13th February, 2018
Building Energy India was invited to the Energy Conservation Building Code (ECBC)
Residential Part 1, Regional stakeholder consultation in Mumbai.
The consultation included many top architects and engineers working towards making buildings energy efficient and led to very pertinent questions about the basis, objectives, statistics, validity of the findings and applicability of the proposed code.
The code seems to have reached a final level of completion. Compliance for a large volume of the new/proposed residential building stock can expect it to be within acceptable range.
However a few things needed more careful attention: One of the major flaws that came to light was the absence of shading in the energy simulations done to arrive at the prescribed values.
Shading being one of the most well used methods of the country to offset heat gain from the envelope (walls + roof). One of the reasons/ concerns may be that shading isn’t a large feature in cold climates/ the West, where the sun’s heat is welcomed. An India specific code however would be expected to account for inter-shading between buildings, rooftops, windows, balconies and landscape shading.
Since it has been overlooked entirely while preparing this code, this leads to more questions.Although prescription based codes have often been criticized for being too narrow and impractical for certain parts of the country, the counter argument is that “we need to start somewhere”, and so as a first step all types cannot be arrived at, and instead ranges are made within each all parts of India must lie.
The number of locations where energy values of the building energy simulation results were compared to corresponding measurements from the actual building, i.e, to determine margin of error; also seemed low for a country-wide code with 5 climate specific proposals in a single code. When these numbers will be made public along-with the code by the Ministry they can be studied more in detail.Many other concerns were also raised at the consultation and have been duly noted and taken back for revision.
It is appreciable that Pierre Jaboyedoff and his team at PMTU Switzerland and India have put in a lot of effort and time to develop this code. Now it is up to our government to enforce and implement the code as a mandatory requirement for all future development in the residential sector.