Nagpur has embarked on an ambitious plan to combat climate change by decarbonising its building sector. In a one-of-a-kind initiative in the country, the city has developed a Zero Carbon Building (ZCB) Action Plan to cut down the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the lifecycle of buildings.
Being the third largest city in the state of Maharashtra, and with a composite climate that experiences some of the harshest summers in the region, Nagpur is seeing rising demand for artificial cooling, especially in residential buildings. This is having an impact on the city’s carbon emissions. In 2017-18, 64% of the emissions in Nagpur came from electricity consumption in commercial, residential and institutional buildings. Additionally, the predominant construction technique in the city relies on reinforced cement concrete, which is both energy intensive and thermally inefficient. The city, therefore, has increasingly felt the need to transition to low-carbon construction strategies and thermal and energy-efficient built spaces to help reduce its carbon emissions.
The ZCB Action Plan
As a result, the Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) and the Nagpur Smart and Sustainable City Development Corporation Limited (NSSCDCL) initiated and implemented the Zero Carbon Buildings Accelerator (ZCBA) Programme, with ICLEI South Asia providing technical assistance. Nagpur has a city-council approved climate action plan that highlights the necessity of the building sector’s decarbonisation. The city had also implemented the Building Efficiency Accelerator (BEA) Programme to promote the development of climate-responsive and energy-efficient buildings. The ZCB Action Plan now equips the city to advance from energy-efficient to zero-carbon buildings and aims to make all upcoming buildings ‘net-zero carbon’ by 2030 and, likewise, all buildings by 2050. It is the outcome of extensive secondary research and discussions with key stakeholders in the building sector value chain, including government officials, architects, engineers, material manufacturers and vendors, researchers and academicians and real estate developers.
The ZCB Action Plan proposes policy-based and technical interventions for emissions reduction for the pre-construction, during-construction, operational, and end-of-life building stages, and also outlines clear goals across these interventions in the short, medium and long term, which can be scaled up as per the action plan milestones. Certain priority interventions for each stage of a building, especially for public buildings and pilot projects, as well as good practices from other cities and states, are also highlighted in the plan. The interventions are expected to bring benefits such as improved climate resilience, energy savings, emissions reduction, resource efficiency and improved health and well-being for the people.
The city administration and the building industry stakeholders have expressed the need to adopt the recommendations from the action plan, backed by suitable incentives and a favourable policy push. To start with, the city administration intends to implement green building interventions in two upcoming public buildings and incorporate clauses that favour low-carbon construction in tender documents.
Nagpur city has shown its commitment towards low-carbon development by signing up for global initiatives such as Race to Zero and the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy (GCoM). The implementation of the ZCB Action Plan will contribute towards these international commitments and most importantly will contribute to India’s international commitments to combatting climate change and achieving Sustainable Development Goals.