Torkan: New Buildings Flout Energy Codes

Torkan: New Buildings Flout Energy Codes Torkan: New Buildings Flout Energy Codes

A senior advisor to President Hassan Rouhani has called on municipalities not to issue certificates of occupancy for buildings that fail to comply with Section 19 of the National Building Regulations.

The section outlines measures necessary to reduce energy consumption in buildings. Compliance with the code is obligatory, but according to Akbar Torkan, the law is often flouted.

“Contractors’ failure to adhere to building codes is a leading cause of the prohibitive energy use,” IRNA quoted him as saying.

According to rule, all new buildings must have double-glazed windows and walls, ceilings and floors must be properly insulated.

In the Iranian year that ended in March 2015, Tehran consumed 170 billion cubic meters of natural gas. Of this figure, 60 billion cubic meters was used by households and the commercial sector, the rest by power plants, petrochemical facilities and factories.

“On average, Tehran uses 80 million cubic meters of gas every day in colder months, but in the Iranian year 1393 (March 2014-15), consumption soared to 99 million cubic meters a day,” said Torkan, who doubles as the secretary of the High Council of Iran’s Free Trade Zones.

Iran has pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions by a maximum of 12% by 2030, subject to international assistance. Iran emits around 800 million tons of carbon dioxide every year, making it one of the world’s top 10 emitters of greenhouse gases.

Official estimates suggest that $17.5 billion in investment is needed to ensure Iran meets its unconditional pledge, i.e. without international aid, of 4% reduction in emissions by 2030.

To meet its conditional pledge of 12% reduction, Tehran would need an additional $30 billion.

The Rouhani government’s climate change roadmap explicitly states the critical need for major changes to energy policy, which is responsible for over 90% of Iran’s greenhouse gas emissions. However, policy reform should also be accompanied by modern technology, to which Iran now has access thanks to the lifting of international sanctions.

Iran had targeted a 30% reduction in energy use based on the Fifth Five-Year Economic Development Plan (2011-16), but the crippling international sanctions prevented the country from meeting its target. In fact, the setback amplified energy consumption as levels reached so high that experts started warning of the “likelihood of importing oil in the not too distant future if present consumption patterns persist.”

The Rouhani administration aims to implement a Measuring, Reporting and Verification System, called the National MRV System, by 2020. The system provides authorities with reliable information on emissions and mitigation actions.

“Whereas average energy consumption per square meter of building in Europe is on the decline and is approaching 50 kilowatt-hours, in Iran it’s almost ten times that amount,” Torkan said, echoing the serious concern of economists and social scientists that the prohibitive consumption in almost all spheres cannot be sustained.