Translocation of trees for new Env Min building

New Delhi: "Save as many trees as you can."

This was the message from Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh as he ordered translocation of trees from a site where foundation stone laid by him for a new building for the Ministry.

The new complex, tipped to be `green`, being built at a cost of about 140 crore, is coming up at Aliganj on Jorbagh Road here. After performing `Bhumi Pujan` for the building amidst Vedic hymns, Ramesh said the building would be completed in 15 months.

"Translocate the trees to Lodhi Gardens," the Minister said when officials from the Central Public Works Department (CPWD), who will carry out the construction, pointed out that atleast 35 trees will have to be cut for the building.

Later, speaking to reporters, he said: "In this site, we have about 79 trees and about 32 or 33 trees will have to be removed. But we don`t want to remove them. We want to translocate them."

"Normally we translocate 4 year…5-year-old saplings …small trees. Translocating trees at about 40-years-old…

50-years-old becomes expensive. But we will do it. Because we don`t want to lose these trees. Trees are part of our history," the Minister said.

Some of the trees at the site are more than a century old.

"Respect for the rivers, respect for the forests, respect for the mountains is very much part of our culture. No other culture has it," he said.

The two-block Ministry building — ground floor plus seven in the north and ground floor plus 6 in the south — is being developed as a `net zero` building with annual energy demand of 1421000 kwh against annual energy generation of 1429000 kwh.

"It would be the most environment-friendly, climate friendly Government building. This would be a signature. This would be a signal to the rest of the world that we mean business, when it comes to green buildings," Ramesh said.

"This would be India`s greenest building in the Government sector," the Minister said.

Regenerative lifts, mechanised car parking, innovative chilled beam system for cooling, pre-cooling of fresh air from toilet exhaust using heat recovering wheel, water cooled chillers will also be the notable features of the building.

According to CPWD`s chief architect R K Kakar, "the building actually is going beyond net zero."

"It is energy positive. The basic idea being that over the course of year, the building creates more energy than it actually consumes. That is right now being managed through the photo voltage system, which is on the roof," he said.

He said the building goes far beyond any green rating systems and also is a pioneering effort.

Ramesh also said the idea is that over the year it becomes energy-positive.

"It gives more energy out, then we receive. We can`t look at it in a day-to-day basis. Over the years, the building would give out more energy to the grid," he added.