Science ministry calls for research on energy efficient buildings

In an attempt to aid the Smart Cities mission, the ministry is looking to begin a programme to support R&D in the area of habitat energy efficiency


Buildings in India accounted for 35% of the total energy consumption, according to a report by Global Buildings Performance Network in 2013. Photo: AFP
Buildings in India accounted for 35% of the total energy consumption, according to a report by Global Buildings Performance Network in 2013. Photo: AFP

New Delhi: The ministry of science and technology has called for proposals from scientists and researchers to improve energy performance of buildings and cities, in its attempt to aid the government’s Smart Cities mission. Under its Clean Energy Research Initiative, the ministry is looking to begin a programme to support Research and Development (R&D) in the area of habitat energy efficiency.

As part of the programme, the ministry looks to support research in the areas of energy-efficient building materials or construction technology for walls, roofs, windows; low energy cooling systems; increasing day lighting in buildings, building automation, and controls for energy savings. For proposals, the ministry has invited researchers from universities and institutes, scientists working in national laboratories, companies and enterprises.

Buildings in India accounted for 35% of the total energy consumption, according to a report by Global Buildings Performance Network (GBPN) in 2013. In a report released a year later, GBPN observed that energy consumption from residential buildings is predicted to rise by more than eight times by 2050 under a business-as-usual scenario.

“Recently, there are is a lot happening in India in the area of efficient buildings such as the LEEDS ratings. After participating in joint research with other countries, we have got the confidence that we can promote such research in India,” said Rajiv Sharma, head of Technology Mission, Department of Science and Technology. “We are looking for projects which look at reducing energy consumption in buildings. Important areas of research are heating and cooling, which consume most of the energy in buildings, and also construction material used,” added Sharma.

Further, the government is looking to support research which can provide scientific weights to policy formulation and help devise procedures, codes and standards.

The thrust of the initiative is to sponsor research towards scientific, engineering, design and technological solutions which are affordable and scalable and can overcome barriers to achieve energy efficiency.

The ministry is also encouraging collaboration of scientists with industries and companies having domain expertise. “Certainly, this initiative is a step towards the smart cities initiative of the government. There will be several possibilities as part of the R&D projects,” said Sharma.

Under the Smart Cities Mission, the government sets the criteria for area-based development proposals to include at least 80% buildings that would be energy efficient.

“Energy efficiency in buildings is relatively a new area of intervention; a decade earlier, this was not in the policy agenda. It still has not come up in large way in India as some institutional buildings are energy efficient but in mass housing such as DDA, (Delhi Development Authority) it is yet to pick up,” said Debolina Kundu, Associate Professor at National Institute of Urban Affairs.

“New research will certainly be in line with the objectives of the government’s Smart Cities Mission,” added Kundu.

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