12 yrs on, Tamil Nadu govt yet to notify the code for energy-efficient buildings

A study by WRI found that if Tamil Nadu implements the code, by 2040, 12 billion units of current or Rs 8077 crores can be saved by Tangedco.
(The WRI study predicts residential and commercial buildings will double and quadruple by 2040 in TN. Photo- Special arrangement)
(The WRI study predicts residential and commercial buildings will double and quadruple by 2040 in TN. Photo- Special arrangement)

CHENNAI: Central government regulations to ensure all new buildings that come up are energy-efficient have not been implemented in Tamil Nadu even 12 years after introduction.  This is because the State has not notified the code yet.

Energy Conservation Building Code (ECBC) for new commercial buildings was first launched by the Power Ministry in 2007. This was done to make sure that all new buildings while being constructed are incorporated with energy saving properties. From the design stage till electrical set-up in the building, the code guides builders and architects to save energy.

But, Tamil Nadu is the only southern State which has not notified the code.  Twelve other States including Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala have notified either the old code or the revised version launched in 2017. In 2018, the code for residential buildings was also put forward by the energy ministry.

According to the study by World Resources Institute (WRI), India, 41 per cent of electricity consumed in the State was in buildings sector, while residential building consumed 30 per cent. The study also predicted that by 2040, electricity consumption in the commercial sector will shoot up four times while consumption rate in residential sector will double in the State.

“Around 60 per cent of electricity is used for cooling in any household in Chennai. If buildings are built as per the code, appliances will not be required for bringing down the temperature. Buildings in a warm-humid climate like in Tamil Nadu has high energy saving potential if the code is notified,” said Sumedha Malaviya, manager at the energy program of WRI India.

Official sources said lack of coordination between different departments in the energy sector has been delaying the code’s notification in the State. Experts in the industry said opposition from builders associations and loss of revenue to the State discom are other reasons why the code is yet to take off in Tamil Nadu.

Tamil Nadu Electrical Inspectorate (TNEI) is the body in charge of implementing the code and coordinating with urban local bodies. A senior official from TNEI said the code will be notified by the State government very soon. “As many departments are involved, it is taking more time than we anticipated. Incorporating the code in building bye laws is a complicated process as CMDA, urban local bodies are involved. Also, officials at higher levels keep changing. We are getting a lot of pressure from the power ministry as well to implement it,” the official said.

A meeting with all stake holders in the State has also been pending for long now. Due to this, builders in the State, who are one of the important stake holders are unsure about what changes to make to accommodate the code. “ Cost impact is also another factor that needs to be discussed at length,” said S Sridharan, Chairman of Confederation of Real Estate Developers Association of India (CREDAI), Tamil Nadu.

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