NRDC: Indian Office Building Retrofit is Exemplar

by | Apr 22, 2013

A retrofit of the iconic Godrej Bhavan office building in South Mumbai that cut its electricity costs by 28 percent shows that such projects are practical and profitable in India’s rapidly transforming building stock, according to the National Resources Defense Council.

As described in the case study, Saving Money and Energy: Case Study of the Energy-Efficiency Retrofit of the Godrej Bhavan Building in Mumbai, Godrej & Boyce upgraded the six-story South Mumbai building in 2010 after decades of paying high electricity bills. By implementing comprehensive energy-efficiency and sustainability features – including efficient cooling and lighting systems, energy management and metering, and water flow metering – Godrej Bhavan has achieved what BRDC calls “significant” financial and environmental quality benefits for the building owners and occupants.

Two years after the upgrade, Godrej Bhavan’s electricity use has already dropped by more than 12 percent, representing a 28.6 percent savings in electricity costs. The company is on track to quickly recover the costs of its energy efficiency retrofits. Electricity bill savings alone will allow Godrej & Boyce to pay back retrofit costs of Rs. 5,384,000 ($99,334) in as little as 4.7 years. Fifteen years after the upgrade, Godrej & Boyce could realize up to Rs. 6,980,000 ($128,781) in cumulative electric bill savings.

Godrej Bhavan’s experience provides other building owners and real estate developers with an example of real-world payback scenarios for efficiency upgrades and important lessons learned, NRDC says. These include ensuring top-level support among business and building owners for efficiency and cost-saving targets; taking advantage of low-hanging efficiency opportunities, including upgrades to HVAC, lighting, and building management systems; and training building staff to analyze and improve on the energy performance of building operations.

This case study comes on the tail of historic blackouts in July 2012, which left 700 million people without power, revealing the severity of India’s energy crisis. As India continues to urbanize, its building-occupied area is estimated to climb sharply, from 8 billion square meters in 2005 to a projected 41 billion square meters in 2030, according to McKinsey & Company. Long-term cost savings available through energy efficiency present real estate developers with the opportunity to gain market advantage by constructing energy-efficient buildings from the start, NRDC says.

A Verdantix report released last year used the 2012 energy shortfall in India to highlight the country as a place where more firms make energy-management decisions high up the corporate ladder than in developed nations.

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