Researchers receive major grant to help improve the energy efficiency of millions of homes in India

Thursday, 02 November 2017

RESIDE-Project800x450

A research team led by Professor Rajat Gupta of Oxford Brookes University has secured a major research grant to help support the improvement of living conditions for millions of citizens in India.

The project, entitled Residential building energy demand reduction in India (RESIDE), aims to establish an empirical knowledge base to develop a residential building energy code for high-quality, low-energy housing across all five climatic zones in India.

It has been funded by the UK’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the Economic and Social Science Research Council (ESRC) and the Government of India’s Department of Science and Technology (DST).

Minister of State for Universities and Science, Jo Johnson MP, announced yesterday (1 November) a series of joint UK/India investments in interdisciplinary energy research, including the RESIDE project. 

Professor Rajat Gupta, Director of the Oxford Institute for Sustainable Development and the Low Carbon Building Research Group at Oxford Brookes University said:

“Through helping to reduce the currently predicted eightfold increase in residential energy consumption in India by 2050, the RESIDE project acknowledges the extensive benefits that may be accrued across the entire energy sector from the promotion of a new residential building code strongly grounded in evidence applicable to all five of India’s climatic zones.”

Reduction in energy demand from the residential sector will lead to a more secure energy supply network and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

Residential buildings make up the majority of building energy use in India - using nearly 6.5 times more  than commercial and public services sector, and consumption is expected to grow four-fold by 2030 due to an ever-increasing GDP, the number of urban households increases, alongside a greater penetration of electrical appliances. This offers tremendous scope and untapped potential for energy demand reduction in this sector – and what the RESIDE project is designed to address.

The four-year research project will receive a grant of £1.5 million from UK’s EPSRC and India’s DST, and will bring together a team of architects, engineers, digital scientists, urban planners and behavioural researchers to assess all aspects of the residential energy use problem, including performance of the building fabric; in-home appliances including heating, ventilation and air conditioning; indoor environment and occupant behaviour.

Through helping to reduce the currently predicted eightfold increase in residential energy consumption in India by 2050, the RESIDE project acknowledges the extensive benefits that may be accrued across the entire energy sector from the promotion of a new residential building code strongly grounded in evidence applicable to all five of India’s climatic zones.

Professor Rajat Gupta, Oxford Brookes University

RESIDE will undertake surveys and monitoring of energy consumption in 2000 homes across the five different climatic zones in India, in order to build up a new, open access database for policy and practitioner communities in India and other countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

Professor Gupta continues: “In 10% of these homes, we will also trial and evaluate a Smart Home Energy Management System to enable householders to have greater control over their comfort and energy consumption.”

These activities will be used to develop low-cost monitoring and post-occupancy evaluation protocols to build a framework by which consistent data can be collected and added to the RESIDE database.

Using novel techniques including the award-winning DECoRuM carbon mapping approach developed by Prof Gupta and Matt Gregg, RESIDE will explore and establish protocols for assessing the potential for, and likely benefits of widespread take-up of energy efficiency and rooftop solar technologies on a community scale.

By engaging with a wide range of stakeholders involved in planning and construction throughout the project, and by undertaking an extensive review of policy experiences in similar countries, the project will establish the key factors essential for consideration in the development of a new residential building code for India. 

RESIDE is funded by the Government of India’s Department of Science and Technology (DST) and EPSRC and ESRC, as part of the Research Councils UK (RCUK) Energy Programme on Energy demand reduction in the Built Environment as part of the Joint India/UK Newton Bhabha Fund.

RESIDE builds on ongoing India research by the Low Carbon Building Group, including the United Nations funded project 'Mainstreaming sustainable social housing in India’ which seeks to promote sustainability as an integral part of social housing, and the recently launched  Newton Fund supported Learn-BPE project on evaluating the actual performance of green buildings in India.

The RESIDE India team is led by Principal Investigator Dr Vishal Garg from IIIT Hyderabad and Co-investigator Prof Jyotirmay Mathur from MNIT Jaipur – both premier research institutions in India - and the University of the West of England, Bristol.