Establishment of Indian Database of Embodied Energy/Carbon in Building Construction Materials

Establishment of Indian Database of Embodied Energy/Carbon in Building Construction Materials


The policies and practices in India have focused on the reduction in operational energy in the last two decades.  The key performance indicator of the building is the annual consumption (EPI) and in the context of Net Zero Energy Building concerning the onsite generation (net-EPI). It is typically measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh) and expressed as a function of the building area (kWh/m2-yr). The common use of this metric is based on the idea that annual savings in electricity translate to savings in greenhouse emissions. These may not be enough. The annual evaluations do not consider the upfront carbon released before the use of the building due to the use of certain materials. Building operations accounted for 28 per cent of global emissions in 2019. Another 10 percent was generated from construction-related industries. USA and China have recently avowed net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 and 2060. As the third-largest emitter of negative carbon dioxide, India’s plans should now be under the spotlight. India emitted more than 2300 Mt of CO2 in 2019 and our rate of emissions per capita continued to grow in 2020, despite a pandemic. For Net Zero Energy Buildings, a positive net EPI may not be good enough to ensure any significant reduction in emissions. It becomes necessary to be able to quantify the total impact of a building on the environment. A carbon-based life cycle evaluation includes the quantification of upfront carbon and emissions associated with the disposal of building materials; such work needs a database of embodied energy /carbon of the building materials.

The objective of the project is to facilitate policy intervention by establishing a database that will allow life cycle assessment (LCA) of the buildings during their construction and operational phase. Such a database will help decide the pathways to decarbonise the building sector in India. The project will initiate the establishment of the database of embodied/carbon in Indian building construction materials.

Supported by:

Ministry of New and Renewable Energy Govt. of India, Gujarat Energy Development Agency, U.S. Agency for International Development iNDEXTb (Industrial Extension Bureau) Govt. of Gujarat, Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation, New Delhi