States Leading on Energy Efficient Buildings in India

The first building code compliance system in India to go online has paved the way for other states to follow. Telangana’s online Energy Conservation Building Code (ECBC)  launched in Hyderabad in December 2017 and now the state of Andhra Pradesh is marking another milestone.

The online ECBC systems ensure compliance with energy efficiency codes and streamlines building approvals for new commercial buildings and major retrofits. The energy efficiency building code framework and online system in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh were nearly eight years in the making and are the result of a collaboration among city and state officials, the Administrative Staff College of India, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and other partners.

Both systems are huge developments in making India’s building sector more energy efficient.

Scaling to Major Cities in Telangana

Telangana, a leader in adoption and launch of the ECBC is now poised to scale this further. At the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco, Principal Secretary Arvind Kumar of the Telangana Government announced that all major cities in the state of Telangana would adopt energy conservation building codes and online compliance systems by 2020.

Fortunately, Telangana has reached this goal early. Now all major cities in Telangana have launched online building code compliance systems for energy efficiency. NRDC and partners will continue to work with the state as it scales its ambition to lock in energy savings through the implementation of energy codes.

Building greener buildings and creating healthy communities are tangible and achievable measures we can implement today for a safer tomorrow across India. The Telangana success story offers important lessons and will go a long way in encouraging other cities and states in incorporating ECBC in their building approval system, as they move towards a more sustainable built environment.

Green Buildings Reduce Climate Emissions

Energy efficiency reduces climate pollution and is critical to India achieving its climate targets. India’s energy demand is expected to double by 2030 and energy efficiency will have a major role to play in managing this demand. Buildings account for more than 30% of India’s electricity consumption, and the total built-up space in the country is growing at a tremendous rate. Building energy codes are effective tools for ensuring energy efficiency in the construction and operation of buildings.

When fully operational, the Energy Conservation Building Code could deliver 86 terawatt hours of cumulative energy savings for Telangana and Andhra Pradesh by 2030. That’s enough to power up to 8.9 million Indian households annually over the next 17 years based on current energy consumption levels, according to NRDC and ASCI analysis.

Nationally, the picture is equally compelling. If states across India adopted the energy code, cumulative savings by 2030 could reach as high as 1,254 terawatts of saved electricity—enough to power 130 million Indian homes annually until 2030, based on current consumption rates for homes with electricity. With greater participating in rating programs, that number could be as high as 3,453 terawatts, or 358 million Indian homes between 2014 and 2030.

National Energy Conservation Week

To promote efficient and optimal use of energy, the Energy Conservation Mission, a wing of The Institution of Engineers (India), Telangana State Centre organized the “National Energy Conservation Week” in Hyderabad this month.

During the Energy Conservation Week, NRDC and ASCI released an updated case study “Getting Cities Climate-Ready”.  The case study prepared with local and national level organisations highlights the pioneering work by the state of Telangana and Hyderabad in implementing a ground breaking online compliance system for the ECBC. The case study also provides a framework for states to formulate energy efficiency building codes and compliance systems. The updated publication highlights two landmark developments: the launch of the ECBC online compliance system in Andhra Pradesh, and the scaling of the ECBC online compliance system to other cities in Telangana.

Looking ahead to 2019, NRDC and partners plan to continue implementing the pioneering system in Hyderabad and then work with key stakeholders to expand  it to several Indian cities and states. Through more energy efficient buildings, cities across India can be transformed to meet energy demand, build healthy communities, and fight climate change.

Recognizing Telangana and Andhra Pradesh Achievements in Efficiency at Conservation Awards. December 2019.

ASCI.

“India has made a commitment to contribute to global efforts to cut down carbon emissions. The State of Telangana and the City of Hyderabad will do our part. We are committed to energy efficient buildings and developing a sustainable city that protects our communities and grows our internationally based economy.”

—Minister K.T. Rao Municipal Administration and Urban Development, Telangana State

“With the growing Indian economy, the real estate market is expected to grow by leaps and bounds. Developers in the country need to seize this opportunity and incorporate energy efficient measures in their projects. This will ensure an energy-smart future for our cities. In this endeavour, States have to play a critical role by moulding investments in taking energy efficient measures. A multi pronged approach has to be adopted through incentives, mandates and robust building codes leading to overall energy and cost savings.”

—Shri S K Joshi Chief Secretary, Telangana State

“The expansion in adopting and deploying energy efficient technologies is a key element in India’s efforts to combat climate change. It also serves the purpose of driving a holistic socio-economic growth. Electricity saved drive cost savings, which can in turn be utilised for enabling wider access to electricity.”

—Mr. Abhay Bakre Director General, Bureau of Energy Efficiency, Ministry of Power, Government of India

“Hyderabad is pioneering a system for online energy code compliance that can potentially be a role model as several Indian cities continue to grow at a rapid pace while striving to meet energy demand.”

—Principal Secretary Arvind Kumar Municipal Administration and Urban Development for the Telangana State

“Energy efficient buildings make business sense. The incremental cost of green buildings, if any is, around 3% which can be recovered in two or three years by means of a reduction in operational cost.”

—Chairman, South, C Shekar Reddy, Indian Green Building Council

“As a pioneer in accelerating green building concepts in the country, IGBC has already facilitated 6.33 Billion sq.ft of green footprint in the country, a journey that began in Hyderabad with the GBC building. Hyderabad’s online compliance system for ECBC buildings is a scalable and replicable model to advance green buildings for other cities and states across India.”

—V Suresh Chairman, Indian Green Building Council

“A robust code compliance framework has emerged in Hyderabad and Telangana, as a result of significant effort from the state and city administration. It can have a profound impact, providing a simplified and ‘hi-tech’ approach to building modern India.”

—Professor Rajkiran Bilolikar, ASCI

“This is revolutionary for building construction in India. They’ll be designed smart from the start. That will enable them to save energy, reduce pollution and build healthier communities. This is the first city—but there will be more—to put energy efficiency savings into action that works for developers, the city and the community.”

—Anjali Jaiswal, NRDC India Director

About the Authors

Prima Madan

Senior Advocate, Cooling and Efficiency, India, International Program

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