National Energy Savings from Space Cooling Strategies


India is poised to become the largest air conditioner (AC) market in the world in the next 15-20 years, given its tropical climate, large and growing population and rising lifestyle aspirations. This poses a significant increase in the nation’s energy demand for space cooling, stress on the electricity grid, and rise in carbon footprint.

The criticality of addressing India’s escalating demand for cooling energy cannot be overstated, particularly against the backdrop it NDC commitment – a 30-35% reduction in energy intensity – as well as many of its newer flagship programmes such as Housing for All, Power for All, India Smart City Initiative.

Most of the ACs in India’s future AC stock have yet to be bought. Hence, there is a short yet vital window of opportunity to capture significant energy, GHG, and peak load savings through a combination of responsible policy framework and rethinking how we use space cooling technology; and in turn positively impact the health, productivity and economic well-being of a large population.


With the projected exponential growth in the Indian AC market, there is a lot of speculation on the GHG and load impacts, and the possible mitigation strategies. However, wide variation in some of the key assumptions and parameters being used to estimate these numbers may cause uncertainty for policy makers. Additionally, there are unknowns such as, how might the national demand for cooling energy be impacted through the use of specific space cooling strategies. This project strives to uncover the impact of two such strategies: adaptive thermal comfort, and window shading strategies. Through a deep-dive research, under the guidance of LBNL, and in collaboration with CEPT University, the objectives of this project are to:

  • Evaluate the impact of adaptive thermal comfort on air-conditioning usage patterns and on the resulting energy savings potential.
  • Estimate the potential of reducing cooling demand through the use of well-designed window shading strategies and high performance glazing.

Expected outcomes

  • Project national energy savings estimate from the adoption of adaptive thermal comfort standards in residential and commercial buildings, and from incorporation of window shading strategies in building design.
  • Based on the research outcomes and the evaluation of the existing policy framework, recommend policy options and market transformation strategies that would help achieve the energy savings potential from both strategies.
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