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The sustainability handbook

Ralph Sunil
Group Head, Facility Management Services, GMR Group

The responsibility of ensuring a good, environment-friendly and healthy future lies in the hands of the people who manage the present. Ralph Sunil, Group Head, Facility Management Services, GMR Group, shares some of the best practices implemented and experiences gained in the areas of sustainability.

The progress of development propelled by the use of technology to create and enhance infrastructure, speed, comfort, luxury, efficiency and overall well being of the human race brings to fore the elements to be considered in the area of sustainability. The core elements are Air, Water, Waste, Materials and Resources, Energy and Greening, which are applicable across the world. Based on the above, the goals for sustainability being set are:

Good Air Quality Index

Various methods to achieve the same have been deployed which include:

  • High quality filters
  • Ionisation/ozonisation
  • Antimicrobial sprays
  • High rate of frequent air changes
  • Fresh air circulation
  • Spaces to enable natural acceptable atmospheric conditions
  • Emission control
  • Pollution control

All the above are possible with a combination of high grades of mechanisation, automation and digitalisation. Self propelled machines guided by ML, AI and sensors can automatically keep the AQI under desired norms. Measuring tools with accurate reports and controllers are the key to maintaining the required levels of good quality.

A few good practices include:

  • Closed emissions technology from manufacturing plant to the recycle process
  • Taxi bots: To minimise aircraft emissions at airports
  • Green fuel: control pollution by vehicles
  • Installation of scrubbers and emission treatment technology for chimneys
  • Use of surfactant sprays to control virus and bacterial infection in hospitals.
  • Sensors fitted in large public places help in maintaining AQI: airports, hospitals, malls, cinemas, office spaces etc.

Water management

Water is a resource which needs to be addressed in a multi-pronged way. A few core elements of water to be noted under sustainability:

  • Use and conservation
  • Effluent and waste water management
  • Quality of water
  • Pollution control
  • Resource management

Many of the good practices pertaining to the above points are directly related to human behaviour and discipline, followed by use of technology. Some of the best practices are illustrated below:

  • Use of alternatives to water: bio toilets, paper products, climate management.
  • Conscious use of water in all areas: The agro industry and hotel industry promotes this discipline.
  • Channelling water and creating water pools from available and natural resources: harvesting, dams and canal management, condensation technology to collect water from atmospheric air, afforestation etc.
  • Zero waste, recycling and treated reuse of effluent and waste water with technology-based treatment plants.
  • Good water storage methods avoid contamination and helps good productivity: Plastic ban, natural storage methods, good groundwater levels, clean oceans etc.

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