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India needs to create energy efficient buildings, says expert

Hyderabad: There is an urgent need for India to make energy efficient buildings by jumping to the latest technology, creating awareness among people and teaching building physics to next generation architects, says an expert in energy simulation.

There is also a need for demonstration projects to show to people that they will recover the money by bearing extra cost during the construction.

“This is a must to create confidence among people because today they are hesitant to buy insulation, expensive glass and other construction materials,” Vishal Garg, who is heading the Centre for Information Technology in Building Science at International Institute of Information Technology (IIIT), Hyderabad.

With India going to double its building stock in 10 to 15 years, he feels that unless the country jumps to the best technology as soon as possible, the buildings will be inefficient and the country will have to bear this loss for next 100 years. “They will keep consuming more energy and retrofitting will be very difficult,” he warned.

“We still build in the manner it was done 50 years ago. We are still making the same mistakes. It’s time to jump to the latest technology, evaluate it and get benefits.”

Asserting that building is a holistic area, Garg said it required multi transformation and long-term research.

Pointing out that the sector faces numerous challenges in the country, he said people were not well equipped with building physics. “If somebody is giving tool without knowing the domain, then anybody can make the mistake. If you give wrong inputs to the computer, you will get the wrong output.”

Material readiness, ensuring quality through construction by machines, getting latest city weather data, lack of testing facilities like for air tightness and implementation of legislation are the key challenges.

The Bureau of Energy Efficiency under the union ministry of power formulated Energy Conservation Building Code (ECBC) in 2007 and based on this nine states framed rules, making ECBC compulsory.

Garg feels that while technically things have been done, there is a lot to be done for implementation.

As construction of efficient buildings begins with energy simulation, there is urgent need to focus on this aspect.

“When we design a building there are several aspects we have to take care. We have to see how much daylight will come, how much will be pressure, how much energy it will consume, how much voice will come inside and how safe it is from the fire. All these aspects are related and very difficult to evaluate. By using computers, you can simulate the building and find out the performance.”

Energy simulation helps in cost benefits analysis and ensuring compliance with GCBC.

He feels the best way is to teach building simulation to people learning architecture, air conditioning and lighting at the undergraduate level. Some institutions like IIIT are conducting workshops to train students as well as professionals.

Making a good progress during the past 10 to 15 years, India today has few hundred people who can do the simulation. Some are even doing outsourcing jobs by doing simulations for buildings being constructed in the United States or the Middle East.

The professionals will get an opportunity to know latest building simulation techniques at the 14th International Conference of the International Building Performance Simulation Association, beginning here on December 7.

This is the first time that India is hosting the international event. During the four-day conference, about 350 international delegates from over 40 countries will present and discuss the latest research and tools in diverse disciplines of building energy analysis and performance simulation.

(Mohammed Shafeeq, IANS)

(Picture credit:www.keystonelintels.com)

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