Gauging Improvements in Urban Building Energy Policy in India
On par with other developing countries, energy use per square meter in India's older existing commercial buildings is quite low compared to even new buildings in developed countries. This is due to low penetration rates of building equipment and appliances, as well as India's predominantly tropical climate and consequent low heating loads. However, recent growth in market demand for better thermal comfort and international-style commercial buildings and large scale residential buildings is leading to significant increases in building energy demand that will likely continue in the medium-term future. The Indian central government has made strong efforts to improve building energy efficiency in the new construction sector through several national level policies. Despite these efforts, building energy codes have only recently started becoming mandatory in eight states and implementation is going to be difficult due to a complex regulatory development structure, an historical low-priority given to building regulation, and unavailability of data. Labeling and incentive schemes for energy efficient features and products are similarly nascent due in large part to a lack of market awareness and lack of government standardization. Through a literature review and interviews, this paper gives an update regarding the expansion of India's capacity to implement building energy codes, especially as experienced in recent development efforts in Hyderabad and Gujarat states, as well as remaining implementation barriers.