Unscrewing the climate change lightbulb with 5,000 net-zero-energy professionals
conference contributionposted on 09.09.2021, 08:33 authored by Jaydeep BhadraJaydeep Bhadra, Yashima Jain, Janani Venkatesh, Prasad Vaidya
India’s fast-growing economy accounted for 7.3% of global emissions in 2018. Summer temperatures in many cities cross 40ºC and extreme weather events leave large sections of the population vulnerable to climate change risks. India’s building sector will expand by 6 billion m2 and cooling demand is expected to grow 15-fold in the next 20 years. For the 2°C pathway and India’s Nationally Determined Contributions, a 50% reduction in building energy demand is needed by 2050. Solutions for net-zero energy buildings (NZEB) that are resilient need to be implemented at a large scale, going beyond the energy codes that still have to take root in India. About 500,000 students graduate every year in India from building sector-related courses, with a curriculum that does not prepare them to implement NZEBs. Out of the 450+ architecture colleges, less than 20 have coursework related to energy-efficiency or sustainable design. This is a huge capacity deficit.
This paper summarizes the structure of Solar Decathlon India and the learning from its first year. It was launched in 2020 as an annual competition where students partner with real estate entities to provide net-zero, affordable, and resilient design solutions for real projects. This program builds capacity by providing online distance learning and allows students to get hands-on experience on real projects. In its first year, the competition has been able to reach 944 students, 165 faculty members, 53 real estate partners, and 63 manufacturers who have formed an ecosystem interested in finding affordable NZEB solutions. The structure of the competition has allowed it to be included in coursework, but it has also enabled students and faculty to participate outside the curriculum in many institutions. It also highlights how the program with a pedagogy that can scale into thousands of students is well aligned with the National Education Policy, National Missions that were set up under India’s National Action Plan on Climate Change, UN Sustainable Development Goals and speed up the implementation of pathways towards the 1.5°C limit under the Paris Agreement. The paper makes a case for creative approaches to scaling up capacity building in ways that excite the students and faculty while engaging with the industry and delivering market-ready solutions.
- Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering