Spearheading Regional Workshops on ECBC Implementation in States

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The Second Regional Workshop on ECBC Implementation in states was organised by NITI Aayog, with support from UNDP-GEF-BEE and AEEE, in Ahmedabad, on 15th and 16th of March, 2017. Attended by over 50 state government officials from Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, the workshop was undertaken to fast track implementation of Energy Conservation Building Code (ECBC). The Code aims to ensure a minimum energy performance requirement for commercial buildings and has been developed by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency, launched in 2007 at the national level. The first regional workshop was held in Chandigarh in February, covering six north-Indian states.

Mr. Anil Kumar Jain, Additional Secretary, NITI Aayog, chaired the inaugural session of the workshop. He stressed on the importance of energy savings in buildings. He added that State Governments need to be proactive in addressing the issue of energy conservation in buildings. He also highlighted the energy efficiency measures that have been taken up at the NITI Aayog building in New Delhi.

The topic is specifically important and significant for India where more than 50% of building stock that will be present in 2030 is yet to be built. It is critical that Indian Smart Cities start complying with ECBC with immediate effect, given the rapid development across the country.

While the topic of energy conservation is a subject that falls under the Energy Conservation Act, 2001, energy efficiency conservation efforts in buildings require inter-departmental coordination between energy, urban development, town-planning departments, among others.

Almost all states opined that the key challenge in rolling-out ECBC was synergising the inter-departmental efforts between the Energy and the Urban Development departments. Some recommendations:

  1. Using online tools for ease of doing business and for bringing transparency in the building design approval
  2. Taking assistance of 3rd-party technical professionals for evaluation of technical aspects, customised training and awareness creation programmes
  3. Clear delineation of roles and responsibilities of different government organisations were some of the recommendations made by government officials attending the workshop

The workshop brought into focus that the need of the hour was state specific strategies for rolling out and effective implementation of the codes. State Government representatives from Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh suggested that their states had already prepared the draft ECBC document of rules, and that, they would be notifying the same over the coming months.

Mr. Hemant Patil of Maharastra Energy Development Agency (MEDA), said, “The Third-Party Assessment model appeared to be the way forward for a quick uptake and implementation of ECBC, and could be explored and adopted by all states”.

While Gujarat, which is also in the process of developing and notifying the ECBC norms for the state, has not notified the ECBC norms, efforts have already been taken up by the state to further the cause of energy efficiency. The Chief Town Planner of Gujarat, Mr Paresh Sharma, emphasised the need for simpler and faster ECBC implementation to enable ease of doing business.

Of the four states represented, Rajasthan was the only state which has notified state specific ECBC norms way back in 2011. However, implementation of the norms in Rajasthan has remained low, largely due to the gap between the technical know-how of the energy department and the implementation agencies in the urban and town-and-country planning departments.

Presentations were also made by representatives from the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) and Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL). BEE official, Mr Arijit Sengupta, suggested that they were exploring future plans for extending the Performance Achieve Trade (PAT) for high energy consuming buildings such as hotels. EESL, which is the leading energy efficiency public sector implementation organization, offered to extend their services to the state governments for taking up up-to three large buildings for retrofitting them to convert them into energy efficient buildings using the ESCO model.

Prof Rajan Rawal, CEPT University, highlighted the role of the Third-Party Assessment (TPA) model as one of the solutions for auditing and implementing ECBC norms across states. Mr Prashant Bhanware, Buildings Energy Efficiency Program (BEEP), presented the case study of the Aranya building in Jaipur, where a post construction energy efficiency audit was undertaken to evaluate the actual performance of the ECBC compliant building.

There was unanimous support for this NITI Aayog-led initiative as everyone felt that by bringing key stakeholders – Energy, Urban Development, Municipal Corporations, Town and Country Planning, Chief Architect, PWD and Roads and Buildings department and Development Authorities – from multiple states on the same platform, many of the issues and challenges faced by the government in notifying and implementing ECBC could be addressed. The workshop was summarised by Dr Satish Kumar, Executive Chairman of AEEE, which included the next steps to be undertaken by NITI Aayog, BEE and UNDP-GEF to continue to fast track the implementation of ECBC across India.