New power code envisages a greener future in Tamil Nadu
In commercial buildings, thermal comfort or space cooling accounts for a significant portion of energy consumption.
The recent ratification of Tamil Nadu Energy Conservation Building Code (TNECBC) 2022 marks a significant stride for Tamil Nadu towards embracing energy-efficient and sustainable practices. Developed by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) under the Ministry of Power, TNECBC 2022 lays down minimum energy performance standards for commercial buildings. This code encourages an energy-efficient ecosystem that mitigates the dual challenges of escalating energy consumption and GHG emissions.
In commercial buildings, thermal comfort or space cooling accounts for a significant portion of energy consumption. Cooling methods can be divided into two categories: active and passive cooling. Active cooling solutions like air conditioners, fans and chillers rely on energy to remove or offset heat. Conversely, passive cooling solutions utilise natural energy flows such as ventilation, shading and strategic building orientation, to cool spaces without consuming energy.
Technology in action
Super energy-efficient technologies are pivotal in active cooling solutions. BEE 5-star rated inverter ACs and BEE 5-star rated BLDC super energy efficient fans are examples of appliances that utilise these technologies and are widely accessible to the public.
Consider an office space in Chennai, outfitted with an inverter AC and BLDC super energy efficient fans, ready to tackle heat. The inverter AC can efficiently maintain the set temperature in the room better than normal ACs. The BLDC super energy efficient fan consumes less than 50% of a conventional fan. It can work in conjunction with the AC while using significantly less power. The motor of these BLDC fans doesn’t heat up like the traditional ones, thus making it compatible for use with the AC. Furthermore, the strategic placement of these appliances can boost their efficiency, which should be part of the building code strategy.
Smart use of these appliances can lead to substantial energy savings. For example, operating the BLDC super energy efficient fan at low-medium speed alongside the AC set at around 27 degrees Celsius can generate a perceived cooling effect of 24 degrees for the occupant. This combination of AC and BLDC super energy efficient fan is a dual cooling mechanism. The higher AC temperature setting reduces the AC’s energy consumption by over 20% while delivering the same comfort. Such savings are significant and align with the TNECBC 2022, which applies to commercial buildings with a connected load of 100 kW or above or a built-up area of 2,000 square metres or more. Additionally, adopting sustainable behaviours such as wearing climate-appropriate clothing can further decrease reliance on active cooling solutions, thereby conserving more energy.
Impact and vision of TNECBC 2022
TNECBC 2022 envisions a future where commercial buildings leverage super energy-efficient technologies and sustainable behaviours as standard practice. This shift would lower energy bills, reduce carbon emissions, comply with TNECBC 2022, foster healthier living and working environments and significantly contribute towards a cleaner, greener future.
However, several challenges lie ahead. Integrating TNECBC into building bylaws will ensure that energy conservation becomes an inherent part of building regulations. Additionally, fostering understanding and acceptance of these technologies and practices among building owners, operators and occupants is vital for achieving the desired energy savings and environmental benefits.
TNECBC 2022 lays down minimum energy performance standards for commercial buildings. It encourages energy-efficient ecosystem that mitigates the dual challenges of escalating energy consumption and GHG emissions
Footnote is a weekly column that discusses issues relating to Tamil Nadu
Mayur Sundararajan is the business head, Superfan at Versa Drives Private Limited