Energy Use Intensity Benchmarks for Mixed Mode Operation of Net-Zero Energy Buildings in India

Gaurav Vakil, Sreejith Jayaram, Jaydeep Bhadra, Yashima Jain, Prasad Vaidya, Vismaya Paralkar, & Matthew Dahlhausen   | 2023


Buildings in India account for a third of all energy use, and the building sector is expected to double the floor space in the next decade. Large-scale adoption of net-zero-energy buildings (NZEB) is required to reduce the emissions from the building sector. However, Energy Use Intensity (EUI) benchmarks for NZEBs are not available for Indian buildings. This creates several challenges in large scale implementation. These challenges were observed in the Solar Decathlon India (SDI) challenge in 2020-21, where student teams designing NZEBs submitted EUI results that varied by a factor of six within the same building typology. To give the student teams a benchmark to work towards, the organisers conducted a simulation study for six building types which were part of the competition. Out of the six divisions, the Construction Worker Housing division was identified to be presented for this paper, which is a building type that is less explored globally.

A rigorous method was devised based on national and international building standards. Natural Ventilation was prioritized as the primary mode of operation followed by fan assisted operation and air-conditioning where the comfort hours could not be met. It was found that operating the building in Mixed Mode (MM) with a variable AC setpoint temperature and the use of a ceiling fan during occupied hours can result in an energy reduction of 58% for all climate zones and achieving 100% comfort during occupied hours. From this study, the authors would like to highlight the methodology used and the probability of implementing the same methodology for other building types to setup national benchmarks.