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BryairMedia CoverageMaking Money out of Fresh Air

Making Money out of Fresh Air

Deepak Pahwa, Managing Director, Bry-Air | The Economic Times | August 2007

Gurgaon bases DRI has executed projects for Beijing Capital Airport and the Petronas Towers

After touching down in Beijing for the 2008 Olympics, if visitors and athletes from across the world breathe easy, thank an Indian company for it. They are most unlikely to get whiff of the fact that the 45 heat recover wheels, which purify the air inside the upgraded Beijing Capital Airport, were installed by Desiccant Rotor International Pvt. Ltd. (DRI), a small Indian company based in Gurgaon, on the fringes of New Delhi.

DRI won the contract amid stiff competition from global players such as Klingeburg, Cebo and Novel Air. A special team set-up by the Chinese government to test and evaluate treated fresh air handling units (AHU) with eco fresh heat wheels and to specify and high quality AHU manufactures, found DRI’s plans more refreshing.

With increasing awareness of sick building syndrome caused by stale air inside buildings, more and more designers are going in for higher fresh air rates to maintain good indoor air quality level. This increased fresh air, however, comes at a steep energy cost impact. The hot and often humid outside air add significant load on the air-conditioning system. More importantly, the stale air comprising pollutants circulated in the air-conditioned buildings cause something called the induced attention deficient disorder. This has plagued companies with low productivity, ill effect on individual health, loss encountered by lack of focus and consistent absenteeism.

This is why company like DRI come into the picture. We purify the air and create an ambience,” says Deepak Pahwa, Managing Director of Bry-Air Asia and Director, DRI. Pahwa saw a potential business when in 1989 indoor air quality (IAQ) and energy saving became the buzzwords in the US. In the last 20 years, the number of air-conditioned offices in India has increased from 5% to 30%. Today, the Pahwa group of companies (Bry-Air & DRI) have revenues worth Rs 150 crore and has executed projects like the Beijing Airport, Petronas Towers in Malaysia and green building such as Olympia Park, Chennai and Technopolis, Kolkata, among others.

DRI produces and installs heat recovery ventilators (HRVs) which make ventilation more cost-effective by reclaiming energy from exhaust airflows. HRVs use heat exchangers to heat or cool incoming fresh air, recapturing 60-80% of the conditioned temperatures that would otherwise be lost. “When properly designed, these energy recovery systems can reduce HVAC system capacity by one-half; cut operating energy systems from one-third to two-thirds, depending upon mode of operations; and have lifecycle cost paybacks from immediate to three years,” says Tanmay Tathagat, a senior energy efficiency and green building specialist.

Analysis of energy efficiency opportunities in buildings located in hot and hot humid cities like Delhi, Mumbai show a 10-20% reduction in the HVAC energy use in typical office buildings. The savings are as high as 35% in IT buildings, which have higher populations densities. The total capacity of air-conditioning in such buildings is brought down to a fifth. The buildings have achieved an overall load cut of 12% in the energy cost.

Technopolis, the country’s first green building has experienced a reduction of up to 10% on the air conditioning lead and 6% decrease in the energy consumption through the usage of heat recover wheels. “We have witnessed 100% occupancy of the buildings through the usage of HRV technology,” says P K Banerjee, Director-projects for Phoenix Software, which developed the building.


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