Building a Better Future in India, Piloting a Building Energy Saving Online Compliance System in Hyderabad

As temperatures soar across India, energy demand surges. Peak demand for electricity to power cooling, such as conditioning and fans, is increasing in cities like Hyderabad. In Telangana, where Hyderabad is located, peak demand is growing at a rapid clip. In the last two months, demand has grown from 6,700 megawatts (MW) in March to 7,200 MW in April, with the highest peak demand reaching 9,000 MW. Hyderabad and the state of Telangana are pioneering India’s first online compliance system to ensure energy savings in buildings and reduce peak demand.

With 70 percent of the buildings that will exist in India by 2030 yet to be built, energy efficiency is a guaranteed solution that can lock in energy savings for years to come. Recognizing that the power grid is already strained by an energy deficit that includes the huge growth of energy-intensive buildings, officials in leading states are seeking ways to save energy. Taking the lead on energy savings, the states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh adopted mandatory energy conservation building codes for commercial buildings in 2014, applicable to both states after bifurcation. The Administrative Staff College of India (ASCI) and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) worked with state and city officials as knowledge partners to develop and adopt the code.

Today, the Greater Hyderabad Mayor Bonthu Ram Mohan and Municipal Commissioner Janardhan Reddy, as well as, the Telangana state’s Municipal Administration & Urban Development (MAUD) department announced an online system for city-wide compliance that can be scaled across the state and country. 

“I am focused on how to use technical and non-technical solutions to save energy in Hyderabad. Community awareness, technology, implementation with capacity building, incentives and enforcement are the key steps.”

            -Hyderabad Municipal Commissioner Janardhan Reddy

Our new fact sheet, Building A Better Future: Implementing the Energy-Saving Building Code in Hyderabad, describes the new system. The strategy for code compliance was designed and built with extensive input from stakeholders, including real estate developers and architects, and was piloted in Hyderabad.

A Strategy for Code Implementation

Led by MAUD’s Technical Committee on the Energy Conservation Building Code (ECBC), Telangana state and Hyderabad have developed a three-pronged strategy for effective implementation of the code, including awareness and capacity building; integration with the building approval process, and technical and expert support.

Awareness and capacity building

To increase capacity, over 350 architects, engineers, and experts have received energy efficiency conservation building code training in both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. Telangana State, ASCI, NRDC along with experts at Indian Institute of Information Technology (IIIT) have also conducted several workshops to increase capacity among builders, designers, engineers, architects, and other stakeholders on the provisions of the code and the compliance process. The state government has also launched a “Certification Program” to create a pool of 100 ECBC experts as third party assessors in Telangana to augment the technical capacity on code compliance. To raise greater awareness among real estate developers, architects, building occupants and key stakeholders, Telangana is advertising in newspapers and trade publications about the energy saving building code requirements.

Integrating ECBC with building approval forms and processes

Telangana is developing an online building approval system to streamline the process for owners and builders, and fast track building approvals across the state. The MAUD Technical Committee in Telangana State have reviewed and examined the existing building approval forms to identify and integrate ECBC compliance requirements. The online system is being fine tuned to integrate ECBC compliance provisions in a seamless manner. Once fully operational, the online system can be replicated in local bodies across the state, and beyond, thus rapidly scaling up ECBC implementation.

Technical and expert support

Soft Launch of Hyderabad Online ECBC System with Mayor Bonthu Ram Mohan ASCI

Telangana has created an ECBC Technical Cell to provide technical and expert support to initial building projects on specific aspects of the code and develop resources such as “Frequently Asked Questions”. The cell includes representatives from ASCI, NRDC and IIIT Hyderabad and is focused on working with developers in the initial ECBC eligible projects in Hyderabad directly, and operationalize and improve the process for future applications.

Accelerating energy efficiency while India experiences skyrocketing growth in its buildings market provides a huge opportunity to reduce peak demand and generate energy savings that translate directly to financial savings. The reduced demand for energy also has public health benefits, combats climate change, and closes the widening gap between India’s energy production and demand. Armed with these tools, India can transform its cities to become leaders in efficient resource use and become true smart cities.

About the Authors

Anjali Jaiswal

Senior Attorney and Director, India Initiative

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