Indian State of Andhra Pradesh Adopts Energy Conservation Building Code, Becoming a National Leader in Building Efficiency

Commercial and Public Buildings Expected to Cut Costs and Slash Energy Use by 40-60%

HYDERABAD (January 27, 2014) – Andhra Pradesh, India’s fourth-largest state, announced today that it will adopt an Energy Conservation Building Code (ECBC) for large commercial and public buildings and major retrofits.  The ECBC is expected to dramatically reduce energy consumption by as much as 40-60%, increase electricity reliability, and enable consumers to save money.  In fact, adopting the code in Andhra Pradesh could save the amount of energy by 2030 that’s needed to power 8.9 million Indian households annually over that time frame, according to a new analysis by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Administrative Staff College of India (ASCI).

“Improving building efficiency presents a huge opportunity for developers, investors, building tenants and the country as a whole,” said Anjali Jaiswal, director of NRDC’s India Initiative and senior attorney. “Today’s buildings in India use one third of the nation’s electricity and the total number of buildings there is expected to triple by 2030. Implementing building energy efficiency standards will drive much needed sustainable growth, cut costs and save energy for Andhra Pradesh and India.”

The Energy Conservation Building Code will establish minimum energy efficiency requirements for the design and construction of new commercial buildings and for major retrofits.  The code is expected to translate into substantial energy savings and to create more resilient communities as India faces the growing threat of climate change. Andhra Pradesh’s innovative adaptation of the ECBC makes it the most comprehensive and rigorous code adopted by an Indian state to date.

“Energy conservation is fundamental to supporting the economic development of our state,” said Chief Secretary P.K. Mohanty, Chief Secretary of Andhra Pradesh. “The Energy Conservation Building Code is a critical step to saving energy.”

New Analysis Shows Energy Savings and Air Pollution Reduction

According to a new analysis from NRDC and ASCI’s issue brief, Building Efficient Cities: Strengthening the Indian Real Estate Market Through Codes and Incentives, minimal code compliance by commercial buildings in Andhra Pradesh (40% complying with the ECBC, 5% exceeding the code) translates into 86 terawatt hours of cumulative energy saved by 2030, enough to power as many as 8.9 million Indian households per year over the next 17 years based on the current level of annual energy consumption. Even more impressive, if states across India adopted the Energy Conservation Building Code and developers participated in strong programs for rating commercial buildings, an estimated 3,453 terawatt hours of cumulative electricity could be saved by 2030 – this is equivalent to powering 358 million Indian homes annually between 2014 and 2030 based on current annual consumption levels for electrified homes. Additionally, 1,184 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions could be avoided by 2030 – equivalent to the annual emissions from more than 17 typical coal-fired power plants over that same time period.

Several of the green buildings in Hyderabad, such as the Confederation of Indian Industries-India Green Building Centre and the Infosys campus, demonstrate the payback potential of energy efficiency. NRDC and ASCI’s case study of the Godrej Bhavan energy efficiency retrofit in Mumbai, supported in part by Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation, shows the huge financial savings potential in energy efficiency upgrades and a remarkably low payback period of less than five years.

More about the ECBC

After more than a year of technical review and extensive stakeholder consultation with real estate developers and experts, Andhra Pradesh has formally adopted the ECBC into state law. After the code becomes effective in August 2014, the innovative framework includes phased-in implementation that will require compliance after training workshops and awareness building among municipal officers and real estate developers.

“We are encouraged by the leadership demonstrated by the Andhra Pradesh government not only in adopting this energy efficient building code, but also the state’s approach to ensuring compliance,” said Srinivas Chary Vedala, dean of the Administrative Staff College of India.  “The upcoming training workshops show the government is taking implementation seriously and that this code adoption is not just a paper exercise. BEE’s unwavering support of this effort has also been inspiring.”

The code allows for flexibility in implementation by offering a Prescriptive Method, which provides a list of requirements for code compliance, and a Whole Building Performance Method, which uses architectural design software to optimize the buildings energy performance while minimizing costs. Having the option of either method gives developers, architects and designers the ability to respond to changing technologies and prices over time.

The ECBC calls for the use of energy-saving CFLs and LED lights, more natural lighting, more efficient electrical systems and solar water heaters.  All are simple technologies proven to save money and energy, while optimizing the comfort of building occupants. The ECBC was originally developed by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) in 2007 and made voluntary for states. In Andhra Pradesh, it was approved by a government steering committee made up of developers, builders and efficiency experts, as well as ASCI, the Indian Institutes of Information Technology and NRDC. Training workshops are scheduled to commence in March of this year.

The full issue brief, Building Efficient Cities: Strengthening the Indian Real Estate Market Through Codes and Incentives, supported in part by Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation, can be found online here:

Read more about India’s energy efficiency and clean energy progress in NRDC’s India Initiative blogs: