Even during this unprecedented time of COVID-19, the work to eliminate the existential threat of climate change must continue with a renewed sense of urgency. Advocacy and awareness around climate change, sustainability, resiliency and equity are at an all-time high and that is in no small part due to the recognition that the impact of climate change disproportionately impacts the poorest and most vulnerable people in the world. In India and around the world, many non-governmental organizations (NGO), governments and corporations have risen to the occasion and modeled their advocacy and commitments based on the framework of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). These goals, adopted by all United Nations member states in 2015, recognize that ending poverty goes hand-in-hand with addressing a wide range of social needs including sustainable cities and communities; responsible consumption and production; affordable and clean energy; good health and well-being; climate action and reduced inequality.
Since many of these SDGs are directly tied to sustainability in our buildings, the real estate and construction sectors—especially those sectors aligned with green building—have an outsized role and opportunity to influence and impact how successful we are in achieving these goals. And because these directly align with the health and wellness of both people and the planet—we have no time to waste.
One area in which the building sector and India must continue to make progress is enhanced energy efficiency. India has been a global leader on climate change mitigation and has initiated eight national programs under the umbrella of the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC), including the National Mission on Enhanced Energy Efficiency (which, as the name implies, focuses on scaling building efficiencies); the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission which was formed to establish India as a global leader in solar energy by creating the policy foundations for solar uptake and the National Mission on Sustainable Habitat (which aims to move cities toward sustainability through metrics including the energy efficiency of buildings, better management of solid waste and public transportation). The Government of India also provides leadership through the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) which focuses on reducing the energy intensity of the Indian Economy. The BEE launched the Energy Conservation Building Code that establishes minimum requirements for energy-efficient design and construction for buildings and provides guidelines for sustainable buildings.
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