Last week in Andhra Pradesh, I had the opportunity to visit Vijayawada, the state capital gearing up for greater energy-efficient urbanization. With support from NRDC and ASCI, Andhra Pradesh was one of the first states to adopt the Energy Conservation Building Code (ECBC) in 2014. The state is now making preparations to demonstrate what may be an effective compliance model that could be applied to other states in India.
Under the leadership of its energy as well as municipal administration and urban development departments, the state of Andhra Pradesh is addressing the core aspects required for ECBC compliance.
One, the state is working with key urban local bodies to incorporate ECBC requirements into all necessary systems of the building approval process. Similar to the processes undertaken in Telangana, authorities of the new Andhra Pradesh capital Amaravati, are working with ASCI and NRDC to revise building approval forms to include the ECBC. In addition to the above, Amaravati, is also in the process of developing an online ECBC compliance and building approval system to make compliance convenient for developers in the region, as I highlight here.
Mainstreaming the ECBC into the building approval forms ensures that architects and real-estate developers are able to seamlessly comply with the requirements of the code, similar to safety and environmental impact codes. The state authorities are also working to add necessary ECBC checks in the building approval checklists, making it easier for town planners and those approving the building plans, to ensure code compliance.
Two, Andhra Pradesh worked with ASCI to build capacity of urban local bodies, architects, real-estate developers and other key stakeholders in the state. Last week Andhra Pradesh’s Principal Secretary for Energy Ajay Jain called the State Energy Conservation Mission (SECM), the department responsible for compliance and NRDC and ASCI to discuss ways in which to accelerate code compliance in the state.
As an outcome of the discussion, Andhra Pradesh decided to act on the following key priorities:
- Reviving the state’s ECBC technical committee and holding quarterly meetings to check-in on progress as a way to maintain close coordination with urban local bodies to comply with the code. It was discussed that the technical committee meetings also serve as a feedback mechanism to help improve processes as compliance in the state increases.
- Undertaking an awareness drive on the ECBC to help raise awareness in private stakeholders, both supplying buildings, such as real-estate developers as well as customers that are expected to use the buildings, such as multinational corporations that are potential tenants. The Energy Secretary also highlighted that electricity distribution companies are key players that could be instrumental in code compliance.
- Briefing the state’s leadership including the Chief Minister and the Chief Secretary on the status of the ECBC as a way to highlight the state’s leadership in India’s overall goal to reduce its emissions intensity.
Implementation of the code in Andhra Pradesh is well underway. Responsibility for enforcement of building codes falls on local government bodies and key private sector stakeholders in the buildings sector. With the necessary technical knowledge, procedures, and controls in place to make the potential energy efficiency gains a reality, we look forward to further progress in Andhra Pradesh and in other states toward a sustainable energy future for India.
This blog has been co-authored with Rajkiran Bilolikar, Administrative Staff College of India, Hyderabad