India must implement good practices to rein in its escalating energy use in buildings — projected to increase seven-fold by mid-21st century, the author of an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report (IPCC) said here on Monday.
According to Diana Acerge-Vorsatz, leading expert on interdisciplinary research on buildings and energy use, each week the global urban population goes up by 1.3 million, necessitating more number of buildings.
This, in turn, leads to a shooting up of building energies – energy used by buildings for heating and cooling – responsible for green house gas (GHG) emissions.
“India’s building energy will still double or treble even in best case scenario as in adopting best possible technology and architecture,” Vorsatz said referring to a building energy model prediction developed by her.
Building energy models means computer-based tools that simulate the energy use of a building for a specific duration.
Buildings are responsible for approximately one-third of energy-related carbon dioxide emissions and two-thirds of halocarbon emissions which in turn are connected to climate change.
“It will definitely still increase in the middle of the century but if India doesn’t take strong action in mandating good architecture, good building codes, prevent urban heat islands and so on, then it could go upto seven times,” warned Vorsatz, a professor at the Central European University, in Hungary.
She is the director of the Center for Climate Change and Sustainable Energy Policy at CEU and a coordinating lead author of ‘Buildings’ chapter in the IPCC’s fifth Assessment Report (AR5) on climate change mitigation, 2014.
Vorsatz was speaking at a dissemination workshop of the AR5 organised by Global Change Programme, Jadavpur University, Kolkata in collaboration with Climate Development Knowledge Network (CDKN).
To counter rising building energies, Vorsatz said the way ahead is to adopt and implement practices such as use of low-carbon building materials and incorporation of traditional methods which are inherently climate-friendly.
Energy inefficiency of buildings is also linked to setting up of more power plants and pollution, she said.
“So you would need many more power plants… where do you import so much energy from? You are going to have much more pollution from all that and who will pay for all that energy?
“So much more energy use means tremendous pressure for both population (in terms of paying for it) and for the government (where do you build those power plants, what fuel do you use for them),” she stressed, adding that India is on the right-track but needs more steps in tackling building energy rise.