The Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) has said that an energy-efficient commercial building can save up to 40% of power. The energy conservation building codes (ECBC) -- that specify the norms to be followed to become energy efficient -- were released in 2007. It is now voluntary but BEE plans to make it mandatory in a couple of years to address the power issues and the impact of climate change. The Asia Pacific Partnership on Clean Development (APPCD), BEE and the Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) are studying the scope of developing high-performance commercial buildings in India.
A part of the study is being conducted in Bangalore and according to the experts, it is easy to make buildings energy-efficient here because of the pleasant climate. BEE is also networking with government bodies to make them ECBC-compliant. Around 316 government buildings that are yet to come up have applied to follow ECBC norms and BEE hopes that they will save up to 306 MW of energy. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare plans to open specialty hospitals in six cities which are ECBC-compliant.
Bangalore based architects point out that many buildings are going in for the Leader in Energy Efficient Design (LEED) certification. "The building has to comply with certain features like having a rain water harvesting system and automated lighting. These are not very cost-effective. For houses, we usually factor in climatic features and other efficiency opportunities but with commercial buildings it isn't always possible. Simply because our clients have certain demands and they are not always aware of such things," says architect and urban planner Pranoti Nagaraj.
Architect Soumitro Ghosh thinks codes like ECBC are useful. "Codes (voluntary or otherwise) are helpful in terms of assessment, as long as they make real commitments and not superficial ones." Finally, the quality of the sensitively-built architecture is comfort that is physical and psychological.
The BEE has empanelled architects who design ECBC-compliant buildings and also provide consultation to make old buildings considerably efficient. Public and private entities can seek information from them by approaching BEE with their request. The ECBC code book can be downloaded from the BEE website:http://bee-india.nic.in/sidelinks/ECBC.html.
Courtsey- Times of India