Commercial building sector in India is expanding rapidly at over 9% per year spurred largely by the strong growth in the services sector;
Electricity consumption in the commercial sector in India at present accounts for about 8% of the total electricity supplied by the Electricity Utilities, and has been growing annually at about 11-12%. This is mainly attributed to the increasing energy intensiveness of newly constructed commercial buildings;
Several studies in the country have shown that energy efficiency is not getting adequate attention when the new buildings are designed. Incorporation of energy efficiency provisions at the design stage of the new buildings is critical and will soon become mandatory – Better to be proactive than keeping in view the Energy Conservation Act 2001 (EC Act), Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) with technical support from USAID under its Energy Conservation and Commercialization (ECO) Project, has developed Energy Conservation Building Codes (ECBC);
ECBC, considering five climatic zones in India, sets the minimum energy performance standards for large commercial buildings that have a connected load of 500 kW or greater or a contract demand of 600 kVA or more, having conditioned area of 1000 sq. m. or more;
Annual energy consumption in the conditioned commercial buildings in the country is estimated to be about 200 kWh or more per sq. m of floor area; Electricity consumption in ECBC compliant buildings can be brought down to 120-160 kWh per sq.m., showing energy saving potential of 20- 40 % depending on the hours of building use during the day, climatic conditions, etc.;
Ministry of Power, Government of India launched ECBC 2007 on 27 May 2007 for its implementation in commercial buildings on voluntary basis all over India, with a view to make this mandatory in the next couple of years depending upon the experience gained during the voluntary period;
ECBC encourages energy efficiency for all building components and systems such as building envelope, lighting, heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), service water heating, and electric power and motors within the building facilities, while enhancing the thermal and visual comforts and productivity of the occupants;
ECBC mandates/prescribes U-factor and R values of insulation assembly for five climatic zones in India, Solar Heat Gain Coefficients and Visible Light Transmission levels for fenestration, energy efficiency levels of air conditioning systems, and number of other parameters for ECBC compliance in commercial buildings. In this context, good understanding of ECBC features and application of several developed products and technologies could play an important role in improving energy efficiency in the buildings, leading to energy cost savings for the building owners/users.