A rapidly urbanising and aspirational India is on the trajectory of fast-paced growth. This growth comes bundled with unique challenges that range from managing peak energy demand, heat-stress health implications, and pollution, to name just a few. Additionally, India is on the brink of becoming the world’s second largest emitter of greenhouse gases. To meet its Nationally Determined Contribution, Sustainable Development Goals commitment, policy makers in India need to put in place innovative mechanisms, across sectors. Collaboration amongst all key players will also play a vital role to better manage critical issues that have broad ecological and energy implications.
The buildings sector in India is experiencing an unprecedented growth, in tandem with rapid urbanisation. This sector alone accounts for over 30 percent of India’s total electricity consumption. By conservative estimates, India is building 300,000 sq. ft of commercial floor space every day, and will witness one of the largest commercial and residential construction boom over the next two decades. India is at a strategic juncture where two-thirds of the commercial and high-rise residential structures that will exist in 2030 are yet to be built. The growth is driven largely by the country’s on-going economic and social transitions. Indian cities alone will host 200 million more people by 2030 – a rising urban population with aspirations of an improved quality of life. Largely reflected in their work-spaces, the homes they stay in and the electrical appliances they use.
This, collectively, would pose a staggering burden on India’s energy requirement. Under this backdrop, optimising energy efficiency in buildings that are being constructed over the next two decades, and in electrical appliances, thus assumes great significance and import. With adequate and visionary planning, the growing requirement can be met by effectively addressing the energy-guzzling nature of the buildings and appliances sector. This, in turn, can be realised by making energy efficiency a prime pillar in the country’s long-term growth planning.
This is the time for all stakeholders to come together to safeguard energy availability in India for the future. The movement has already begun. The Indian government has already put in place the Energy Conservation Building Code in 2007, with a version 2 being launched very recently. Aiming to limit growing electricity demand, the government also introduced the National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency (NMEEE). A key component of this mission is an accelerated shift to energy efficient appliances. The Bureau of Energy Efficiency launched the Standards and Labelling programme in 2006 to help customers make informed choices about the energy-savings potential of household appliances.