A new report from the International Energy Agency (IEA) and United Nations Environmental Programme has warned that the building sector in India is not on track to meet the climate goals as set out in the 2015 Paris Agreement as well as achieving United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Global energy demand and carbon emissions from the building sector have been on the rise and its energy demand and greenhouse gas emissions have risen
by 7% since 2010. The building and construction sector account for more than a third of global energy use, according to the report.
The report further highlights:
·Policies mandating minimum energy performance would be pivotal in bringing down the energy intensity of the sector and achieving international and local climate targets.
·Without concerted action to increase energy efficiency of buildings, the sector could account for more than 50% of global energy use by 2060.
·It makes a case to urgently increase the energy efficiency of buildings and bring energy gains at 3% per year at least.
·Space cooling has been the major contributor to the increasing energy demand and has grown by 33% between 2010 and 2018.
·The rise has come from greater cooling requirements from countries located in warmer climates, as changing lifestyle and easy availability of air-conditioners (AC) in the regions have changed the nature of buildings.
·For instance, AC ownership in India has grown from 3% to 6% between 2010 and 2017. According to Bureau of Energy Efficiency, Union Ministry of Power, electricity demand for residential and commercial building space is set to increase five-fold and three-fold respectively by 2032.
·The report suggests BEC as an efficient regulatory tool to decarbonise the building sector. However, as of 2019, less than 75 countries had or were developing a mandatory or voluntary building energy code.
·In 2019, about two-thirds of the buildings worldwide were made without mandatory building energy performance requirements.
Based on the Sustainable Development Scenario developed by IEA, all countries must have a mandatory building energy code by 2030 to bring the building sector on track in line with the SDGs and meeting the goals as set by the Paris Agreement.
In India, the first building energy code was implemented in 2007 under the mandate put in place by the Energy Conservation Act, 2001. Energy Conservation Building Code (ECBC) caters to commercial buildings, and was revised in 2017. In 2018, a separate energy code for residential buildings, Eco-Niwas Samhita, was launched. The codes are voluntary at national level and it is up to the states to mandate it:
·Till 2019, 22 states had completed amendment of ECBC
·15 states had issued notifications and
·11 states had updated their unified building by-laws to incorporate ECBC as mandatory requirement.
However, the implementation has been poor. According to another IEA report, 91% buildings in India would be built without mandatory energy requirements by 2050, based on the built-up area from 2017.