Download the Delhi city briefing

Delhi’s growing number of buildings | 

The world is urbanising: by 2050, more than two-thirds of the global population will live in cities. Buildings currently account for nearly half of greenhouse gas emissions in many big cities. Growing population and rapid growth in purchasing power in emerging economies and many developing countries, means that energy demand in buildings could increase enormously by 2050. Reducing the energy that is used to heat, cool and light buildings is a crucial step towards lowering emissions and easing the transition to clean energy in any city.

In Delhi the need to build fast to serve rapidly swelling populations results in haphazard urban planning, with both commercial buildings and informal settlements mushrooming without much consideration for sustainability. Commercial and residential buildings account for most of Indian cities’ energy consumption, through heating, ventilation, air-conditioning, hot water heating, interior and exterior lighting, electrical power and appliances.

But in the rush to build affordable housing — much needed in a city where millions live in poverty in informal settlements with no access to electricity or sanitation — the sustainability of homes is low on the agenda.


How can we promote clean and green building in Delhi?


In the rush to construct 20 million homes, sustainable planning principles are unlikely to be a priority. The design community can make it one.

Consider promoting or creating passive building practices to reduce energy use, such as natural ventilation and shade for cooling, and use of sunlight for light and heating. Look into creating a service for local energy generation (such as rooftop solar) that is affordable and easily maintained.

“Cities that lead on climate, lead on buildings.”


Create products and services that harness DIY ingenuity to reduce energy consumption and get jobs done without electricity or fuel. Cultivate a movement calling for more sustainable building codes and practices. Imagine ways of building that draw on a rich mix of traditional practices and modern technology, in harmony with Delhi’s (changing) climate and culture.

Find out more and download the city briefing below for background information, suggestions on where design can make a difference, impact areas and inspiring examples.

Download the Delhi city briefing