Academic journal article Current Politics and Economics of Northern and Western Asia

Building Energy Efficiency in India: Compliance Evaluation of Energy Conservation Building Code *

Academic journal article Current Politics and Economics of Northern and Western Asia

Building Energy Efficiency in India: Compliance Evaluation of Energy Conservation Building Code *

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

India is experiencing an unprecedented construction boom. The country doubled its floorspace between 2001 and 2005 and is expected to add 35 billion m2 of new buildings by 2050 (Shnapp and Laustsen, 2013). Buildings account for 35% of total final energy consumption in India today, and building energy use is growing at 8% annually (Rawal et al., 2012). Studies have shown that carbon policies will have little effect on reducing building energy demand (Chaturvedi et al., 2014; Yu et al., 2014). Chaturvedi et al. (2014) predicted that, if there are no specific sectoral policies to curb building energy use, final energy demand of the Indian building sector will grow over five times by the end of this century, driven by rapid income and population growth. The growing energy demand in buildings is accompanied by a transition from traditional biomass to commercial fuels, particularly an increase in electricity use. This also leads to a rapid increase in carbon emissions and aggravates power shortages in India. Growth in building energy use poses a challenge for the Indian government.

To curb energy consumption in buildings, the Indian government issued the Energy Conservation Building Code (ECBC) in 2007, which applies to commercial buildings with a connected load of 100 kW or 120kVA. Previous studies estimated that the implementation of ECBC could help save 25-40% of energy, compared to reference buildings without such energy-efficiency measures (IEEMA, 2007; Tulsyan et al., 2013). However, the impact of ECBC depends on the effectiveness of its enforcement and compliance. Currently, the majority of buildings in India are not ECBC-compliant. The United Nations Development Programme projected that code compliance in India would reach 35% by 2015 and 64% by 2017 (UNDP, 2011). Whether the projected targets can be achieved depends on how the code enforcement system is designed and implemented.

Although the development of ECBC lies in the hands of the national government - the Bureau of Energy Efficiency under the Ministry of Power, the adoption and implementation of ECBC largely relies on state and local governments. Six years after ECBC's enactment, only two states and one territory out of 35 Indian states and union territories formally adopted ECBC and six additional states are in the legislative process of approving ECBC (BEE, 2013). There are several barriers that slow down the process. First, stakeholders, such as architects, developers, and state and local governments, lack awareness of building energy efficiency, and do not have enough capacity and resources to implement ECBC. Second, most jurisdictions have not yet established effective legal mechanisms for implementing ECBC; specifically, ECBC is not included in local building by-laws in most jurisdictions or incorporated into the building permitting process. Third, there is not a systematic approach to measuring and verifying compliance and energy savings, and thus the market does not have enough confidence in ECBC.

Previous studies and reports have addressed the first and second barriers. Kumar et al. (2010), Rawal et al. (2012), and Williams and Levine (2012) identified implementation strategies to improve capacity and remove institutional barriers. The study by Yu et al. (2012) and the Administrative StaffCollege of India and the Natural Resources Defense Council (2012) provided suggestions on motivating stakeholders and implementing ECBC at the state level. Yu et al. (2013) and the Shakti Foundation (2013) proposed using third-party inspectors to help states build capacity and roll out ECBC implementation rapidly. However, none of the previous studies provides solutions on how to evaluate ECBC compliance and associated energy savings. Compliance evaluation is critical. It helps build confidence in the private sector and facilitates deployment of energy efficiency technologies. In addition, compliance evaluation can help roll out implementation, as state and local governments can prioritize areas for enforcement and develop incentives and penalties based on evaluation results. …

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