In many developing countries, rising energy demand and carbon emissions are indicators of increasing prosperity. This trajectory has consequences for more than just global carbon emissions. It also affects countries such as India in achieving their developmental goals.
In most developing countries growth in energy demand far outstrips growth in supply. This is because of the large capital investment required to build energy infrastructure. Thus, even people with access to energy networks can find that their comfort needs aren't met because of supply shortages.
Yet, the most critical problem is often not mean demand. For example, mean per capita energy demand in India is only 13% of that in the UK. The real issue is peak demand as it lays immense stress on already fragile networks. So people's need for comfortable internal conditions is compromised when they need it most: during extreme heat or cold.
Our project addresses peak demand reduction by aiming to cut peak demand in buildings where it is created. In most developing countries, the majority of future building stock is not yet built. This gives us a real opportunity to decouple economic growth from building energy use while ensuring comfortable conditions. We aim to achieve this by laying the foundations for a new science of zero peak energy building design for warm climates.
We will achieve this by considering the weather signal, both now and in the future. This is critical for any realistic assessment of mean and peak energy demand. We will also focus on delivering a method of construction compatible with the Indian climate, its building practices and social customs. This will ensure that we avoid the trap of an 'imported' standard.
We will create 60 pathways for a range of building types in six cities comprising different climates. We will also consider how to move loads between buildings to achieve a smooth demand profile at network level.