Electrical appliances account for a major share in the energy bills of consumers received on a monthly or annual basis. As a result, many home appliance manufacturers, as well as the government, have shifted their focus to saving energy and invested in energy efficient appliances.
Currently, the most significant policy initiative to improve energy efficiency of appliances is the Bureau of Energy Efficiency’s (BEE) Standards and Labelling (S&L) Programme. The programme aims to provide consumers with information about the energy and cost saving potential of household goods and other equipment. Under the programme, manufacturers are required to display energy performance labels on the end-use equipment and appliances. The programme has also laid down minimum energy performance standards.
More recently, the Ministry of Power (MoP) has expanded the scope of the S&L programme to include air-conditioning. The MoP has advised AC manufacturers to set the default temperature setting in air conditioners at 24 0C. According to BEE’s estimates, changing the temperature from the conventional 20-21 0C can result in approximately 24 per cent of energy savings.
Under the S&L programme, which was initiated in 2006, the BEE had proposed mandatory ratings for four products. These have now been increased to 10 equipment – room air conditioners (cassette, floor standing towel, ceiling, corner AC), frost free refrigerators, tubular fluorescent lamps, distribution transformers, room air conditioners, direct cool refrigerators, colour TV, electric geysers, variable capacity inverter air conditioners and LED lamps. Apart from these mandatory appliances, there are voluntary appliances that come under the star labelling programme. These include general purpose motors, ceiling fans, agricultural pump sets, laptops and notebooks, washing machines, LPG stoves, ballasts, inverters, office equipment, diesel generator (DG) sets and DG pump sets.
Meanwhile, Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) has launched the EESL Super-Efficient Air Conditioning Programme to bring super-efficient air conditioning technologies in the market. With superior technical specifications, these devices will reduce greenhouse gas emissions amidst an increased demand for ACs and the electricity needed to run them. EESL’s ACs will offer a three-year comprehensive warranty, along with a five-year warranty on key components to consumers. It will help them save their electricity bills with its 5.2 ISEER offering. Currently, EESL is providing its super energy efficient ACs only to institutional buyers, at the same cost as that of existing air conditioners available in the market, with the aim to reduce the electricity bill by about Rs 11,162 per annum with wattage at 1,000 W, and emissions by 1,000 kg a year.
The most recent measure has been the recommendation for setting the default temperature of ACs at 24 0C has been taken based on BEE’s study. After running an awareness campaign of four to six months, followed by a survey to gather public feedback, the MoP will consider making this mandatory. As per BEE estimates based on the current market trend, the total connected load in India due to air conditioning will be 200 GW by 2030 and this may further increase. As per BEE’s current estimates, only about 6 per cent of households in the country use ACs and the total installed air conditioning capacity is 80 million TR (tonnes of refrigerator), which will increase to about 250 million TR by 2030. Considering this huge demand, India can save about 40 MUs of electricity every day. The targeted commercial buildings will include airports, hotels, shopping malls, officers and government buildings.
The way forward
S&L programmes have been introduced in many developed and some developing countries. The US launched its star labelling programme for refrigerators in 1979, Canada in 1990, European Union in 2010, China in 2010, Brazil (for electric equipment) in 1985 and Japan in 2006. Standards and labelling is a time-tested measure for enhancing energy efficiency of electrical appliances universally. Going forward, more measures are needed in India to realise the full economic and environmental potential of energy efficient devices, particularly in the household sector. However, mechanisms for the same need to be evolved, such as cost, benefit and risk sharing arrangements between power utilities, appliance manufacturers and households. There is also a need to organise the market for several appliances in regional markets. Incentive-based schemes along with market-based promotion for manufacturers will scale up the market for energy-efficient electrical appliances.
With inputs from the report, “Good Practices and Success Stories on Energy Efficiency, 2017”, published by the Copenhagen Centre on Energy Efficiency