A Policy Strategy for Decarbonizing the Building Sector - Phase I and II

A Policy Strategy for Decarbonizing the Building Sector - Phase I and II

Residential buildings constructed under PMAY are expected to last beyond four to six decades. Now, more than ever, not only is there a need to optimize the electrical energy, which will only be consumed by buildings in their operation phase but also by their embodied energy. Embodied energy is the energy consumed throughout a building’s lifespan, involving extraction, manufacturing, and transportation of building materials. Thus, the upcoming residential building floor space, especially the affordable housing section, would need to be designed and developed prioritizing the optimum use of resources for their economic opportunity limits them. This would entail considering occupant comfort, which is often overlooked.

Designing spaces/buildings catering to occupants’ thermal comfort needs, and studying them, would provide us with scientific methods that could regulate the thermal performance, energy use, costs, and associated carbon emissions over these buildings' lifetime. These methods, when implemented rigorously, via a policy framework, would help India in building sustainable infrastructure, which would be optimum and efficient for the present as well as the future. To develop such an efficient data-driven framework, it becomes very important to study the relevant baseline datasets to understand the potential opportunities for interventions through policies and training.

This is a collaborative project between AEEE and CEPT titled “A Policy Strategy for Decarbonizing the Buildings Sector” funded by the Global Building Performance Network (GBPN) aimed to guide the state governments in India to adopt appropriate sustainable building policies and energy codes to meet the nation’s climate action commitments of a 33-35% reduction in carbon emissions intensity/Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The study follows the strategy of design to develop a policy implementation pipeline that leads regional jurisdictions through policy planning, policy adoption, and policy implementation by 2020.

The team worked at the state and city level for the implementation of ECBC- R and worked in collaboration with the ongoing programs of SDC and GIZ at the center level.

To ensure jurisdictions effectively adopt appropriate sustainable building policies and energy codes, which achieve and exceed their climate action commitments, the project activities were bifurcated into two phases. Phase 1 of this project was dedicated to building administrative capacity, which would be necessary to formulate a robust compliance mechanism for ECBC-R.

Phase 1

Activity 1: To identify appropriate State and City and consultations with relevant stakeholders. The various sub-activities that will be carried out are mentioned below:

  • Mapping the status of PMAY based on the meeting with NIUA, HUDCO, NHB, and other stakeholders 
  • Understanding the status of work done in ECBC-R under GIZ and SDC programs-Scoping meetings with GIZ and its implementing arm, and SDC and implementing arm, the objective of these meetings was to identify (first) and then align GBPN work in a manner that both projects can leverage the scope of other 
  • Meetings with the State Urban Development Department (UDD), Urban Local Body (ULB), and State Designated Agency (SDA) of the identified state and city to sensitize them about the GBPN project intent and take advice. 
  • To schedule a sensitization meeting with BEE, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA), the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC), and Niti Aayog

Activity 2 – Identification of relevant administrative procedures for inclusion of ECBC –

  • Identification of relevant administrative procedures required to be followed for building construction and availing financial assistance under PMAY.
  • Review of city administrative procedures and framework for residential buildings 
  • Review PMAY-U application and compliance process including enforcement of financial subsidy 
  • Map state-level enforcement mechanism for residential development 
  • Map activities that are undertaken in PPP mode for housing development in the cities 
  • Consultative workshop with relevant stakeholders involved in PMAY and ECBC-R implementation

Activity 3: Mapping of PMAY-U projects, and identification of a project for technical assistance

  • The project to map PMAY-U practices to identify opportunities to upgrade housing development to meet ECBC-R requirements. To study occupied housing schemes, under construction and under planning, housing schemes. The study focused to identify opportunities in the following categories (i) Architectural design interventions without construction cost implication, such as orientation, ventilation requirement, and form of buildings (ii) Construction and material intervention leading to minimum cost implication.
  • To collect data from various housing schemes across various ULBs in the country, prepare a status report and present a comparative study identifying ECBC-R intervention opportunities. Based on the study, to locate potential projects at the design stage, which can be identified for technical assistance. Along with partners and stakeholders, the selected project received technical assistance.

Activity 4: Identification of key building materials that can have the greatest impact as per ECBC-R requirements

  • To identify the number of construction materials and a series of construction assemblies having the potential to meet ECBC-R requirements. The identification is to be done based on Climatic context and availability of the material locally. To produce a database of the material for walls, roofs, and fenestration. The design of the database aimed to help meet the requirement of architects and real estate developers. To attempt and integrate the database as part of the ECO NIWAS Tool developed by BEE. This activity to generate a suite of wall, roof, and fenestration material specific to the climate zone aimed to assist PMAY-U schemes across the country.

Activity 5:  Impact of ECBC - R on energy consumption and thermal comfort at a ULB level

  • To establish the impact of ECBC-R on energy savings and increase comfortable hours in the event of ECBC -R implementation at a UBL. To select a ULB, thereafter, to access residential building stock, its thermal characteristics, and the nature of housing typology. This activity was expected to establish the importance of ECBC-R, making the case for ECBC-R implementation at other ULBs and SDAs since it provides quantifiable evidence of benefits from ECBC-R.

Phase 2

Phase 2 of the project, aimed to meet the GBPN’s intent to develop a policy implementation pipeline; that walks regional jurisdictions through policy planning, adoption, and implementation in India. To achieve the aim, the activities under Phase 2 concentrated on two major concerns one intervention without additional cost and another with additional cost as shown in Figure.

Activity 1:  Technical assistance for the identified pilot project

  • To select a project either initiated by ULB or by a private developer under PMAY-U and conduct three design assistance workshops/charrettes to help architect-designer-real estate developer to design and build an ECBC-R compliant housing scheme. To extend assistance and document it in the form of documents, presentations, and short documentaries. The feedback of the workshop/training materials shared with GBPN for broader dissemination through the global knowledge hub.

Activity 2: Proposed amendments to state regulations and standards

  • Follow up on the review conducted in Phase 1 and landscape assessment, roles and responsibilities of different organizations, and learnings from the pilot project, to identify the areas and the nature of amendments as per ECBC-R requirements done in the existing administrative process followed for PMAY. 
  • To craft draft amendment language to be incorporated in byelaws, approval process, and schedule of rates (SOR), or any other state-level procurement-related document

Activity 3: Mainstream building materials as per ECBC-R requirements

  • To establish technical specifications, costs, and lists of vendors in the city or state for the mainstreaming of building materials identified during Phase 1. To establish based on a limited number of interactions with major manufacturers, associations (glazing society, insulation forum, fly ash brick association, and others), green rating bodies (LEED, GRIHA, IGBC), institutes, and testing laboratories working in the field of energy-efficient materials.
  • To explore mainstreaming building materials as per ECBC-R, and to organize a vendor meeting at the city or state level.

Activity 4:  Develop a framework for scaling up at ULBs in states likely to see a lot of PMAY construction

  • To document general procedures followed at multiple ULBs for code compliance during the activity ‘Technical assistance for the identified pilot project’. To identify opportunities to enhance the process to help implement and enforce ECBC-R at the ULB level. To produce technical and administrative document templates with examples and share them with various ULBs in a common forum. To identify opportunities to scale up ECBC-R implementation and enforcement.



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