In a bid to make air conditioners more energy efficient, the Union Ministry of Power has advised manufacturers of air conditioners to increase the default temperature of the units.
Based on a recommendation by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE), the government wants the default temperature of new air conditioners to be set at 24 degrees Celsius.
Launching the initiative on Friday, Minister of State for Power and New and Renewable Energy RK Singh pointed out that the normal human body temperature is approximately 36-37 degree Celsius.
“But large number of commercial establishments, hotels and offices maintain temperature around 18-21 degree Celsius. This is not only uncomfortable but is actually unhealthy. Setting the temperature in the range of 18-21 degree Celsius compels people to wear warm clothing or use blankets; therefore, this is actually wastage of energy,” an official statement quoted Singh as saying at the launch.
He added that each degree increased on an air conditioner’s temperature setting can save 6% of the electricity being consumed.
A study carried out by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) under the Ministry of Power’s guidance recommends that air conditioners should be set to a default temperature setting of 24 degree Celsius.
The campaign to increase energy savings seeks to issue advisories to establishments and manufacturers that produce air conditioners. At present, the initiative will function on a voluntary basis, with a 4-6 month long awareness campaign.
The Ministry of Power will later review making the 24 degree model mandatory. It anticipates that such a move could lead to 20 billion units of electricity being saved per year. Major targets for this policy include commercial buildings such as airports, hotels, shopping malls, offices, and government buildings.
What Other Countries Do
Singh pointed to the example of Japan, where regulations demand that the temperature on air conditioners be kept at 28 degrees Celsius.
According to a report by the World Energy Council, several other countries also have such measures in place.
In China, United States, and Thailand, among others, air conditioners are branded with labels and ratings for energy information and conservation. Such a system of labelling also exists in India.
Among unique measures taken up by countries, Ghana, which does not have its own air conditioner manufacturers and relies solely on imports, has set minimum efficiency regulations for these exports from other countries.
Mexico launched a policy a few years ago which covered up to 50% of costs for acquisition of new, energy efficient air conditioners for its citizens.
Global attempts to make air conditioners more energy efficient have resulted from a realisation that they are a key contributor to environmental issues by way of global warming and rapid climate change.