ISLAMABAD, March 27: The government has issued statutory regulations to ensure building standards for energy conservation across the country.

Developed and introduced by the National Energy Conservation Centre (Enercon), Ministry of Environment, the new Building Energy Code of Pakistan (BECP) prescribes better insulations for effective cooling and heating besides other energy conservation methods that can cut utility bills by half.

Environment experts with Enercon considered Building Energy Code of Pakistan as an economical path to energy conservation.

“This code covers only the energy conservation aspects for effective cooling and heating etc., for residences, offices, shops, schools, hotels, high-rise buildings and hospitals that consume 35 per cent, if not more, of the total energy generated in the country,” the official said, explaining how the walls, windows, roofs and even water pipes in all new constructions would have to be better insulated.

According to Enercon, the code laid down prescriptions for the right amount of lighting in rooms, applying heat-resistant materials like polyester sheets and fiberglass available in markets as well as benefiting from both normal glass and tinted and shading areas besides encouraging natural ventilations, types of transformers and landscape lighting.

The code does not just identify basics to save energy but also provides guidelines for direction of the construction.

“The direction of a house and how it faces the sun determines its cooling and heating needs that the code also looks into,” he said.

The code will immediately be effective for all new buildings.

Enercon is using the term `retrofitting` for older structures to make them energy efficient and the code is to be implemented in the new portions of buildings.

“The best way to conserve energy in old buildings is by plugging leakages – installing pyro-foam paneling in doors and windows and wrapping pipes,” the official said.

Developed in consultation with relevant stakeholders, both from public and private sectors, the purpose of the code was to provide minimum requirements for the energy-efficient design and construction of buildings.

“if implemented across the board, the country can save energy equal to half of the 4,000 MW shortfall. And if we can save 2,000 MW we can save $4 billion because it takes $2 million to produce a single MW,” explained a senior official with Enercon.

“We have failed miserably in our attempts to increase power capacity and cannot afford rented power plants. If we are serious and sensible, conservation is the best possible option for Pakistan,” the official said.

Introducing energy conservation methods or the BECP was only half of the job done.

“Getting it implemented and ensuring that these practices are followed is the other and probably the bigger challenge,” he said, elaborating how the Capital Development Authority, Lahore Development Authority and civic bodies in other cities should amend their construction by-laws to include the building energy code as a standard.

According to Enercon, inclusion of Building Energy Code of Pakistan into the construction by-laws by civic bodies was as essential as inclusion of fire exit plans or parking lots for any building.