Decarbonizing India’s Residential Building Sector:Insights and Pathways from a System Dynamics Model

Sarah Khan

Centre for Study of Science, Technology and Policy (CSTEP), Bengaluru, India
Corresponding Author:

Sweta Bhushan

Centre for Study of Science, Technology and Policy (CSTEP), Bengaluru, India

Cite this article

Khan, S., Bhushan, S. (2024). Decarbonizing India’s Residential Building Sector: Insights and Pathways from a System Dynamics Model. In Proceedings of Energise 2023- Lifestyle, Energy Efficiency, and Climate Action, pp 108–117, Alliance for an Energy Efficient Economy.


  • Strategic pathways for sustainable development in India’s residential sector.
  • Study focuses on reducing carbon impact, which is crucial for achieving the net-zero target.
  • Practical implications for energy-efficient interventions, aiding informed decision-making.
  • Sectoral connections and resource considerations emphasized for effective net-zero transition.
  • Incorporating thermal comfort enhances the potential for significant operational energy savings.


This study analyzed potential low-carbon pathways to achieve net-zero residential buildings in India. With the building sector contributing to 33% of global energy-related CO2 emissions, decarbonizing it is crucial for a net-zero economy. The study used a system dynamics model—Sustainable Alternative Future for India—to capture sectoral interlinkages and explore the implications of meeting India’s development goals related to energy, resources, materials, and emissions. Three scenarios were developed, constituting interventions from the building, power, and material industry sectors. The business-as-usual scenario assumes that existing policies will persist, whereas the other two decarbonization scenarios consider different levels of realistic interventions, such as electrification and behavioural shifts. The study discusses the residential cooling demand and transition cost to high-efficiency appliances. Furthermore, it highlights the importance of considering sectoral interlinkages and resource constraints in achieving net-zero energy residential buildings. 


Residential Sector, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, System Dynamics, Operational Energy, Embodied Energy


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