“Sustainability… (is) social responsibility.”

Ananth Eyunni, senior design architect at Genesis Planners, Hyderabad,
Ananth Eyunni, senior design architect at Genesis Planners, Hyderabad.

In conversation with architect Ananth Eyunni, senior design architect at Genesis Planners, Hyderabad, we look at Green practices that will help us build a more sustainable future. Eyunni provides an objective outlook to following Green norms; points out innovations that are the need of the hour; and expounds on how we can lessen environmental damages while still building a habitable space.

What is the first step in designing a Green building?
Ananth: This in fact starts with an intention to go Green. With the intention comes a need to understand the nuances of the process and the costs involved. Once these factors are understood, all stakeholders need to have a brainstorming session for a complete awareness on sustainable design and construction practices, irrespective of rating systems. Only then do they tend to take it up as a serious and important component of the project.

Another major factor is the acceptance levels of builders and money-spenders on the project. It is very important for them to understand the need for sustainability in their projects and accept it as a social responsibility.

Which recent Green innovation, according to you, can revolutionise the buildings of the future?
Ananth: Innovation in the general market – mass production, availability and price reduction of sustainable materials like performance glass, LEDs, solar installations, etc – is the need of the hour. Off-late, innovation has been focussing on increasing the output or efficiency of a product while keeping the manufacturing and component costs down.

Green innovation, in addition to these, also considers the reduction of carbon footprint during manufacturing as well as during operations. While in some cases the component itself might be the cause, generally it is noticed that they act as catalysts in a bigger process to reduce the carbon footprint of a larger entity. Performance glass, LED, solar installations, drip irrigation, organic waste converters, etc, are some examples.

Solar Panel / Godrej Green Building Consultancy Services © Dominic Alves/ CC.BY.2.0|
Solar energy solutions need to be more accessible 
|© Dominic Alves/ CC.BY.2.0|

What factors are imperative in going Green when it comes to residential buildings?
Ananth: Respecting the site conditions and not compromising on the comfort of inhabitants is imperative and shouldn’t be compromised in the name of going Green. Many a time, it is observed that the process of designing a sustainable building takes a toll on the general comfort levels of the inhabitants.

For example, if an Organic Waste Converter is placed without planning, such as right next to a dwelling unit, the odour of the decomposing waste causes discomfort to the inhabitant. Therefore, it is imperative to design inclusively the placement of sustainable features in a project.

 

“All stakeholders need to have a brainstorming session for a complete
awareness on sustainable design and construction practices –
irrespective of rating systems.”


 

According to you, what are some must-have Green features in a project?
Ananth: The most important Green features in any project are those which counter the over-utilisation of natural resources. Rainwater harvesting, solar installations, LED lighting and recycling and reuse of water (are some) examples.

It is an ignored fact that water, an essential commodity, is fast depleting. Many projects in bigger cities are facing scarcity, and are resorting to expensive methods like purchasing water to meet their needs. Rainwater harvesting has come a long way since it was introduced commercially few years back. Today, there are options to harvest the water and either recharge the ground water or collect in a tank and reuse or even directly recharge the existing bore well points. Also, recycling and reuse of water helps in reducing the demand for groundwater for landscaping and flushing.

Commercial LED lighting is one of the most important innovations of the recent times. To use the technology of a Light Emitting Diode as a permanent solution to light up our spaces while consuming less than half the amount of electricity than other types of lighting, is an achievement in itself. If everyone installs LED, imagine the savings at the larger scale.

Solar power is something to reckon with and is available in abundance. Although efforts are on to harness it, there is still a struggle to improve the efficiency of the panels and reduce the costs. Once this is resolved, solar installations can go a long way to offset the dependency on normal electrical grid.

 

“Even a small offset by renewable sources will succeed in reducing
huge burden on natural resources.”

 

What ample (Green) resources are we taking for granted (or ignoring) while designing in our country?
Ananth: The entire construction industry needs to sit up and take stock of the amount of water and sand going into projects. Also, in the process of construction, the amount of non-renewable sources of energy used is huge. Even a small offset by renewable sources will succeed in reducing huge burden on natural resources. Another important factor we are ignoring is research and development of sustainable materials. It is essential to keep alive an aptitude for research and development of construction materials that are manufactured from recycled or rapidly renewable materials and do not compromise on factors like durability.

Though such research institutes exist as a part of the central government, it is essential for institutions like IGBC and TERI to form mobile research cells and take the process to the project instead of the project approaching the process. This will generate wider acceptance and also promote the usage of many such materials, thereby reducing the burden on virgin material.

About Genesis Planners
Genesis Planners is a architecture firm based in Hyderabad, India. In its 20 year practice so far, Genesis has several landmark projects to showcase its talent and the ability to deliver. With its uncompromising design standards and architectural ideals, the goal for Genesis has been to push the limits and think the impossible.

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Green Living is Responsible Living

Green living by Godrej Green building consultancy services
© Anurupa Chowdhury/CC-BY-3.0

About a month back we saw America walk out of the Paris Climate Agreement resulting in debates, disagreements and general outcry. Closer home we saw the Maharashtra government clear the Energy Conservation Policy which wants to ensure that all new buildings in the state are energy efficient. In one instance we witnessed skepticism towards what Green future means and in the other a need to necessitate it as a default practice. Debates and skepticism push us to pursue the truth holistically, hence they should be welcomed. Even if we disagree on global warming or what Green/Sustainable means, we cannot, however, ignore the need for responsible living — which is essentially what Green living is.

That in 2017 we still need to make a case for Green living seems absurd. There is a definite need to mitigate the environmental damages that occur due to human activity, more so in the construction industry. The good news is that it is possible to rein in these damages, as architect Chitra Vishwanath mentions in her TED talk how we should “maximise (the) capability of creating to minimise the negative impact (of building).” Using our creative prowess, and much needed common sense, we can create a future that benefits all of creation.

Often misconstrued as a marketing jargon or a blind race to achieve ratings (which sometimes is the case), the need for Green living cannot be dismissed because of a few bad apples. Architect Ananth Eyuni of Genesis Planners in our interview with him mentioned, “With the intention (to go Green) comes a need to understand the nuances of the process and the costs involved. Once these factors are understood, all stakeholders need to have a brainstorming session for a complete awareness on sustainable design and construction practices, irrespective of rating systems. Only then do they tend to take it up as a serious and important component of the project.”

Godrej Green Building Consultancy Services
Future needs to be Green ©Giuseppe Milo/CC BY 2.0

Thankfully, individuals and organisations are taking stock of this and looking at adopting sustainable measures in an holistic manner. The Kolhapur Municipal Corporation, for instance, wants all future projects, specifically those spreading over 5,000sq-m, to adhere to Green norms. RK Patil, head of KMC’s environmental cell, pointed out, “The rules such as use of natural drain system, use of water-efficient appliances, rainwater harvesting plan, reservation of open spaces, facilities to treat dry and solid waste and compliance of the energy conservation building code will be framed. Workshops will be conducted to spread awareness among the developers once the rules are finalised.”

While we applaud, and even aid, these positive sustainable moves, we cannot simply dismiss or ignore the dissenting voices around us, as seen with the Paris agreement. Responding to these doubts and the general disregard towards sustainability will mean we need to make a case for Green living through a better lens. We have to agree that blind adherence to Green norms is not the goal. We must continuously question our methods and strategies, make improvements where needed, revise norms where beneficial, and ditch practices that no longer hold true. Simply dismissing opposing opinion will not help us, we need to respond to them with facts and use their doubts as opportunities to look at our goals with a new lens.

Let’s stay the course and continue to educate that Green living is not simply a jargon, but it is the responsible way forward.

 

Key Certifications of the Month
Key Certification @Godrej Green building Consultancy Services, Mantralaya, IIT Powai, Dell International, Varroc Polymers, Cherry County.

Going Green with Kohli’s

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The Kohli Residence, situated in Gurgaon, maintains a perfect blend of VastuShastra, passive architecture and Green lifestyle – a design brief set by the proud owners. The project was developed keeping the intention of liveability, modern vision, environmental consciousness and energy optimisation at the forefront. Green Building Consultancy Services – a distinguished segment of Godrej & Boyce – worked jointly with New-Delhi based architecture teamConfluence. Spread over 450sq-m with G + 2 facilities and a basement, this luxury haven with its effective sustainable measures has been certified Gold by the IGBC (Indian Green Building Council) – a success story that is worth imitating for other upcoming projects.

From the inception stage, the norms such as efficient site management were followed. Before construction could commence, effective erosion and sediment control (ESC) measures were implemented to eliminate pollutants from entering the outside environment and local water bodies. A waste yard was also constructed at site segregating steel, wood blocks, debris, cement bags, plastic cans and packing materials, etc. These waste materials were sold to recycler –preventing these materials from reaching the landfill.

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Ventilation of fresh air for the entire habitable spaces is met through energy efficient Heat Recover Wheel – meeting all the requirements of Indoor Air Quality (IAQ), humidity control and energy saving. HRVs have multi-speed settings to deal with varying ventilation needs. Automatic controls are available as well to modulate the operation of the HRV based on time and indoor humidity level.

Water being the most precious resource, rainwater harvesting has been implemented; both roof and non-roof run-off is collected. Water conservation is also an important element of Green and sustainable design. Despite housing a family of five, the house uses 25% less water than the baseline prescribed by IGBC. This was made possible by incorporating modern water fixtures like dual-flush toilets and low-flow faucets. The project team also chose Renewable Energy Technology in the form of solar water heater to meet the requirement of hot water for bathrooms and kitchens.

LED lighting and automated lighting controls are the efficient energy features implemented in the villa.Because exterior lighting and utility lights are needed only when it is dark, timer controller fulfils the need efficiently. Motion sensors turn lights on automatically when someone enters a room, enhancing occupant comfort and saving energy by turning lights off soon after the last occupant has left the room. Green design parameters like efficient window wall ratio and maximised natural day lighting are implemented providing 95% of the regularly occupied spaces with natural day lighting. Ecotect2010 software is used for Daylight Analysis.

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Household waste (post-occupancy)is being managed by segregating the waste at the kitchen level, i.e. dry & wet waste. Further, the waste is segregated into five categoriesviz.paper, organic, metal, plastic and e-waste for end-to-end disposal.The organic waste is converted into manure on site through organic waste convertor, which is utilised in the landscape areas within the premises.For a sustainable landscape, plants that grow well in local area were selected. These plants thrive based on the local condition whether it is available sun, rainfall or soil type. Native plants were planted on the ground and in the terrace landscape.

Implemented green features:

  1. Heat Reflective Roof Tiles having SRI value greater than 78
  2. Terrace Garden for Roofing insulation
  3. Highly Efficient Double Glazing Fenestration
  4. Natural Day lighting on 80% of the habitable spaces
  5. Water heating requirement through Solar
  6. Highly energy efficient VRF air conditioning system
  7. Fresh air ventilation through Heat Recovery wheel.
  8. Low VOC Paints for interior for best-suited occupant comfort
  9. Complete usage of FSC Certified Wood
  10. Waste disposal via Organic Composter

PROJECT OVERVIEW: KOHLI RESIDENCE
Location: Gurgaon (Haryana)
Developer: Confluence Built
Architect: Confluence
Green Consultant: Godrej & Boyce
Type: Individual Residence
Green Rating: IGBC Green Homes – Gold Rating

WHEN CELEBRITIES GO GREEN

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Photograph credits- Phalinn Ooi

The world is constantly on the look out for inspiring people – those we can emulate in all things good. And in the Green sphere, it is no different. Well-known personalities are in a unique position to draw attention to important causes – especially when it comes to sustainability. Their example, however small or great, could invite an entire generation to live Green and therefore bring out a change we so wish to see. Leading this pack are celebrities and other influential people who are using their resources and talents to pursue sustainable ambitions, whether at home, local community or at a global stage. It’s about time that the focus shifts from luxury and opulence alone but how the good life can also be Green.

Take for example, Gul Panag who desired to build a house that would be off the grid and generate power through solar panels. Panag’s home, registered under TERI’s SVAGRIHA (Small Versatile Affordable GRIHA system), sets an example for what an efficiently designed living space can achieve. Double glazed windows and an all round ventilation mechanism eliminate the need for air-conditioners. Through rainwater harvesting, the house utilises about 1lakh litres of water a year. Proud of her home, Panag even stated in an interview once, “Our home will be open to anyone curious to figure how a certified Green home is designed, and what makes it environmentally conscious.”

 As a former ambassador of the climate project – founded by former US vice-president Al Gore, it is no surprise that Abhay Deol nurtures some Green aspirations himself. Taking cues from the concept Earthship (house that is made of both natural and upcycled materials), Deol built a Green vacation home in Goa that aimed to fulfil the Platinum rating under Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED). “What I will have in my home are solar panels and helix wind turbines to harness wind energy. Helix wind turbines are DNA shaped and small in size unlike traditional, wind turbines, which are huge and fanlike and make a lot of noise. I will also be harvesting rainwater,” mentioned Deol in an interview.

When Bollywood actor Imran Khan had to extend his existing house, he wanted to ensure that the resultant changes didn’t hamper the existing topography of his neighbourhood. Even though it is opulent with its manicured lawn, a huge swimming pool, a theatre, a game court and also a windmill, the actor ensured equal amount of Green measures in the project. Whether it was rainwater harvesting or using tiles made from recycled industrial waste, the renovation was environment-friendly. Imran believes, “The need of the hour is to be sensitive to the environment. We want a Green earth and each of us must take solid steps in that direction.”

Known for embracing crucial social causes with passion, Nandita Das was commissioned by the Centre for Science and Environment to put her directing prowess in creating a Green informative video. The video appeals to the human heart to see the benefits of rainwater harvesting and how it could affect lives. “It uses a lyrical approach to communicate an environmental solution, which is often inaccessible due to its technical nature. The response to the spot has been overwhelming – by both the audiences and the critics,” Das’ website explains about this endeavour.

Through such Green initiatives, celebrities could inspire the masses to adopt Green living in their homes too. It could be a trend worth leading and equally worth following.

 

Kolkata’s RP-Sanjiv Goenka group on why they are going Green

imi kolkata
IMI Kolkata

This month in the Walk the Talk interview, BL Chandak, executive director, RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group, speaks to us about the Green future of eastern India and how organisations like RP-Sanjiv Goenka group are taking initiatives to get Green certifications for their many projects.

In the context of Eastern India, do you see an increase in Green development?

Chandak: The concept of Green buildings is the flag-bearer of sustainable development movement in the buildings sector, and realtors, industries, corporates, educational institutes and businesses in eastern India are taking a call. For example, Primarc Realty has recently initiated environment-friendly, Green buildings across MIG (Middle Income Group) and HIG (High Income Group) segments in Bengal, with its flagship project Astitva being pre-certified by IGBC (Indian Green Building Council)as Gold-rated residential building. Also, Godrej Waterside IT Park in Kolkata is IGBC Gold-certified Green building. Infinity Benchmark in Kolkata is also IGBC Platinum certified Green building. At RP-SanjivGoenka Group we have taken up a drive to convert some of our important establishments into certified Green buildings. CESC House, the headquarters of CESC Ltd and also an 83-year-old landmark heritage building of Kolkata, is the first heritage building in India to be LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold certified by USGBC (US Green Building Council). We are currently working on upgrading it to LEED Platinum. Also, Quest Mall, the first luxury mall of eastern India is now the first IGBC Platinum-rated mall under IGBC Existing Building Rating System.So, we may conclude that there has been increase in Green development in eastern India with more and more awareness and knowledge spreading (in the region).

CESC House 1
CESC House

 

What encouraged the group to introduce Green interventions in their existing projects? 

Chandak:RP-SanjivGoenka group is one of the youngest business groups of India. It is most proactive in welcoming new-age changes and innovation into businesses. The Green building revolution at RP-SanjivGoenka is one such example.It was my personal passion for sustainability and innovation that led me to introduce it to the group. Our chairman, SanjivGoenka, who believes in doing small things to add value to property, welcomed this idea with open arms. It was felt that such a practice would not only make our businesses sustainable and reduce our carbon footprint but also enhance our image as a responsible corporate citizen of the world. With this view in mind, the group ventured into its first Green building project and converted CESC House into a certified Green building. The success of CESC house paved the way for some other important group establishments like Quest Mall, Woodlands Hospital, IMIs (Kolkata, Delhi & Bhubaneswar), Factories (CESC & PCBL), key Spencer’s stores, Saregama office and key FSL BPO offices to come under the canopy of Green buildings. Quest Mall is now rated IGBC Platinum under IGBC existing building rating system while the work is already in progress in some of the other buildings mentioned.

2(Green) practice would not only make our businesses sustainable and reduce our carbon footprint but also enhance our image as a responsible corporate citizen of the world.

Walk us through the sustainable changes made in your projects.

Chandak: At CESC House, when it comes to HVAC and Building Operations, we found that the building was initially equipped with an HVAC system that was running at 30-40% lower efficiency than the current energy efficient ones. The chiller plant pumps (three primary pumps and three condenser pumps) were also replaced with energy efficient ones.Building Automation System (BAS) was incorporated into the operations by installing 40 energy meters that has helped to reduce lead-time in rectifying errors. The building was also equipped with 12 Variable Frequency Drives (VFDs). A chiller plant manager was also placed to control and monitor the HVAC system. HVAC set point was set to two degrees higher to reduce energy consumption. For lighting and lighting controls, we replaced around 1,200 36W tube lights with 28W T-5 tube lights. Around 500+ LED lamps were installed in the common areas. We also installed lamps of 60 lux level and occupancy sensors in cabins to control lighting. Use of natural daylight was optimised insome of the office cabins and corridors of the building. Additionally we used SRI paint on roof to reduce heat absorption in the building – which invariably reduces the load on HVAC. Solar water heater in pantry, energy-efficient exhaust fans and use of star-rated appliances were some of the other changes made in the building. In order to achieve water efficiency, the water in the cooling tower is now monitored online to ensure that there is no wastage and water is used efficiently. All taps in the building were replaced with low flow faucets that further reduced water consumption.

At Woodlands Multi-specialty Hospital Ltd, we retrofitted the HVAC system (chillers, pumps etc), replaced existing lights with LED lights, installed occupancy sensors and solar rooftop, improved the waste management and made considerable Green purchases.

At Quest Mall, we managed to get the lowest possible EPI* (260) compared to IGBC EB standards through efficient building design and operation of systems. The mall has a 55kW solar PV on roof besides a robust energy-monitoring system.Eco-friendly refrigerants are being used. We have also ensured use of eco-friendly fertiliser for the landscape and eco-friendly housekeeping chemicals. Heat reflective materials have been used on the roof and non-roof areas. Along with better waste management practices, we conduct regular building system maintenance and audits. Efficient water fixtures in the mall conserve more than 50% water compared to conventional buildings. And 100% of the wastewater is treated and reused. We have also incorporated rainwater harvesting and water efficient landscape design. To maintain better health and comfort, we have ensured provision of fresh air for all spaces; thermal comfort design and monitoring systems have been engaged and we have also maintained a strictly no-smoking building policy. The mall is also equipped with many facilities for disabled.

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Quest Mall

What improvements have you noticed in the functioning of these projects ever since?
Chandak:
The Green building projects have benefited the group in many ways. Our buildings have achieved energy efficiency through the use/retrofitting of energy-efficient HVAC systems, LED lighting, building automation, SRI paints, occupancy sensors etc. In CESC House, we have achieved 25-30% savings in the building’s energy consumption annually. Also, the EPI value of Quest Mall stands at 226kWh/m2/year, which reflects that the building is highly energy efficient compared to shopping malls in similar climates. We have also started reducing our dependence on conventional energy. Some of our buildings have been equipped with solar panels. A part of the energy requirement of these buildings are met through renewable sources. Quest Mall has installed 55kw solar rooftop. Rooftop solar panels have also been finalised for Woodland’s hospital and some of our other establishments like the RP-SG tower, Chakmir substation, IMI Kolkata etc. Our buildings are also water efficient. CESC House alone saves three lakh litres of water per year. Rainwater harvesting and 100% reuse of treated wastewater at Quest Mall contributes immensely to water savings annually for the group.

Green Buildings have enabled us to declare some of our buildings as 100% No Smoking buildings. The indoor air quality and building occupants’ health have improved. Green buildings have added value to our properties and brands. We have been able to build a culture of sustainable practices within the group through our Green building projects. As a result of which, we make Green purchases, have incorporated practices like justified use of paper and other resources, waste management, outstanding Green Education program through display of green education messages on large LED display screen (12’x8’) in Quest Mall, green education posters in CESC House, Green education pamphlets along with CESC customer bills and in several other places. We believe that, this program has the potential to bring in a positive change on environmental awareness for millions people across the city.

EPI: Energy performance index

Eastern India’s Green Conquest

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Recently at an event, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a statement that probably holds more than a grain of truth. He said that the development of eastern parts of the country is essential for the overall progress of India – and we couldn’t agree more. However, for this development to be holistic and beneficial to the local populace, it has to be intrinsically Green. Eastern India could stand as a sustainable model for the rest of the country to follow, if the urban developments in cities like Kolkata and upcoming new cities in the region adopt exemplary sustainable measures. Given the recent developments in Green policies and also interest from international agencies to partner with the local government, this sustainable future can soon turn into a reality.

States like West Bengal are nurturing many opportunities for Green development, take for example its Green Cities Mission which plans to give six of the state’s upcoming townships and cities a Green label. The state government is also nudging large-scale residential projects – covering 2 lakh square feet or more- to seek Green approval before starting construction. Compared to western and southern India, this part of the country has fewer certified Green buildings to its credit – however, this could change given the new measures being implemented. Hopefully, there will not only be more certified Green buildings and projects to show for in Eastern India but also an accurate implementation of Green policies that rises above superficial adaptations.

Government incentives will be catalysts to the sustainable change desired in this region. In India, ‘Green floor space’ accounts for only 3-5% of all construction. In comparison, in the United Kingdom, where Green buildings evolved almost two decades ago, around 40% of all buildings fall in this category, while in the United States, it is around 30%.To encourage upcoming projects to adopt Green principles, the state of West Bengal provides 10% additional FAR (Floor Area Ratio) for Green building, as per the provision under rule 69A, notified by the Kolkata Municipal Corporation. The government is also being cautious of any misuse of such policies and wants to ensure a transparent process.

Kolkata - City of Joy
Kolkata – City of Joy

For a widespread growth in sustainability in these regions,the practice of building Green needs to become mandatory as opposed to an isolated incident – for which Government intervention will be key. The New Town Kolkata Development Authority (NTKDA)is setting the standard by making it mandatory for all commercial and residential multi-storied complexes in the township, like schools, colleges, hospitals and others, to install solar rooftop panels that will meet at least 2% of the entire building’s electrical load requirement. NTKDA also set up the country’s first floating solar power plant early last year, which shows promise for developing land neutral solar technology in other regions too.

With greater awareness and systematic execution of current plans and policies, eastern India could lead the way in making the country 100% sustainable. But the expectation doesn’t rest on new projects alone, existing buildings need to undergo Green transformation too. This will not only reduce its carbon footprint but help occupants to function better. Leading by example is the RP-SanjivGoenka Group in Kolkata and we interview them in our Walk the Talk section about achieving Green certification for their existing buildings, the benefits of such a move and the sustainable future of cities like Kolkata. Read about it here.

Walk the Talk with Anil Khar

THINK - Down to earth

In our Walk the Talk section, Anil Khar, senior project manager at Cushman & Wakefield,  vouches for the proficiency of Energy Metering and monitoring and tells us how it has helped their organisation to be energy smart.

What encouraged you to consider energy metering and monitoring?
Anil Khar: Energy metering is the very important tool for better facility management. The accurate monitoring and recording of energy usage of each equipment provides us a road map for better facility management of the building. Metering each client helps us to bill our customers and generate revenues in an undisputable manner. Also the losses can be tapped and reduced. Cost allocation by measuring the energy consumed at different point on the network helps users gain an opportunity to take ownership of their energy costs at the appropriate level in the organisation. This helps drive behavioural changes and lower costs.

Mr Anil Khar Anil Khar, senior project…

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