Zero Carbon Compendium


'Rapid expansion in India is expected to outpace current fossil fuel capacity and as a result, the need for the development of alternative sources such as nuclear, wind and solar power has become increasingly apparent'

Key Facts

Country Population:1.2 b
Capital:New Delhi
Capital Population:21.7 m
Area:3.2 km²
Density:394 people/km²

National Carbon Overview

Following the liberalisation of the economy in India in the 1990's, the country has become a major energy market and one of the fastest growing economies globally. Currently, because of India's minimal domestic energy resources, the majority of its energy capacity is derived from imported fossil fuels. The country's growing energy demands are expected to outpace current capacity and as a result, the need for the development of alternative sources such as nuclear, wind and solar power has become increasingly apparent. It is expected that non-OECD economies, including India, will provide 17% of global wind energy by 2030.[1] India is presently the world's fifth largest wind power market with 14,154 MW installed as of March 2011.[2]

India is one of the fastest growing countries in terms of demand and growth for construction industry and infrastructural developments. In terms of green building, the industry has grown extremely quickly, with a mere 1,900 square metres in 2003 to more than 1.9 million square metres in 2009. However, green building in India remains an assortment of codes, standards established by the State by-laws, National Building Code, the Energy Conservation Building Code, in combination with the standards set by ratings programmes such as LEED-India, the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC), TERI-GRIHA and other such certifications.


Exemplar Project

New Town, Calcutta

Rabirashmi. West Bengal Renewable Energy Development Agency.

The Rabirashmi housing complex in West Bengal was completed in 2008 and includes 25 residential homes and a community centre. The first of its kind in the country, the project includes 26 photovoltaic systems comprising 464 units of Conergy C125W solar modules. Customised to fit the various shapes of the roof profiles, the panels are known as a building-integrated photovoltaic system and serve to replace traditional materials such as roof tiles, shingles, glazing and facades.

Each home will generate 2kW of power, with surplus energy fed into the grid. This is expected to save 0.5 kg of carbon dioxide emissions for every kWh of solar power produced. Each house also includes a solar water heating system and passive design elements, including an good levels of insulation and orientation that maximises cooling from southern breezes. Other low carbon features of the community include solar street lights and a swimming pool with a solar water heating system.[5]

Policy and Targets

As a non-Annex I signatory of the Kyoto Protocol, India has no quantitative emission reduction commitments. The implementation of the Energy Conservation Act in 2001 included the creation of the Bureau of Energy Efficiency in 2002. The Bureau was responsible for the development of the Energy Conservation Building Code in 2007. While predominantly focused on commercial buildings, the code includes multi-family residential buildings. For example, residential facilities with centralised service water heating require solar water heating for one-fifth of the design capacity.[3]

In 2008, the government released the first National Action Plan on Climate Change. The Plan details eight national 'missions' which target energy efficiency, renewables and inceased research capacity until 2017. The plan estimates that these initiatives will yield 10 000MW of savings by 2012.

Existing Frameworks

There are two main certifying bodies in India for green building. The first is the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC). One certification program, the Green Homes rating system, is the first rating programme developed in India exclusively for the residential sector. The rating system caters to both individual homes and multi-dwelling units.

The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) plays an active role in promoting sustainability in the Indian construction sector. The CII is the central pillar of the Indian Green Building Council or IGBC.

The second certifying body is the Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment (GRIHA), which is the National Rating System of India. It has been conceived by The Energy and Resources Institute and is a green building 'design evaluation system', intended to be suitable for multiple types of buildings in different climatic zones around the country. A complementary rating system was recently developed, known as SVAGRIHA (Small Versatile Affordable GRIHA) and is applicable to small individual residences, offices and commercial buildings.

Support, Incentives and Grants

The Bureau of Energy Efficiency launched the National Energy Labelling Program in 2006. The aim of the program is to provide information on energy performance so that consumers can make informed decisions while purchasing appliances.[4]

The government recently launched the National Solar Mission, which is a major initiative of the Government of India and State Governments.

The main objective of the programme is to promote the widespread use of solar water heaters in the country through a combination of financial and promotional incentives. India will provide a 55% subsidy on solar hot water installations for homes and offices, according to a senior government official. The subsidy will come from the $22bn (£13.4bn) that the federal government plans to budget for solar power development until 2030.



  1. International Energy Agency. Technology Roadmaps: Wind Energy. (2008).
  2. Indian Wind Energy Association.
  3. Energy Conservation Building Code: User Guide. (2009).
  5. West Bengal Renewable Energy Development Agency. (2011).
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