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Energy performance standards for air conditioners comprehensively upgraded in India - Business-standard.com
The Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE), a statutory body under the Union Ministry of Power, has upgraded the requirements for star rating of split type room air-conditioners. This regulation, which came into effect in January this year and raised the energy efficiency standards by about 8% for split air-conditioners for the same rating band, is intended to help raise consumer awareness on saving energy and creating more energy efficient appliances across the spectrum for this industry.

This initiative, launched in 2010, is especially relevant in view of the upcoming freeze on Hydro-chlorofloro-carbons (HCFC) under the Montreal Compact on Environment (Montreal Protocol) in 2013 and the effort of getting prepared for future GWP (Global Warming Potential) legislation without any energy penalty. For the Indian industry, this marks a substantive step forward in not only averring to the rising awareness and readiness on the policy side to taking control of the most pertinent energy efficiency issues, but also marks a firm movement towards a healthy public-private partnership in the area of energy reforms.

BEE recognizes that consumer awareness and education have been instrumental in the success of energy efficiency movement thus far. To further empower consumers, a mobile-phone based application called “AC Power Saver” has been developed that enables consumers to calculate energy consumption and savings right on their mobile devices.

This application will be available for Android, Blackberry and iPhone users free of charge. These tools will help consumers calculate the expected annual electricity bills and the potential savings. Users can get an idea about their savings on their electricity bills if they buy higher star rating air conditioners. For a wider reach, a dedicated web site – www.SaveEnergy.co.in – has been created with all necessary information including the energy calculator.

The campaign to educate consumers comprises several strategic initiatives. Air conditioner showroom salesmen are being trained and oriented on the star labeling criterion so that they can explain to consumers the tangible benefits of using energy efficient air conditioners. BEE has already trained 1,544 salesmen in India across 6 cities and plans to continue with this effort.

These trained salesmen help consumers make an informed choice with respect to energy efficiency while buying home air conditioners. Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Ajay Mathur, Director General, BEE said, “Energy is critical for India, and the demand for clean and efficient energy devices is growing rapidly. We are happy that our initial steps in introducing star labeling for air-conditioners has borne such good results. It is our resolve to further augment this initiative by reaching out to as wide a section of consumers as possible and to do this we have embarked on a variety on new measures to educate and engage the public at large as well as the manufacturers and retailers.”

Emerson Climate Technologies, an engineering technology innovator, has been actively collaborating with BEE to build awareness of the star rating program. According to Mr. Deepak Takkar, Sr. Vice President – Sales & General Manager – Cold Chain, Emerson Climate Technologies (India) Pvt. Ltd., “Research shows that every watt of energy saved at consumption results in four watts less energy produced, factoring in the generation and T&D losses.

The adoption of star rating in air-conditioners significantly supports energy conservation and improvement of power efficiencies in India”. He added, “The industry plays a key role in augmenting the success of Government’s thrust on environmental protection. In the air-conditioning industry, on the manufacturers’ side, we have introduced Copeland Scroll™ compressors in the Indian residential AC market for the first time to provide optimum energy savings and comply with the highest star rating. Copeland Scroll™ technology has been extremely successful in the commercial and residential segments around the world for many years. We believe that with the focus on empowering consumers with efficient and reliable technologies like Copeland Scroll™, and awareness tools like the ‘AC Power Saver’ mobile app, India stands to greatly improve the energy situation and bridging the supply-and-demand gap.”

According to Mr. SanjeevRanjan, CEO, International Copper Promotion Council (India), “ICPCI has been quite actively engaged since 2007 with the Air Conditioner Industry by promoting the life cycle cost as the main attribute to drive consumer purchase decisions. Copper’s better thermal and electrical properties do help in improving energy efficiency performance of air conditioners, which in turn helps achieve higher star rating more cost effectively.

ICPCI as a part of Copper Alliance, led by International Copper Association is working for technology advancement by focusing on reducing the material cost of energy efficient air conditioners through the introduction of smaller diameter copper tubes for heat exchanger. Today, with the launch of the upgraded star-rating labeling program, Indian consumers can now buy air conditioners that save energy and money. We do appreciate the admirable work done by BEE and will continue to support it in its endeavor to promote and implement the star labeling program across the country.”

The star labeling program for air-conditioners, frost free refrigerators, tubular florescent lights, and distribution transformers began in May 2006 in a voluntary phase. In the air conditioner segment, 70% of the organized players adopted it in the voluntary stage, which prompted BEE to make it mandatory from 7th January 2010.

Since star labeling was a new concept for appliance showrooms and end users, BEE partnered with Emerson Climate Technologies and International Copper Promotion Council (India) in 2008 to start several initiatives to educate the market on the benefits of star labeling.

Training sessions were conducted for store salesmen throughout India. After the education program, a survey was conducted across 19 cities covering over 1,200 salesmen and 400 users to understand their perception on star labeling. The survey results showed that end users cared about energy efficiency, price and brand. The survey also indicated that salesmen needed more education and sales tools to explain to the end user the concept of payback period.


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