The real estate market in India is growing at an unprecedented rate and is expected to cross USD 850 billion by 2028. The rapid growth of the building industry has resulted in significant energy use in buildings. This, coupled with the energy demand from the existing building stock has resulted in significant contribution to GHG emissions. New buildings will also be a significant source for future emissions in India where we will see most of the expected doubling of floor space addition by 2050.
But the building sector can significantly reduce energy use by incorporating energy-efficient strategies into the design, construction, and operation of new buildings and undertaking retrofits to improve the efficiency of existing buildings. With advancements in renewable energy technologies and the multiple options available for the buildings to purchase renewable power at competitive price; there are opportunities exist to off-set grid energy use by renewable energy sources. Buildings can achieve Net Zero Energy Status and reap huge energy cost savings.
Towards Net Zero Energy Buildings and a Sustainable Future
The concept of a Net Zero Energy Building (NZEB), one which produces as much energy as it uses over the course of a year, recently has been evolving from research to reality. Net Zero Energy buildings are designed to have the lowest energy demand, and highly energy-efficient operation, with energy requirements being met through renewable energy sources. Currently, there are only a small number of highly efficient buildings in India that meet the criteria to be called “Net Zero”. This is largely because the concept of net zero energy has not gained much momentum in the country due to a lack of awareness about net zero concepts amongst stakeholders, insufficient capacity of service providers to implement net zero projects, issues related to power purchase policies, net and gross metering, and low access to advanced technologies.
To close this gap, Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation and Confederation of Indian Industry–Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Centre (CII-GBC) undertook a joint initiative to increase awareness around net zero energy buildings in India. The initiative targeted building sector stakeholders across the country—including architects, developers, builders, product manufacturers and technology suppliers, ESCOs, renewable energy companies, policy makers and regulatory bodies—with the goal of driving policy and technology solutions for net zero building and to mitigate GHG emissions from the building sector.
Extensive stakeholder consultations led to the development of recommendations for a NZEB policy framework, compendium of NZEB technologies and service providers and an initial assessment of renewable energy demand aggregation of select NZEB in India. As a part of this initiative, several capacity building programmes were organised for stakeholders on key NZEB concepts and approaches.