5 stars for saving electricity

 
By Praveen Madimetla
Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

-- (Credit: Divya)RBI bags certificates for its energy efficient buildings

government and private organizations are queuing up for five star ratings for their office buildings from the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (bee). The Bureau rates buildings on a scale of one to five depending on how efficiently they use energy. The scheme is voluntary and was launched in February 2009.

The Reserve Bank of India (rbi) has filed applications for 15 of its buildings; Central Public Works Department, some state buildings and itc are among the other applicants. bee has received 50 applications from all over the country till now. "The prime objective of the scheme is to create a demand for energy efficient buildings," said Sanjay Seth, energy economist (buildings) with bee. The rating assesses energy efficiency of five categories of buildings--offices, hotels, retail malls and IT parks.

The bee has evolved energy performance indices for buildings in different climatic zones in the country. The applicants are asked to give details including total built-up area, air-conditioned area and hours of operation. Based on this, energy auditors calculate per square metre energy used by the building in a year (KWh/sqm/year). Lower the energy consumed, higher the star rating. For example the rbi headquarters in Delhi which is in the composite climatic zone got four stars as it uses 90-115 KWh/sqm energy in a year. To get five stars it will need to lower consumption to 90 KWh/sqm. The star rating is valid for five years.

Shabnam Bassi, bee's project engineer (buildings) said some of the buildings that have applied may have to be retrofitted. The money saved on electricity bills would offset the expense of retrofitting, she said while adding all big buildings should become energy efficient as the Energy Conservation Building Code, which is voluntary now, will become mandatory later. The initiative also aims to discourage excess heating and air conditioning.

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