Residential buildings in Thane use most energy, are highest emitters, ET RealEstate

August 27, 2023

THANE: The lake city of Thane could face extreme weather conditions, including increased minimum temperature, annual average rainfall and flash floods in the coming years due to high greenhouse gas emissions generated from residential complexes and the public transport system, according to an analysis by a team of experts.

The analysis, from the National Institute of Urban Affairs, which works under the Union housing ministry, and the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI), South Asia, made this projection based on energy consumption patterns from 15 smart cities, including Thane.

“Thane is a residential hub; hence, consumption of electricity is high due to use of household gadgets and appliances,” said an expert from ICLEI associated with the report titled ‘State of Cities: Towards Low Carbon and Resilient Pathways’.

Residential buildings consume the highest energy (47%) and are the highest emitters of greenhouse gases (43%). The public transport service, including buses, is another big contributor (36.9%). However, the report states “corrective action” could reduce emissions in Thane by 22% by 2025-26.

The recommendations for Thane include making rooftop solar and solar water heaters mandatory for all buildings and conducting energy audits for retrofits. “The transport sector could introduce electric buses with solar vehicle charging facilities at depots, and replacing existing diesel buses with CNG,” said an expert. Changes in the wastewater treatment, stormwater management and solid waste management are also needed.

A Thane Municipal Corporation official said some corrective actions have already been implemented in the city. “The Thane general body passed a resolution years ago for all new complexes to implement rain harvesting and rooftop solar panelling before securing occupation certificate.” TMC, which has a mix of electric, diesel and CNG-powered buses, add 303 e-powered buses to its fleet soon.

Environmental activist Rohit Joshi said that apart from introducing e-buses, the focus should be on reducing the number of private vehicles on city roads. “Buildings should be designed in a manner where they optimise maximum ventilation and natural light, reducing the dependency on artificial illumination,” he said.

Lubaina Rangwala of the World Resources Institute (WRI) said, “Among all the emissions, buildings and transport are the leading contributors in cities such as Mumbai and Thane.” She said the construction industry should be supported to shift to sustainable green practices by optimising resources such as cement, steel, sand, water and electricity should be the top priority at this point of time.

Vaibhav Chaturvedi of not-for-profit Council on Energy, Environment and Water said, “Policies are being made to tackle direct emissions from transport and indirect emissions due to buildings. However, ensuring proper implementation of the rules and regulations designed basis our emission inventories is crucial at the ground level. Hence, ground-level officers in the state or local administration will play a crucial role in mitigating net zero emission targets.”

Sandeep Prabhu, chairman, Maharashtra chapter of the Indian Institute of Architects, said the trend of bringing in a ‘Western look’ to structures needs to be reduced. “We need to switch back to our conventional methods of cross-ventilation and use of natural materials like stones. These steps will help in reducing the need for ACs and even illumination in residential structures,” he said.

  • Published On Aug 17, 2023 at 01:00 PM IST

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