Real estate space construction acquired an unprecedented rate of growth. Urbanization in the developing India accelerated the growth. Government’s reform agenda assures that it will continue to grow in the near future too. Besides the real estate growth, the infrastructure development too takes place. This is going to be alarming in the coming days.
Energy consumption by these increasing real estate buildings is cautious now. It is estimated that buildings consume around 32% of the total electricity consumption in India.
According to the report of RICS, in 2011 the total real estate space incremental demand was approximately 7566 million sq. ft. out of this 7566 million sq. ft. residential demand was about 43.3%. Industrial space stood second with a demand of 43.1%. Only the remaining percentage was demanded by all the others like retail, hospitality, commercial, healthcare and educational spaces.
There are all possibilities for Energy consumption by the buildings to be rising in the coming years. Energy Conservation Building Code of India was passed by the Indian government in 2007. This was based on the Energy Conservation Act 2001. The code with no mandates still remains a voluntary code.
Surprisingly, the real estate buildings are defined as entities used for commercial purposes by EC Act 2001. This means that ECBC is primarily applicable only to commercial real estate buildings. The Residential building which consumes a major part of the total electricity consumption is not included. To be precise 24% out of 32% of total building sector electricity consumption in India is by the residential buildings.
This is high time to introspect on the alarming demand for electricity energy by the building sector. It is important to take corrective and necessary steps to face this challenge.
Predominantly Buildings have remained under the state or municipal body’s domain. But there is no agency to look holistically at the buildings’ resource footprint.
There are building byelaws to cover issues like ground coverage, floor area ratio and functional allocation of spaces of the buildings. Provision for day lighting and ample ventilation is regarded as a part of building byelaw.
Grievously the current approval process fails to check properly the provision for energy efficiency options which a building should have. Approximately 50% of the energy consumption in a building can be saved by adopting energy efficient lights and home appliances, use of insulation and high performance glass, access to daylight, etc.
Both urban and local bodies remain clueless on how to implement the Energy Conservation Building Code. This can be implemented only by a functional integration of both urban and local bodies.
Ministry of Environment and Forests, MoEF had introduced mandatory environment clearance for projects above 20,000 sq. m. in the year 2006. Initially such projects were cleared by the specially set up MoEF Committee.
At present State Committees look into these projects due to the state level power devolution. These committees follow a mandate for the evaluation of such projects. They look in to the matters like water management systems, provision for Rain Water Harvesting and so on.
Constitution of these committees well reflects the troubles in covering all these aspects of electricity consumption. So it remains a great challenge. Both Implementation and monitoring processes are questionable. How far these mandates of the government remain successful is the necessity of the time. To examine this situation and implementation of renewable energy integration alone can solve the lack of electricity shortage.