Energy Environment

Solar Decathlon announces winners of energy efficient building challenge

India has a unique opportunity to aggressively decarbonize the construction sector.

New Delhi: Union Minister of State for Science & Technology, Dr Jitendra Singh today called for promoting StarUps in “carbon neutral” building construction and linking them with industry to help India achieve 500GW non-fossil energy capacity by 2030, as promised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at COP26 meeting.

In his Special Address as Chief Guest at the Solar Decathlon India Awards Ceremony, an Indo-US joint initiative for clean energy, Dr. Jitendra Singh urged real estate developers, builders, industry, and academia to find innovative, affordable solutions that adapt to India’s climatic zones and unique needs, address extreme weather events, and reduce risk to lives and property.

Dr Jitendra Singh promised all financial support from DST and at the same time urged businesses to come forward with open arms to adopt such ventures. He said, apart from clean and green buildings, emphasis on clean transportation, solar water pumps and solar-powered refrigeration, clean grid power, electric vehicles are some of the important areas for India’s cleantech ecosystem.

Dr Jitendra Singh informed that Solar Decathlon India is a U.S.-India collaboration under an MOU between the Indo-U.S. Science and Technology Forum (IUSSTF) and the US Department of Energy, and is conducted by the Alliance for an Energy Efficient Economy (AEEE) and the Indian Institute for Human Settlements (IIHS). Solar Decathlon India is supported by the Department of Science and Technology (DST).

The Minister said, Solar Decathlon India is a unique initiative that is building a network of young professionals who can innovate and implement resilient net- zero energy buildings to combat climate change, as well as a network of faculty instructors who can guide innovation and mentor multi-disciplinary projects. In only its second year, 1200 students representing 109 institutions from 42 different cities across India participated in the Solar Decathlon India program.

Dr Jitendra Singh said, DST is also playing an active role in the Mission Innovation program and has opened avenues for collaborative research in clean energy with 25 countries and added that Solar Decathlon India teams in partnership with builders and developers can take forward DST’s R&D and implement them on real building projects.

Dwelling on the theme of Climate Change and Net-Zero: Challenges for the Building Sector, Dr Jitendra Singh said, globally, the construction and operation of buildings account for 38% of the total energy related CO2 emissions that cause global warming. He said, India is experiencing a building boom, and almost 70% of the floor area that India will have in 2050 is going to be new construction in the next 28 years. This presents a huge opportunity to make 70% of our buildings net-zero by leveraging new technologies and encouraging the use of local, sustainable building materials,

Prasad Vaidya, Director, Solar Decathlon India, said “With over 5,00,000 students graduating annually from building sector courses, and over 40 billion square metres of buildings to be built between now and 2050, India has a unique opportunity to aggressively decarbonize this new construction and build a large stock of net-zero buildings. Solar Decathlon India is the hub where this opportunity comes together for the real estate industry to explore climate change solutions with students and faculty, and apply the most feasible technology and design innovations on their projects.”

Dr. Nandini Kannan, Executive Director, Indo-U.S. Science and Technology Forum, highlighted Solar Decathlon India said “Achieving India’s ambitious climate and clean energy goals will require the development of a globally-trained workforce that leverages technology and cutting-edge R&D to develop innovative, impactful solutions.

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