along with the use of QR codes, surveillance cameras, mobile charging stations, smart wastebins, etc. In the upper portion of the proposed bus station complex, there will be a shopping area, movie theatres, hotels and 60 platforms.