India’s Energy Evolution

What’s in it for U.S. glass makers
By Sahely Mukerji
February 1, 2007

Increased awareness of energy-efficient building products, an eminent building energy conservation code, along with an economic boom and rising energy costs in India, have carved out an opportunity for U.S. glass manufacturers to market their products in India.


“The Commonwealth Games will be hosted in India in 2010 in New Delhi, and more than 400 new hotels will be built, along with several buildings to host the participants,” says Bipin Shah, international coordinator, National Fenestration Rating Council, Silver Spring, Md. “Due to low commercial building stock, there is a shortage of commercial space in New Delhi. Rents are five times than that in Washington D.C.


This construction boom can be seen everywhere in India, further fueled by a 25 percent to 30 percent return on investments compared to 5 percent returns overseas, according to an article in The Times of India, Dec. 15, 2006.


“There will be a demand for high-performance glazing, but the cost of high-performance glazing will have to come down,” says Satish Kumar, chief of party for India’s energy conservation program, International Resource Group, New Delhi. “Every developer I speak to is concerned about the high cost of high-performance glazing. That’ll have to change.”

Anand R. Jain, manager, Institutional Sales, Saint-Gobain Glass India Ltd., Sriperumbudur, Tamil Nadu, agrees.

“Once the energy code is implemented, the demand for modern technology and energy-efficient products in the new buildings will increase dramatically,” Jain says, “such as BMS [building management system], frames and system [including] thermal break and PVC, high-performance glazing [including] spacers, accessories and coatings on glasses, and insulation materials.”


The state of Gujarat has the advantage of natural gas resources close by and the infrastructure to provide to the industry, says Saurabh Patel, minister of state for finance, planning, and energy & petrochemicals. The state will welcome any foreign investment and would assist the companies with their initial setup, he says. India’s next five-year plan has just been completed, and the compound annual growth rate projected for Gujarat is 11.2 percent, he says. “In the industrial sector, we’re estimated to have 14 percent growth per year for at least the next five years,” he reports. Gujarat has 2,600 kilometers of gas pipeline and two energy terminals. “U.S. glass makers can manufacture their product here at a much lower cost than in their homeland, and have the opportunity to service other countries from the Indian base,” Patel says. “They can also get a tax subsidy.”


The code

In the past two years, India has developed its first building energy conservation code modeled after the ANSI/ASHRAE/IESNA Standard 90.1 for Energy Efficiency in Buildings. The Government of India and its agency, the Bureau of Energy Efficiency, with technical assistance from the U.S. Agency for International Development, have worked together in the bilateral USAID/Ministry of Power, GoI’s Energy Conservation and Commercialization Project. The private sector has been an intrinsic part of the consultative process.


“The purpose of Energy Conservation Building Code is to provide and mandate minimum requirements for the energy-efficient design and construction of buildings,” says S. Padmanaban, energy adviser, USAID, India. “The code follows upon the directive of the Energy Conservation Act 2001 passed by the Indian Parliament that has identified ‘buildings’ as a ‘designated consumer’ for the application of the tenets of the ECA. The code is mandatory for commercial buildings or building complexes that have a connected load of 500 kW [kilowatt] or greater or a contract demand of 600 kVA [kilovolt-amps] or greater. The code is also applicable to all buildings with a conditioned floor area of 1,000 square meters [10,000 square feet] or greater. The code is recommended for all other buildings.”


The mandate extends to all states of the Indian Republic since electricity is on the concurrent list of the Indian Constitution. ECBC is being included as part of the National Building Code, Padmanaban says, and is likely to be passed and adopted in the next three to six months.


However, like any other project, the code implementation comes with its share of problems. Padmanaban lists them: “Lack of trained professionals required to design compliant buildings; perception of increased first cost and delays that a project will have to face in order to be compliant with the ECBC; lack of availability of energy-efficient equipment and materials in the local marketplace; lack of equipment testing and certification; and institutional barriers in enforcing any codes.”


To overcome the issues, the USAID India is working with International Resources Group and its partners to implement an energy efficiency commercialization project, titled ECO 3. “We’ve been working with two, three states,” says Archana Walia, program management specialist, USAID India. “We’ll be developing an implementation plan for the chosen state, and it will need approval from the minister of power,” says Kumar, who is the chief of party of the USAID ECO3 Program.


The Center for Environmental Planning and Technology University in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, has been chosen to house the center of excellence. “The Center for Sustainable Environment and Energy in CEPT University will aim to integrate building design with energy-efficient practices, and bring the engineers, architects and designers up to speed with the latest technology for energy efficiency in buildings through training and workshops,” Shah says.


The land for the center will be provided by CEPT University and the fund for the building is expected to come from the state government. The All India Flat Glass Manufacturers’ Association will provide Rs. 2.5 crores, about $560,000, to buy the machines, Shah says. Sintex Industries, near Ahmedabad, a manufacturer of PVC doors, windows and modular furniture in India, has declared Rs. 1 crore support for CEPT University to start the energy center. This money is expected to be provided over the next five years. Karnataka already has such a center of excellence, Walia says.

A sample of the training was provided by Drury B. Crawley, technology development manager, U.S. Department of Energy, at the building energy simulation laboratory,

CEPT University

, Dec. 11-12. The lab will be part of the center of excellence.