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Integrated Approach for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy in Buildings in the PACE-D TA Program

Apurva Chaturvedi | Senior Clean Energy Specialist, USAID India

The concept for Net Zero Energy Buildings (NZEB) Knowledge Portal and Alliance has emerged from the regular interactions with building and policy experts, and also our own experiences over the last three years. Sustainable buildings experts from India and NZEB experts from countries with advanced NZEB policies such as Japan, the U.S. and Europe have shared their perspectives during workshops organized by the USAID-funded PACE-D TA Program. A common motif emerged from the path other countries have taken. These include: build a case for NZEBs through knowledge dissemination, reform the way buildings are designed and constructed, push the markets to supply high performance technologies, and formulate long term NZEB linked goals for the building sector.

The PACE-D TA Program is providing technical assistance to two NZEB demonstration projects – Nalanda University in Bihar and Uttar Haryana Bijli Vittaran Nigam Headquarter in Haryana. Some of these learnings are also echoed in our experiences with NZEB pilot projects.

Implementing these pilots has underlined the need for a performance-based, integrated approach to constructing NZEBs. Integration of climate responsive building design strategies, high performance building technologies and renewable energy in the pilots was achieved only through protracted interactions between designers, owners and sustainability experts in the PACE-D TA Program team right from the concept stage. We also realized that there must be a local market providing high performance technologies at reasonable costs with extensive post installation servicing capabilities. There must also be subject matter experts who understand the theoretical aspects of NZEBs and are capable of transferring this into technically and commercially viable structures. Most importantly, there must be supportive regulations to establish grid parity and enable trading of renewable energy produced in NZEBs. Benefits of NZEBs to society will be mitigated if they are unable to feed surplus renewable energy produced on or off site into the grid.

It would be too ambitious to suggest that the portal and alliance can achieve all these single handedly. Through the portal, the PACE-D TA Program and the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BE) have chosen to develop an instrument which does the most basic tasks first. It informs about what is needed to design, construct and operate NZEBs and, it proves the case for NZEBs through numerous national and international case studies. NZEB Alliance is a platform for sub streams of building industry to join hands in pushing the markets towards supply of highly energy efficient technologies and materials and, renewable technologies.

India’s Internal Nationally Determined Contributions include reduction of 2005 levels of GHG emissions by 30% till 2030. It is not a small target. NZEBs can be the game changers for curbing emissions from building sector. The PACE-D TA Program, in partnership with BEE and other agencies of the Government of India, will continue to work with the building industry in laying a strong foundation for net zero energy buildings in India.

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