The Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE), India, launched the Energy Conservation Building Code (ECBC) in 2007. In order to achieve significant compliance and subsequently, higher energy savings, the code must be adopted by the states and enforced by local governments. However, government and public sector agencies currently do not have the manpower or expertise to enforce ECBC. It is, therefore, crucial to build capacity and create a cadre of professionals outside the public sector.
The objective of this project was to develop a framework for Third Party Assessor (TPA) model to facilitate ECBC compliance and enforcement. In order to develop this framework, various successful TPA models in India and worldwide were studied. Some of these TPA models were related to building energy codes or ratings systems, while others were from the non-building sector, but offered valuable insights towards developing a TPA model for ECBC implementation and enforcement in India. A large stakeholder engagement provided useful feedback for the development of the TPA’s role and organizational framework. Some of the benefits of the TPA model are:
The TPA Model
The proposed framework is based on issues of capacity, finance and administration of a TPA scheme and includes roles, scope of work, deliverables, eligibility, examinations and qualifications, quality assurance and funding and financing mechanisms. It defines the relationships between the project teams, TPAs, ULBs, SDAs and BEE, for ECBC compliance and enforcement.
Roles and Responsibilities
TPA framework includes roles for the following organizations and individuals:
The Operational Framework
The project team selects a TPA for its project, and the TPA is required to declare no conflict of interest for each project he/she reviews. Project team will follow all other processes to acquire building construction and occupancy permits as required by the concerned ULB. The TPA will only check for ECBC compliance and not any other aspects of the building code. Engaging a TPA on the project requires the project team to provide the TPA with a ‘Letter of Credit’ of the bank selected in that state. The TPA reviews each building project in two stages to determine ECBC compliance. The first stage is the design review and the second stage is the construction review.
During the design review stage, the TPA reviews the drawings, specifications, and ECBC compliance forms to ensure that the Energy Conservation Measures (ECMs) are appropriately documented in the project design documents. During the construction review stage, the TPA reviews the ECBC compliance forms and inspects the building to ensure that the ECMs are incorporated in the construction of the building and the installation of its systems. If the design or construction does not meet the ECBC requirements, the TPA notifies the project team and requests for detailed documentation of non-complying ECMs.The TPA ensures that the EPI of the proposed building is reported consistently to BEE using the ECOnirman Whole Building Performance tool. If the proposed building complies with the ECBC, the TPA sends a ‘Letter of Recommendation’ along with the checklist to the ULB and the SDA.
The ULB uses the TPA’s recommendation in its usual process of construction and occupancy approvals. The SDA compiles the records and authorizes the bank to release payments to the TPA for each milestone reached and deliverable completed.
In most of the states, officials were receptive of the proposed TPA framework. They expressed their preference to use experts to provide TPA services to overcome potential barriers related to capacity and skills. ULB officials expressed a concern that TPAs, as individuals, are likely to be pressured and influenced into approving compliance. SDAs also stated that BEE would have to take the responsibility for overall quality assurance of the TPA work, and that the agency would prefer not to be directly involved in financial transactions for the TPA work.
The proposed Third Party Assessor framework can resolve the issues of capacity and expertise to enforce ECBC at the local government level. However, co-ordinating with different government agencies and other relevant stakeholders to incorporate the TPA framework would be a challenging and time consuming initiative. State level initiatives demonstrating effectiveness of the TPA framework may help overcome some of the aforementioned barriers.
This work was done by CEPT University and the Weidt Group and supported by the Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation.