Energy Efficiency

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06 Apr, 2023

Breathing Life into energy efficiency

India has made giant strides in energy efficiency and conservation in the last few years at the national level. A strategic and thoughtful approach is needed to achieve the ambitious climate change goals India has pledged. The country faces the daunting challenge of providing cost-effective, low-carbon energy and complementing it with energy-efficient policies, designs, and technologies. Understanding the nuances of energy efficiency and conservation is critical for eliminating energy wastage, reduce carbon footprints and fulfil its energy needs sustainably and equitably. A conscious shift in attitude, behavior, and lifestyles is urgently needed to optimize energy conservation efforts.

Although India is the largest/second-largest country by population, its carbon footprint is less than 5%, and per capita CO2 emissions are only 40% of the global average. According to the ‘World Energy Outlook 2022’, the country’s coal generation and oil imports will peak in 2030, with gas imports doubling around the same time. The increase in national carbon emissions is unavoidable considering the developmental and growth imperative our country of 1.4 billion people faces in the short term and implies it needs to utilize a hybrid mix of fossil fuels and renewable energy.

India has already taken the lead and pressed ahead with the commitment to responsibly deploy fossil fuels while making extraordinary efforts to ramp up renewable energy production. It must achieve its goal of lowering emission-intensity by striking the right balance between green energy supplies and mitigating energy demand through energy-efficient cultural change.

The energy conservation and efficiency ethos are at the heart of the prime minister’s clarion call of Lifestyle for Environment (Life). By adopting energy-efficient technologies and practices, we can ensure sustainable development and equitable growth through responsible consumption and behavioral changes, making India a responsible and energy-secure nation.

India’s growth and development require a sizeable carbon budget in the short term, given the ongoing expansion of infrastructure and urbanization. The war against climate change will be long and arduous, and every effort will count. For example, the widespread practice of turning off the fans, air coolers, and ACs when not in use, and only cooling the occupied areas, will significantly impact lowering the nation’s and, indeed, the global carbon footprint. We must understand the true significance and power of Life in this context.

We must also make smart investments in green jobs and sustainable infrastructure that will entail investing in skill development and training the youth to prepare them for mitigating the impact of climate change and helping build climate-resilient infrastructure. The country needs to train the next generation of architects and engineers who will be equipped with the specialized knowledge, tools, and a sound and holistic understanding of the sciences and arts to design net-zero energy, water, and waste buildings and habitats to achieve the Net Zero goal enshrined in India’s Panchamrit proclamations.

The country’s priority to provide thermal comfort for all will require policy, technological and behavioural aspects, working cohesively with each other to promote the manufacturing and development of the most energy-efficient technologies. There is a requirement to develop the greenest heat exchangers, compressors, and refrigerants. Adopting cost-effective, energy-efficient technologies would also require climate investments to benefit most of the Indian population. This, in turn, will ensure micro-level behavioural changes.

As per the India Cooling Action Plan, by 2037, the demand for cooling is likely to be eight times more than the current levels. In this scenario, we must deploy alternative and innovative energy-efficient technologies for keeping buildings and habitats cool. At the macro level, promo


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