Please tell us about yourself
It has been an exciting time for Sneha Jain, who’s pursuing a Master of Science in Building Sciences at IIIT Hyderabad. After all, she has been awarded an internship that will allow her to work at the prestigious Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) or Berkeley Lab, USA, for a period of six months. The BHAVAN (Building Energy Efficiency Higher And Advanced Network) internship was presented to 12 students from across India in a collaborative effort between the Government of India, Department of Science and Technology and the IUSSTF (Indo-US Science and Technology Forum), and Sneha is one among them.
As she gets ready for the trip, she says, “I am quite excited about both the opportunity and the prospect of going to the US for the first time. Before leaving in mid-February, I decided to spend time with my family in my hometown, Neemuch, Madhya Pradesh.”
Tell us about your work
Of the 12 students selected for the internship across India, Sneha’s research on strategies to minimize glare and overheating in buildings especially due to the emerging trend of glass facades, has given her the opportunity to intern under the guidance of Christian Kohler, who is the head of Building Technology department at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL). Mr. Kohler, who incidentally visited IIIT-Hyderabad last year, has spent the last two decades on research in improving building energy efficiency using state-of-the-art intelligent facade and daylighting technologies integrated with lighting controls and HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) systems.
What did you study?
After attaining a Bachelor’s Degree in Architecture from NIT Bhopal, 25-year-old Sneha worked for a year before deciding to pursue her masters. She shares that enrolling in IIIT Hyderabad was one of the best decisions ever. “I love the institution because the atmosphere here is that of encouragement, which pushes you to be the best version of yourself. What more does one need?” says the student who is presently researching on strategies to minimise glare and overheating, alongside saving energy in buildings with glass facades.
How did you end up in such an offbeat, unconventional and cool career?
Hailing from Neemuch in Madhya Pradesh, 25-year-old Sneha was encouraged and in turn drawn towards academia from the very start by her father, a school principal. After obtaining her Bachelor in Architecture, when most of her peers plunged headlong into the designing of buildings, Sneha naturally veered towards the research aspects of technical performance of buildings. Luckily for her, the search for a specialized niche course in IT for sustainable buildings research ended at IIIT-Hyderabad. “It is an interdisciplinary course that includes elements of construction technology, illumination engineering, architecture, meteorology, sustainable building, and heat and mass transport physics”, says Sneha, going on to add that there are very few institutes in India that offer such a thing.
How does your work benefit the community?
As she prepares for her trip to California, Sneha is looking forward to this opportunity of developing industry solutions for the daylight controls which will be beneficial to both India and US. She says, “I hope that I can foster a mutually beneficial and intellectually rewarding relationship with host institute and bring back my learning to be added to present knowledge in Indian academia and hopefully in technology transfer”.
Commending her achievement, Prof Vishal Garg, Head at Building Science Research Centre, IIIT-Hyderabad and Sneha’s thesis advisor said, “This is a prestigious internship in the area of Building Energy Efficiency. This will give Sneha an excellent opportunity to work with the leading group in the area of daylighting controls at Berkeley Lab. These visits play a very important role in our research collaborations. I am glad that Sneha is selected for this internship.”
Your future plans?
“The reason I took up the research was because, in a growing trend in the country, most buildings are being designed with glass facades. The problem is very relevant to our country today and I have read a lot of literature on the subject that has piqued my interest,” she reasons.
Sneha is also quite delighted to have the opportunity to work under the guidance of Christian Kohler, the head of the Building Technology department at LBNL, who has spent around two decades researching on techniques to improve building energy efficiency using state-of-the-art intelligent facade and day-lighting technologies integrated with lighting controls and HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) systems. “It will be wonderful to be able to work with experienced individuals alongside having the best of labs and facilities,” shares Sneha, who plans on pursuing a PhD soon after this internship.
The youngster is very thankful to Prof. Vishal Garg, Head, Building Science Research Centre, IIIT-Hyderabad, for his constant support.
“While I already had big plans for this project that I have taken up, his encouragement has been paramount in aiming big. We have come up with a proposal and I can’t wait to see how it goes once I reach there and begin work,” she concludes on an excited note.