Mainstreaming Thermal Comfort For All and Resource Efficiency in Affordable Housing

Undertaken By: Multiple,    Recent Publication: 2020

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) launched the India Cooling Action Plan (ICAP)—a 20-year roadmap to address cooling requirements in building, cold chain, transport and refrigeration sectors—in March 2019. The plan is unique in its pioneering attempt to develop adaptive thermal comfort standards for buildings to reduce energy guzzling. ICAP recommends the ‘promotion of wider penetration of climate responsive built spaces to bring indoor temperatures within an acceptable thermal comfort band through passive cooling, thus reducing the overall cooling load.

So far, energy efficiency policies for the building sector have focused largely upon making cooling and heating technologies more efficient energy-wise. But an adaptive thermal comfort standard can go much beyond this, opening up new opportunities that, while improving energy efficiency, improve thermal comfort as well. An adaptive thermal approach would mean adoption of passive architectural and bio-climatic options especially through innovative building designs for reducing heat load on buildings and cutting down unnecessary energy-intensive cooling. The reports in this initiative explore this idea in greater depth and provide recommendations that would facilitate greater adoption of the adaptive thermal comfort.