Building Net Zero


Study looks at emissions from the buildings sector that can make or mar India’s net-zero transition.

Shelter is a crucial indicator of development and progress and is key to ensuring a decent quality of life for citizens. CSTEP’s work in using system dynamics to understand India’s pathways to a net zero economy has put the spotlight on the buildings sector.

Although the need for buildings — for housing and public infrastructure — is paramount, buildings are a key contributor to India’s energy demand and greenhouse gas emissions. CSTEP’s study ‘Pathways to Steer India’s Buildings Sector Towards a Net-Zero Future’ found that emissions related to India’s growing building sector (between 2020 and 2070) would exceed India’s carbon budget by 2%. Without climate interventions, buildings would end up contributing to 21% of India’s total emissions in 2070. Achieving India’s development aspirations such as ensuring housing for all and thermal comfort for a decent living standard will lead to India overshooting its carbon budget by 8%. But, there is hope.

The study points out that adopting decarbonisation pathways in the sector can reduce emissions by 43%, with interventions in the industry sector alone having the potential to reduce 59% of emissions. Interventions such as restrictions on approving the construction of new coal-fired power plants, integration of rooftop solar systems in residential spaces, and transitioning to energy-efficient appliances and electric cooking in both urban and rural areas can significantly contribute to reducing emissions from the buildings sector.

At the launch of CSTEP’s report on 18 March, Dr Ritu Mathur, Senior Energy Economist at the NITI Aayog, appreciated CSTEP’s work and said, ‘providing affordable housing is crucial to India’s development while also ensuring a holistic and integrated approach to address the challenges facing the buildings sector’.

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