Inside India’s new energy code
Part two of two
“ECBC is applicable to all buildings with peak demand in excess of 500 kW, or connected load in excess of 600 kVA," he says. "It addresses systems such as building envelope, lighting, heating ventilation and air-conditioning, service water heating and electric power distribution within the building facilities while enhancing the thermal and visual comfort and productivity of its occupants.”
The ball started rolling in 2001, when the Indian parliament enacted the Energy Conservation Act that empowered the Government of India to prescribe and notify ECBCs. The Energy Code Act empowers the state governments to amend ECBC to suit regional/local climatic conditions and notify ECBC for implementation in their respective states.
“The code is mandatory although the compliance approaches are flexible keeping in view three different approaches depending on the expertise available and the preference of the designer/architect,” Padmanaban says.
The three approaches are:
A top-down or prescriptive approach or the "component-based" approach, which lays down the least or minimum performance requirements for windows, HVAC, lighting, etc.
A holistic approach that covers the entire building and compares its design with a reference design. In such a situation, the proposed design is shown to be more energy efficient than the reference design. It requires use of building simulation models that permits architects and engineers to try out ideas and designs to understand the impact of their decisions on energy consumption and the environment.
A system based approach, which is a trade-off between savings achieved by using one component, say, lighting, over another component, say, mechanical systems.
Implementation of the ECBC will enable energy efficiency practices and technologies to be introduced in the building envelope, lighting, HVAC, service water heating and electric power distribution within the building facilities, Padmanaban says.
“Some analysis was done during the development of ECBC that indicated energy savings of 27 percent to 40 percent in an ECBC compliant building over a typical commercial building with an annual energy consumption of 200 kwh/square meter,” Padmanaban says.
The BEE will be primarily responsible and is expected to work with the National Building Code that is being implemented by the Ministry of Urban Development in association with state governments and municipal authorities. “While these existing structures are expected to plan and discharge their responsibilities, there is no program in place to coordinate the tracking and reporting of ECBC enforcement,” Padmanaban says. “However, to the extent that the Ministry of Environment & Forests is able to include the provisions of ECBC in the environmental clearance process of large scale commercial buildings--20,000 to 150,000 sq. meters--there would be a mandatory check.”
There are no penalties for not meeting the code, Padmanaban says. “But there could be serious repercussions, especially for large commercial buildings--20,000-150,000 square meters--whose owners might not obtain environmental clearance if ECBC is not met.”
“The code in the future, just like in developed countries, will be tightened to achieve more targeted energy savings, driving market transformation and attracting adoption of advance technologies from other countries,” says Ajay Mathur, director general, BEE. “ECBC is a good staring point; as the codes get implemented and used, there will be a learning curve for both the government and the manufacturers, and amendments will be made to the current code before the mandatory version is launched.”
For the successful implementation of the code, a framework for verification of product performance needs to be created, says Satish Kumar, chief of party for India’s energy conservation program, International Resource Group, New Delhi. There is an immediate need for the establishment of an infrastructure: testing and simulation laboratories with appropriate equipment and skilled personnel and a recognized, unbiased rating body to provide product performance labels, Kumar says.
“The National Fenestration Rating Council labels for the fenestration in the U.S. or the CE marking in Europe provide product performance labels for code personnel to verify at the time of inspection. India needs to establish this ‘rating organization’ on a priority basis which will provide product performance labeling services that will in turn help facilitate ECBC code adoption process," he says.
The U.S. Department of Energy and the NFRC are working with the Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology in Ahmedabad [India] to establish an energy centre with all testing facilities, says Bipin Shah, international coordinator, National Fenestration Rating Council, Greenbelt, Md.
“There is still a long way to go for the government to ensure, adoption of codes at the state and local level,” Mathur says. “There is broad government support and commitment for ECBC implementation and it is in the interest of everyone that architects, designers, developers, consultants, and industry associations and product manufacturers come together to improve ECBC and make it a success in the years to come.”
—By Sahely Mukerji, managing editor, Glass Magazine