Green buildings can help India minimise power shortages

By Gyanendra Kumar Keshri, IANS,

New Delhi : The Indian government must set stricter norms and push for the development of energy-efficient buildings so that the country can minimise power shortages and curb burgeoning petroleum import bills, say experts.

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“Power bills can be cut by almost 30 percent just by upgrading the buildings to energy efficient standards,” Frances Beinecke, president, New York-based Natural Resources Defense Council, told IANS.

She said green buildings were not only good for environment but also made a sensible business proposition. “It’s a good profitable investment. Our study shows that payback period for investment in energy-efficient technology is nearly five years. After that, it’s all your saving,” Beinecke said.

As India continues to urbanize, its building-occupied area is estimated to climb sharply, from eight billion square metres in 2005 to a projected 41 billion square metres in 2030, according to a McKinsey & Company study.

Beinecke said as per the study, 70 percent of the buildings in India in 2030 would be new structures.

“Implementation of green technology is easier in the new buildings. It’s a great opportunity for India to develop green buildings, save energy and reduce dependence on oil imports,” she said.

Anjali Jaiswal, director of NRDC’s India initiative, said a case study conducted on a building in Mumbai showed that installation of energy-efficient technology can help cut electricity bill by 28 percent. The money spent on new technology can be recovered in less than five years through savings in electricity bill.

“With India’s energy crisis worsening, scaling up energy efficiency in buildings will be critical to ensuring that businesses and cities can continue to grow in a sustainable way,” she said.

Jaiswal said NRDC in association with other organisations like Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation, Administrative Staff College of India and Confederation of Real Estate Developers Association of India (CREDAI) was trying to sensitise developers, common people as well as the policy makers about the benefits of green building technologies.

Jaiswal said most of the power is being used in buildings and adoption of energy efficient technology can help minimise the demand-supply gap of electricity in the country.

According to Central Electricity Authority, India faced power deficit of over 12,000 MW during the peak hours in the financial year 2012-13. Total supply of power was 1,23,294 MW in 2012-13 against the peak hour demand of 1,35,453 MW.

Urban Development Secretary Sudhir Krishna said the government is offering various incentives to promote the use of green building technology.

(Gyanendra Kumar Keshri can be contacted at [email protected])