This project supports the Climate Smart Buildings programme of GIZ in India. This programme, in turn, focuses on supporting Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Government of India, in enhancing climate resilience and thermal comfort in affordable housing. The aim of Climate Smart Buildings is to reduce thermal discomfort hours in affordable housing by at least 50 per cent and to save energy over the buildings' life cycle compared to conventional building practice. This shall be achieved through passive design strategies, low embodied energy materials, and other technological innovations. The programme aptly brackets the concept of adaptive thermal comfort with energy efficiency. In doing so, given the no-cost impact of adaptive thermal comfort, the program is anticipated to drive a transformational change in meeting energy efficiency targets. By avoiding investment (in cooling, insulation, etc.), increasing thermal comfort and reducing operating costs, the aim is to show that affordability and comfort complement each other well.
The project TCAP-India consists of three work packages to achieve this transformation. Each work package is designed to accelerate market adoption and requires close coordination among various actors and stakeholders. Activities by the project team include, developing a standard for enhancing adaptive thermal comfort of occupants in affordable housing; developing a guideline for implementation of thermal comfort requirements in affordable housing sector of India; and providing technical assistance in developing Thermal Comfort Action Plan 2050 and training modules on thermal comfort for widespread dissemination.
The approach is based on a pragmatic balance between speed and ease of construction and achieving the optimum thermal comfort for the occupants, considering the socio-cultural diversity and construction methods and climates in India. The researchers also propose to base the standard on a life-cycle resource use perspective and focus on the gender and age-related factors that shape the impact of any housing design policy.