The Energy Conservation Building Code (ECBC) will be applied to residential buildings soon, under plans to curb the spiralling domestic consumption of power.

Addressing a workshop on energy efficiency in commercial buildings, Director, Energy Management Centre, K.M. Dharesan Unnithan said a sizeable number of residential buildings in the State were found to have installed transformers to handle high tension power, indicating the trend towards higher domestic energy consumption.

This, he said, necessitated the need to save as much power as possible by plugging power leakage and promoting the use of energy efficient equipment.

Applying the ECBC to residential buildings will make it mandatory to have star-rated household equipment such as refrigerators, power-saving lights and to install photovoltaic panels to harness solar energy, he told The Hindu on the sidelines of the workshop.

Mr.Unnithan said residents could avail themselves of the existing subsidy scheme to purchase renewable energy products and power-saving equipment.

Mr.Unnithan said the Secretariat building was expected to switch over to LED lighting systems by the end of the year. “A few days back, all the 55 Watt fluorescent lamps in the office of the Electricity Minister were changed to 16 W LEDs, resulting in a saving of 61 per cent. The Vikas Bhavan complex, High Court building, and the Ernakulam, Thrissur and Kozhikode Collectorates will switch over to T5 (28 W) lights soon.”

He said all industries in the State would be brought into the energy audit scheme. The EMC, he said, had shortlisted 20 energy auditors. “Moves are on to classify buildings based on energy efficiency.”

The workshop was organised by the EMC in association with the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the Global Environment Fund (GEF). Delivering the keynote address, Sanjay Seth, energy economist, BEE, stressed the need to integrate the ECBC into the building bylaws and the schedule of rates for public works. The Ministry of Urban Development, he said, was planning a series of regional workshops.

Mr.Seth said it was important to incorporate energy efficiency into a building during the design stage. He pointed out that the construction boom in Kerala provided an opportunity to promote energy efficiency in commercial buildings. “The target is to ensure that 75 per cent of all new constructions comply with the ECBC during the 12th Plan period. A retrofitting programme will bring 20 per cent of existing buildings also into the network.”

Mr.Seth said the lack of expertise among architects, engineers and contractors, lack of availability of equipment with prescribed efficiency standards and the absence of testing facilities for energy efficient products, as well as poor enforcement by local bodies posed challenges to the integration of the ECBC into the building rules. He added that several States were trying to promote demonstration projects to ensure better acceptance of the code.

Sandeep Garg, programme specialist, UNDP, and Shabnam Bassi and Deepa S.Kumar, assistant project managers, UNDP- GEF, addressed the workshop.

  • Star-rated household equipment mandatory

  • Residents can avail themselves of subsidy scheme