Energy Conservation Building Code

GS Paper II

News Excerpt:

Recently, the Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA), in its World Energy Outlook 2023 report, has highlighted India's Energy Conservation Building Code (ECBC), 2017.

Key Points:

  • IEA highlighted through its report that India’s Energy Conservation Building Code (ECBC), 2017 for commercial buildings, sets it apart from other developing economies where “energy efficiency in buildings stands out as a laggard”.
  • India was cited as one of the few rising markets and developing economies with energy efficiency construction rules as a "notable exception."

What is the Energy Conservation Building Code (ECBC)?

  • ECBC establishes minimal energy requirements for commercial buildings to allow compliant structures to achieve energy savings of 25–50%. 
  • The code applies to commercial buildings with a connected load of 100 kW or more or a contract demand of 120 kVA, such as hospitals, hotels, schools, shopping centres, and multiplexes.
  • Building envelopes (walls, roofing, windows), lighting systems, HVAC systems, and electrical power systems are the six primary components of building design that are examined. The standards under these components are divided into mandatory and prescriptive.
  • This code is for both new buildings and retrofitting existing buildings.
  • Three tags in ascending order of efficiency, namely ECBC, ECBC Plus, and Super ECBC, are assigned to Compliant buildings.

Implementation status of ECBC in India:

  • Although ECBC serves as a national standard, individual states in India are free to alter it to suit their own particular requirements. States must create regulations and publish them as laws to enforce the code.
  • Only 15 states have notified rules based on the most recent ECBC, 2017, even though 23 out of 28 states have reported rules. States like Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Telangana, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Kerala are among them.
  • Gujarat, Maharashtra, J&K, Ladakh, and Manipur have not notified ECBC rules. 
    • These states risk losing out on the advantages of guaranteeing energy efficiency in commercial buildings if the ECBC regulations are delayed. 
    • For example, according to the National Research Development Corporation, "with effective ECBC compliance, where about 90% of newly constructed commercial buildings would be compliant with some level of the ECBC, Gujarat can save nearly 83 terawatt-hours (TWh) of energy by 2030." 
    • The potential savings are fairly high given Gujarat’s total electricity consumption of 106 TWh in 2022.

State Energy Efficiency Index (SEEI):

  • In 2022, BEE released the State Energy Efficiency Index (SEEI), ranking states according to several energy-efficiency criteria. 
  • According to the ranking, Karnataka scored 22.5 out of a possible 25 points, making it the highest-rated state in the SEEI for energy efficiency in buildings.
    • It was followed by Telangana, Haryana, Andhra Pradesh, and Punjab as the top five large states with the best scores. 
  • Bihar was given the lowest score of 0.5 points. With Bihar, states like Odisha, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, and Jharkhand were the five worst-rated states for energy efficiency in buildings.

Energy Conservation (Amendment) Act in 2022:

  • India passed the Energy Conservation (Amendment) Act in 2022, which further expands the ambit of building codes in the country.
    • It provides for the transitioning of ECBC into the Energy Conservation and Sustainability Building Code by incorporating measures relating to embedded carbon, net zero emissions, materials and resource efficiency, deployment of clean energy, and circularity. 
    • It also makes ECO Niwas Samhita, the residential building energy code, mandatory. 
  • This is crucial as residential buildings use 75% of the total electricity consumed in the building sector. 
  • The government is also expected to update ECO Niwas Samhita, following which states will notify rules based on the code.

Schemes To Promote Energy Conservation And Energy Efficiency

  • Standards and Labeling: The Bureau initiated the Standards and Labeling programme for equipment and appliances in 2006 to provide the consumer with an informed choice about energy saving and, thereby, the cost-saving potential of the relevant marketed product.  
  • National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency (NMEEE): The National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency (NMEEE) is one of the eight missions under the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC). NMEEE aims to strengthen the market for energy efficiency by creating conducive regulatory and policy regimes and has envisaged fostering innovative and sustainable business models in the energy efficiency sector.
  • Promotion of Energy-Efficient LED Bulbs – UJALA scheme: UJALA scheme aims to promote efficient use of energy at the residential level, enhance the awareness of consumers about the efficacy of using energy-efficient appliances, and aggregate demand to reduce the high initial costs, thus facilitating higher uptake of LED lights by residential users.  


India is focused on environmental conservation through energy conservation. The IEA recognises that India is among the few developing countries with building codes for commercial and residential buildings, and the uniform enforcement of these codes can lead to significant energy savings in the sector.


Prelims PYQ

Q. On which of the following, can you find the Bureau of Energy Efficiency Star Label? (UPSC 2016)

  1. Ceiling fans
  2. Electric geysers
  3. Tubular fluorescent lamps

Select the correct answer using the codes given below:

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 3 only

(c) 2 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

Mains PYQ

Q. Give an account of the current status and the targets to be achieved pertaining to renewable energy sources in the country. Discuss in brief the importance of National Programmme on Light Emitting diodes (LEDs). (UPSC 2016)

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