Dr. Chandrashekar Hariharan

Dr. Chandrashekar Hariharan is an economist who turned to business in the mid-1980s. He has presided over projects on water, energy and green buildings for over 25 years. He heads Biodiversity Conservation India, known more popularly as the ZED group for its ‘zero energy development solutions’.

He is chairperson for a clutch of organizations at the 500-crore ZED group which is the largest [and the earliest] green homes builder in India, currently creating 1.5 million sq.ft of ‘zero energy developed’ homes.

The Zed group is also making forays into ‘green white goods’ that offer stunning savings with refrigerators, fans, air-conditioners, induction stoves that work at a staggering 60-70% less energy than the regular. Zed Sun home-energy generators bring on-grid and off-grid localized power solutions that extend to small offices, too. Zed Foundation, dedicated to deep-eco applied research, is looking at skill sets training for construction workers and farmer-entrepreneurs.

In Feb 2010, he was conferred the distinguished Udyog Rattan Award for Excellence by the Institute of Economic Studies, New Delhi. The Week magazine chose him last year to be among ’30 Indian Pearls’ to commemorate their 30th anniversary. The Builders’ Association of India conferred its Distinguished Green Builder Extraordinaire award on him in Jan 2012. Personally, he sees himself as having failed. The one reason, he believes, is that people don't appear to want as much for themselves as he wants for them.

He has been driving initiatives at the Indian Green Building Council. Over the last decade, he has served as consultant for governments of Uttaranchal, Kerala and Nagaland on eco-conscious tourism infrastructure and environment policies, apart from serving as consultant for urban water supply and sanitation development for the Manila-based Asian Development Bank. He has also consulted on energy practices for the Paris-based ADEME, and EU institution for promoting energy efficiency in buildings.

His wife Prof. Kanchan Kaur is Vice Dean of the Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media, Bangalore. Son Nirvikalpa is a film-maker, documenting the damage to micro environments across India.