This invitation-only roundtable was aimed at identifying concrete ways to unlock the potential of energy efficient and low carbon affordable housing in India, with a focus on operational energy use, an issue that had not yet been rigorously examined in India’s transitioning real- estate landscape.
The government’s Housing for All mission aims to build 12 million units in urban areas by 2022. The choices on how these houses are constructed will impact the form of Indian cities, the location of affordable residential areas, and the social practices of urban citizens for the coming decades. The affordable housing transition will also have immense implications for India’s future energy usage and carbon emissions. First, the formal and informal construction of housing will have an energy and resources requirement which will be embodied in the buildings. Second, the increase in families living in pukka, formally tenured affordable housing, with rising family income levels, will change how households use energy. Increasing electricity access and technological options, and rising incomes rise will determine the types of appliances and cooling technologies we require. The way affordable housing is designed and how energy-services within them are pursued will lock-in energy consumption patterns of low and lower-middle income groups in India -- yet we have almost no benchmarks on how changes in housing lead to changes in energy consumptions and shifts in social outcomes. This roundtable focussed on how operational energy use within affordable housing could be better managed to ensure well-being, and energy and carbon savings.
The roundtable drew on CPR’s recent work on examining energy use in affordable housing units. The work, with support of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, is based on a 2017 survey conducted in Rajkot, Gujarat. The work’s findings were used to kick-off the discussion on how to reduce energy consumption while meeting development objectives. For instance, can the success of the LED bulb program be replicated for other appliances such as fans and other cooling technologies?