Nine thrust areas

The peak electricity demand in Sri Lanka, characterised by residential lighting, occurs in the evening. Incandescent Filament Lamp (IFL) is one of the main lighting sources of 76% of residential consumers in the lower tariff block (<90 kWh/month). These Customers also receive heavily subsidised electricity. Compared with IFLs, LEDs are more efficient, but costlier. Therefore it is difficult to coax customers to replace IFLs with LEDs. Hence, a LED Lamps distribution scheme named “Shakthi” has been developed. Under this scheme, it is expected to carry out bulk purchase of LED lamps by utilities, and to supply LEDs at a price less than 1/3rd of the market price. The investment payback is four months. Provision of low priced LEDs, on a 2 year loan scheme has been chosen as a lighting market transformation tool, to rid the grid of IFLs. 10 million LEDs (9 W) will be disseminated among 3.9 million households, which will reduce the peak demand by 304 MW, saving 432 GWh and 297,907 tCO2 annually.


Cabinet approval has been obtained for the project and procurement activities are currently under way. The PTF on EDSM has designed a leaflet for making awareness among the people and android app has been developed in collaboration with LECO.

Chiller units consume approximately 30% of energy in hotels, garments, hospitals and large scale buildings for air-conditioning and process cooling. It is necessary to replace aging, inefficient chillers with modern efficient chillers. This retrofit has been identified as a main element in the Demand Side Management Programme in Sri Lanka, which expects to save 41 GWh of annual electricity demand by 2020. The estimated cost of the project is LKR 11,241 million. This replacement will take place in buildings selected by the Project Management Unit, comprising of Government representatives, Chartered Engineers and Energy Services Companies (ESCos).


Meeting with energy services companies (ESCos) who are in the field of chiller services was held on March 31, 2017. In this meeting several methods were proposed to collect the data on existing chiller systems to prepare an Inventory of Chiller Units in Operation. At the same time case studies of energy efficient chiller plants should be done. After that a project proposal will be developed to phase out inefficient chillers and obtaining funds for the implementation. The post project operational status will be monitored against the pre-project baseline status by Accredited Energy Auditors.

Refrigerators are among the major energy consuming appliances in an average household. It accounts for 50% of the utility bill. Therefore it is proposed to phase out inefficient refrigerators from the Sri Lankan market through a market intervention, which will introduce a trade-in scheme to remove the obsolete stock. Banks, utilities, vendors and customers will network to implement the programme. The vendor will engage the customer in the programme. Vendors will approach the Banks to obtain funds for the programme, which will be a low interest loan. Once the vendor delivers the refrigerator to the customer, the cost of the refrigerator will paid in instalments of the loan, through the utility bill. The loan will be for five years. The total cost of the programme is estimated to be LKR 3.5 billion. It is expected to save 161 GWh by 2020 through the implementation of this project.


Refrigerator testing for setting criteria for refrigerator selection is being done at NERD centre right now and stakeholder forum was conducted on March 23, 2017. The market strategy is being developed to be presented to the stakeholders at the moment.

Figure 01: workshop for stakeholders

The highest percentage of electricity consumption in the industries is for motive power except for very few industries like cement and ceramic industries. Motors are imported from all over the world many of which are not efficient, yet due to the low cost, industries go for them as the initial investment is low compared to that of high efficient motors. Nevertheless, when comparing the life cycle cost these pose a significant problem to the industries. It is also a burden to the power sector due to higher energy losses. Through this programme, it is expected to motivate industries to replace existing inefficient motors with high efficient motors. It is expected to save 248.2 GWh by implementing this programme.

Fans still contribute to a considerable share in the domestic and commercial sectors, although in the commercial sector air-conditioning is a preferred option owing to economic development. On average, fans contribute by about 7 – 8% to energy consumption in offices of the Government sector, while the average domestic consumption of fans is 8.3 kWh/ household per month. Ceiling fans are widespread in the domestic sector, which contribute by a considerably higher energy usage than the table/pedestal types. After identifying the importance of contribution of the ceiling fans to the national energy consumption, the SEA, with the assistance of SLSI developed a standard (SLS 1600:2011) for fan labelling and accordingly, a Regulation was passed in 2013 in the parliament to ban the inefficient fans from entering the market. It has been estimated that 298.3 GWh of electricity can be saved by implementing this scheme by 2020.


The SEA has initiated the procurement of fan testing laboratory which will be ready by the end of 2017.

Lighting contributes to a considerable share in the commercial sector which is about 20%. It is necessary to implement design and technology features for the efficiency improvement in lighting. The major barrier faced by the institutions is the cost of implementation. Through the PTF on EDSM, it is expected to finance viable projects in commercial and industrial sectors. It has been estimated that 549.1 GWh of electricity can be saved by implementing this scheme by 2020. The cost of implementation is LKR 9,610 million.

Air-conditioning contributes to more than 50% of the total electricity consumption in commercial buildings, including government offices, and is on the increase in the domestic sector as well. The most popular type of air-conditioners in these sectors is the single split type air conditioner. It has been estimated that 125.4 GWh of electricity can be saved by implementing this scheme by 2020.


After identifying the importance of contribution of air-conditioning to the national energy consumption, the SEA with the assistance of SLSI developed a standard and will be finalised after public comments by the end of 2017. Awareness is also viewed as an essential component in this project. The PTF on EDSM issued a circular on energy saving through efficient use of air-conditioners in public sector buildings. An awareness programme was conducted on May 23, 2017, for the government sector energy management officers.

Most of the conventional buildings utilize massive amount of natural resources and energy throughout the life cycle and creates negative effects on the environment. The commercial and the industrial sector, which comprises of large scale buildings, contribute to 60% of the electricity consumption in Sri Lanka. Energy used in buildings is mainly for air conditioning, ventilation and lighting. The energy consumption pattern in buildings can be drastically reduced through better planning and designing.

The Energy Efficient Building Code encourages energy efficient designs and retrofit in buildings. It sets standards for energy efficiency in design and retrofits in buildings, at the same time providing methods for determining compliance. The SEA published the Code of Practice for Energy Efficient Buildings in Sri Lanka – 2008 by reviewing and amending the extant CEB Energy Efficient Building Code – 2000. The Code is applicable to commercial buildings, industrial facilities and large scale housing complexes. It has been developed to cover the building elements, building envelop, ventilation and air conditioning systems, lighting, service and water heating and electrical and power distribution. This was implemented on a voluntary basis.


Building material and technologies, and building practices are evolving through ages. Therefore, building codes need to be continuously upgraded in the face of advancing technological innovations. A programme to review and amend the extant Code has been initiated.

According to the present energy situation, the domestic sector accounts for 38% of the national electricity consumption. Most of the contemporary houses utilise massive amounts of natural resources and energy throughout the life cycle. The appropriate climate responsive designs of residences conceptualising the design strategies for energy sustainability and usage of energy efficient appliances could substantially mitigate local and global environmental issues due to reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

Thus far, the majority of the designs of residences are incapable in responding to the local climate. Design implications which are in conflict with the prevailing climate has resulted in warm interiors which crave for electricity to make interiors cool and comfortable. This trend in residences of varying magnitude has excessively high energy wastage and considerable dependency on thermally generated energy. Thus the introduction and implementation of a guideline for "Sustainable Energy Residence” is of paramount importance.

In addition, the Smart Home initiative focusing on solar PV roof top systems can avoid 139.2 GWh by 2020 and differ a 100 MW capacity in day time grid generation. The net present value of avoided generation for the five year period 2016 – 2020 will be 591 GWh. The levelised cost of energy from these generators will be LKR 21-25 per kWh, when considering a life span of twenty years.