How smart technologies can help India meet its climate targets: Anil Chaudhry, Schneider Electric

Reading time: 3 minutes
16 March 2016

Anil Chaudhry, Country President and Managing Director, Schneider Electric, India, analyzes the energy-saving potential of smart technologies in Indian homes. Schneider Electric is a multinational corporation that produces installation components for energy management and specializes in electricity distribution and automation management. This is part of The Climate Group’s project Home2025.

Around 40% of global emissions could be prevented with energy-efficiency measures, according to a scenario from the International Energy Agency

The building industry is one of the biggest energy guzzlers, with buildings accounting for almost one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions. Therefore, efforts to reduce energy use in homes can pay high dividends in lowering our global carbon footprint.

Beyond homes, the sustainability and energy-efficiency mantra must be embraced by all verticals, such as business and government, so industry can be based on low carbon technologies and sustainability.

In India, the development agenda must be balanced with the environmental agenda, as shown in the country’s Intended Nationally Determined Contributions submitted in the run up to COP21.

But in a nation where 70% of the populace still resides in rural regions without access to electricity in their homes, how India develops over the next 2-3 decades will also have big global implications.

Currently, a lack of access to modern energy fuels forces rural people to depend upon kerosene, biomass and other fossil fuels. These not only produce indoor pollutants that negatively impact human health, but also contribute to global carbon emissions.

It’s also important to note the role rural women play in gathering these fuels and feeling the brunt of indoor pollution. Carbon-reduction efforts should accordingly keep in mind climate impacts on these women.  

DIGITAL POWER

With India’s power sector primarily-dependent upon coal-based thermal power plants, its carbon footprint is concomitantly higher. Given the Indian Government’s focus on boosting the power mix through renewable energy sources, other stakeholders should make complementary efforts to meet the country’s carbon reduction commitments.

It’s here that digital technology can help improve energy efficiency by connecting and automating all lighting, heating, air-conditioning and other machines used in homes and buildings.

Connectivity and automation via smart technology ensure equipment is used intelligently as and when required, with less depletion of resources.

For example, smart meters regulate energy flow across a house making energy consumption visible, minimizing energy use and ensuring lower bills, while automated heating ventilation and air-conditioning systems switch off the moment a room is unoccupied.

SMARTER ENERGY

As the Indian Government implements ambitious programs such as Housing for All, 100 Smart Cities, AMRUT (Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation), Make In India, 24x7 Power for All and a nationwide infrastructure development drive during this decade, smart technology will gain increasing prominence.

But whatever measures are taken today to curb carbon emissions will have to be scaled up significantly in the years ahead, since total energy consumption is expected to double by the year 2050, while electricity consumption double by 2030. Considering this scenario, GHG emissions will need to be halved.

On the other hand, energy generation, transmission and consumption needs to become four times more efficient. Or, in other words, generation of power will have to consume one-fourth of the fossil fuels being used at present-day levels.

Clearly, such steep targets impart urgency to climate goals hitherto missing from the agenda. But the question arises whether it is possible to meet such goals. Thanks to new technologies that are developed and brought to the market every year, the answer is ‘Yes’.

Schneider provides focused technology solutions to reduce energy consumption by 30% in existing buildings and up to 70% in well-designed new construction, introducing energy-efficient technologies and generating on-site safe, reliable, clean power through our “Be Lean, Be Mean and Be Green” strategy.

Such solutions help reduce carbon emissions goals on a larger scale too, which could benefit state and national targets.

BIG BENEFITS

For India’s emerging economy, smart technologies are indispensable because in the coming decades, urbanization, digitization and industrialization will be the three main drivers requiring modern infrastructure.

Beset with various pain points in meeting 24x7 power demands across the country, India could become one of the most energy-insecure nations by 2025, if corrective measures are not implemented.

With the Indian government’s ambitious goals for infrastructure development and the adoption of smart technologies in urban homes and super-efficient rural homes – for example with LED lights, DC-powered fans and television sets regulated by charge controllers to manage power demand – renewable power becomes crucial.

Against this backdrop, in August 2015, Schneider Electric launched a full suite of integrated one-stop smart homes’ solutions, offering multiple benefits and promoting energy efficiency via energy utilization technologies, advanced metering infrastructure and low-cost energy storage devices.

Although Indian markets are largely untapped as far as smart homes are concerned, it is clear there is immense potential that will benefit large numbers of homeowners by opening up new markets while also benefiting the nation.

For instance, smart homes and smart metering can save India up to US$20 billion annually by 2025. Energy-efficient technologies for homes, buildings and vehicles can save US$15 billion worth of energy.

ECONOMIC SAVINGS

Collectively, these smart technology applications used in energy could have an economic impact of US$50-95 billion a year in 2025 in India.

The savings in terms of safeguarding the environment cannot be quantified in monetary terms, but will be equally significant.

Besides the energy-savings potential, smart homes’ technologies could save lives too.

Safety and security of children and elders is assured through CCTV and motion-sensitive or night-vision cameras as well as via intruder alarms. Smart homes with voice command systems can also benefit bed- and wheelchair-bound patients.

And in case of accidental short circuits and fires, circuit breakers automatically stop power supply. Ground-fault circuit breakers in bathrooms – where the chances of fatal shock during leakage are high – can also stop power within milliseconds.

There are collateral benefits too. Premium homes with smart technologies justify higher price tags and can command higher resale values. For end-users and investors, smart homes will ensure better resale values because they offer more value for money due to their energy-saving potential and exclusivity.

Innovation and new technologies such as smart homes will play a pivotal role in ensuring the ultimate success of global climate change initiatives – and making Earth a better and cleaner place for all.

Back to Home2025. For information please contact us at home2025@theclimategroup.org

 

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