Hyderabad Pioneers Online Energy Conservation Building Code Certification, Becoming National Efficiency Leader

HYDERABAD, INDIA – In a major advance for clean energy, Hyderabad leaders today unveiled India’s first mandatory compliance system that builders can use to meet a groundbreaking city energy efficiency building code, a model other fast-growing Indian cities can seize upon to save consumers money while reducing harmful air pollution and dangerous power outages.

Hyderabad, the booming high-tech capital of Telangana, India’s 12th largest state, is pioneering the energy code compliance system through online building approvals. It requires that all new commercial and public buildings, and major retrofits, be certified as complying with the state’s Energy Conservation Building Code before construction begins. Plans are underway to expand the online system across Telangana, and eventually to other states. 

The energy code sets minimum energy efficiency standards that real estate developers must meet through various technologies, such as energy-efficient windows, lighting, building materials, ventilation, landscape orientation, heating and cooling systems and overall design in their building projects. Locking in energy efficiency savings is a key way India can meet its skyrocketing energy demand in its growing cities.

“This is revolutionary for building construction in India,” said Anjali Jaiswal, India Project Director at the Natural Resources Defense Council, which works in India on clean energy initiatives. “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.”

The online certification system—similar to one in New York City—was unveiled at the Institution of Engineers Auditorium in Hyderabad during India’s National Energy Conservation Week-2017.

“As India’s economy and real estate market continue to grow, builders need to incorporate energy efficient measures into their construction projects to ensure an energy-smart future for our cities,” said Principal Secretary Navin Mittal, Municipal Administration and Urban Development Department for Telangana, who kicked off the unveiling. “States play a critical role to motivate the market’s investment in energy efficiency through incentives, mandates and strong state building codes that enable stakeholders to capitalize on available energy and cost savings.”

Hyderabad, home to Google, Microsoft, Oracle, Cisco, FedEx, Infosys, Tata Consultancy Services, and Wipro, has in recent years recognized the need for energy smart buildings to meet its growing energy needs.

In 2014, the recently-split states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, which currently share Hyderabad as their capital city, adopted a tailored version of the Energy Conservation Building Code (ECBC).

The Administrative Staff College of India (ASCI) and NRDC have worked with local and state officials to develop the code, guide through its adoption and advise on setting up the online certification system.

“Hyderabad’s implementation of the energy code will generate significant energy savings and lays a strong foundation for it to be the leading energy efficient city in India and inspire other cities to follow its example,” said Nehmat Kaur of NRDC, who spoke at the event.

Backers say the online ECBC certification process for owners and builders can be used to fast-track building approvals across Telangana. This online system, which replaces an outmoded paper certification, can be replicated in other cities in Telangana, and beyond in India, enabling a rapid expansion of energy building code implementation—and the savings that will generate.

“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,” said Municipal Commissioner Janardhan Reddy, Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation.

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.

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.

“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. It can show the way to scale up efforts in India’s fast growing and energy-strapped cities—especially considering that nearly two thirds of the buildings that will be built by 2030 have yet to be built—capitalizing on energy efficiency,” said Professor Rajkiran Bilolikar of the Administrative Staff College of India in Hyderabad.

New Telangana ECBC Resource Guide highlighting resources for implementing the ECBC for commercial buildings in Telangana State, including FAQs, guidelines, fact sheets, issue briefs, case studies, and more is here: https://www.nrdc.org/resources/building-efficient-cities-strengthening-indian-real-estate-market-through-codes-and

A blog by Anjali Jaiswal and Nehmat Kaur is here: https://www.nrdc.org/experts/anjali-jaiswal

A new video featuring NRDC energy expert David Goldstein on the online tool is here, and a shorter, 5-minute version of the video is here.


The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international non-profit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world’s natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, Montana, and Beijing. Visit us at www.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC. NRDC’s India Initiative on Climate Change and Clean Energy, launched in 2009, works with partners in India to help build a low-carbon, sustainable economy. Twitter @NRDC_India.

Related Press Releases