Second Regional Workshop on ECBC Implementation in States on March 15 & 16, 2017

The Second Regional Workshop on ECBC Implementation in States was organized by NITI Aayog, with support from UNDP-GEF-BEE and AEEE, in Ahmedabad, on 15th and 16th of March, 2017. State Government officials from the states of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh attended the workshop that was undertaken to fast track implementation of Energy Conservation Building Code (ECBC). The Code aims to ensure a minimum energy performance requirement for commercial buildings and has been developed by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency, launched in 2007 at the national level.The first regional workshop had been organized in Chandigarh in February, covering six north-Indian states.

The topic is specifically important and significant for India where more than 50% of building stock that will be present in 2030 is yet to be built and it is critical that this development happening in many of Indian Smart Cities start complying with ECBC with immediate effect. Shri Anil Kumar Jain, Additional Secretary, NITI Aayog, chaired the inaugural session of the workshop and re-emphasized the importance of energy savings in buildings. He said that State Governments need to be proactive in addressing the issue of energy conservation in buildings and showcased the energy efficiency measures that have been taken up at the NITI Aayogbuilding in New Delhi.

While the topic of energy conservation is a subject that falls under the Energy Conservation Act, 2001; the energy efficiency conservation efforts in buildings requires an inter-departmental coordination between energy, urban development, town-planning departments, among others.

Almost all states brought out that the key challenge in rolling-out ECBC remained in bridging the inter-departmental efforts between these Energy and the Urban Development departments. The Importance of using online tools for ease of doing business and for bringing transparency in the building design approval, taking assistance of third party technical professionals for evaluation of technical aspects, customized training and awareness creation programmes, and clear delineation of roles and responsibilities of different government organizations were some of the recommendations made by government officials attending the workshop.

The workshop highlighted that while many of the challenges that the states were currently facing in implementing the Code were similar, given the variation in the structure of the departments within the states, there was need to have state specific strategies for rolling out and effective implementation of the codes.State Government representatives from Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh suggested that their states had already prepared the draft ECBC document of rules, and they would be notifying the same over the course of the next two to three months.

Mr Hemant Patil of Maharastra Energy Development Agency (MEDA), said “the Third Party Assessment model appeared to be the way ahead for a quick uptake and implementation of ECBC, and could be explored and adopted by all states”.

While Gujarat, which is also in the process of developing and notifying the ECBC norms for the state, has not notified the ECBC norms, it appeared that large number of efforts have already been taken up by the state to further the cause of energy efficiency. The Chief Town Planner of Gujarat, Mr Paresh Sharma, emphasized on the need of simpler and faster ECBC implementation to enable ease of doing business initiative.

Of the four states represented, Rajasthan was the only state which has notified the state specific ECBC norms way back in 2011. However, implementation of the norms in Rajasthan has remained low, largely due to thegap between the technical knowhow of the energy department and the implementation agencies in the urban and town-and-country planning departments.

Presentations were also made by representatives from the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) and Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL). BEE official, Mr Arijit Sengupta, suggested that they were exploring future plans for extending the Performance Achieve Trade (PAT) for high energy consuming buildings such as hotels. EESL, which is the leading energy efficiency public sector implementation organisation, offered to extend their services to the state governments for taking up up-to three large buildings for retrofitting them to convert them into energy efficient buildings using the ESCO model.

Prof Rajan Rawal, CEPT University, highlighted the role of the Third-Party Assessment (TPA) model as one of the solutions for auditing and implementing ECBC norms across states. Mr Prashant Bhanware, Buildings Energy Efficiency Program (BEEP), presented the case study of the Aranya building in Jaipur, where a post construction energy efficiency audit was undertaken to evaluate the actual performance of the ECBC compliant building.

There was unanimous support for this NITI Aayog led initiative as everyone felt that by bringing key stakeholders – Energy, Urban Development, Municipal Corporations, Town and Country Planning, Chief Architect, PWD and Roads and Buildings department and Development Authorities - from multiple states on the same platform, many of the issues and challenges being faced by government in notifying and implementing ECBC can be addressed. The workshop was summarized by Dr Satish Kumar, Executive Chairman of AEEE and the next stepsthat will be undertaken by NITI Aayog, BEE and UNDP-GEF to continue to fast track the implementation of ECBC across India.