Report on National Thermal Comfort and Indoor Air Quality Standards in South Asia

Report on National Thermal Comfort and Indoor Air Quality Standards in South Asia


Amid the present-day reality of climate change, the changing contexts in building construction are beginning to address themes beyond emission reduction alone; these themes include Indoor Air Quality (IAQ), thermal comfort, safety, affordability, and the overall well-being of the occupant. Indoor air quality (IAQ) refers to the quality of the air inside buildings and is related to people’s health, comfort, and ability to work. Thermal comfort is described as “that condition of mind which expresses satisfaction with the thermal environment.

To address the envisioned challenges, codes and standards prove to be an effective but conventional way. In India, the National Building Code (NBC) and Energy Conservation Building Code (ECBC) now include guidelines for thermal comfort; the latter also includes guidelines on IAQ from a Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) perspective. Several other green rating programs, like Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment (GRIHA), The Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) - Health and Well-being Ratings for Occupants, and USGBC – LEED also provide guidelines on thermal comfort and IAQ. 

In each country, there exists a unique, internationally accepted adaptive thermal comfort model or standards for commercial buildings.  This report evaluates the status and enforcement mechanism of IAQ and thermal comfort standards in South Asia. It assesses the drivers and barriers to the establishment and enhancement of thermal comfort and indoor air quality standards throughout South Asia. It also identifies recommendations for prioritized action to develop and adopt the thermal comfort and IAQ standards in South Asia. The study also includes the analysis of future heatwave files (HWY) to envisage the enhancement of the standards.

The geographic scope of this project included Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan while broadly addressing the climatic contexts of Afghanistan, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. The mapping has been conducted primarily using the four kinds of resources - Academic publications, Building Codes and Standards, Voluntary market-driven green building rating programs, and the guidelines/guidebooks prepared by national and bilateral government programs. The proposed approach touches upon the components of Climate Analysis; Envelope Optimization; Cooling and IAQ Systems; Information Technology in Buildings; and Case Studies to identify the Feasibility, Challenges, and Barriers to addressing Efficiency, Comfort, and IAQ in the local parlance.


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