13 October 2020
Indians not buying energy efficient AC: Study

While a majority of Indian consumers want to purchase a high-star labeled or energy-efficient air-conditioner, only a minority of them actually went on to purchase one with the price of such models acting as a deterrent, according to the latest study.

The study, conducted by the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW), reported that over 70% of respondents want to buy an energy-efficient AC, but just 14% actually went on to purchase one. In fact, a dominant majority of Indian consumers and the government’s star labeling program trustworthy and useful.

Shikha Bhasin, program Lead at CEEW, and lead author of the study, said, India has led one of the most successful energy-labeling programs globally.

“A significant opportunity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is available if households adopt better AC use practices. Adopting sustainable lifestyle practices, including higher AC energy efficiency and optimized maintenance, could reduce the global warming impact of the cooling sector in India by 46% during the period 2010–2050,” she said.

As per the study, 68% of the households reported that they considered energy efficiency a key attribute at the time of purchase. Relatively more respondents indicated that budgetary and branding decisions had been analyzed well before the purchase was made. It said the trade between upfront spending, or through the appliances’ lifetime, is still clearly stacked against energy-efficient purchases.

CEEW also noted that the average number of preventive servicing undertaken by AC users in India is much lower than required since most users are unaware of the potential benefits.

“India has led one of the most successful energy-labeling programs globally. These studies are an attempt to gauge its impact in non-tier cities, and address gaps to better the energy efficiency trajectory of our cooling sector.”

Bhasin further said that significant opportunity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is available if households adopt better AC use practices.

The survey, however, found that only a third of households believed there to be any relationship between servicing and the maintenance of energy efficiency, and 71 percent of households would not prefer spending more than 1-1.5 hours on servicing.

Moreover, it found that 24 percent of households would prefer paying less than Rs 300 per servicing. Around 60 percent of the respondents reported a substantial or large contribution of ACs in their monthly electricity bill.

However, only 26 percent of households identified any specific AC servicing practices as having a direct impact on the electricity load, electricity consumption, or efficiency of an AC unit.

Given the constant rise in temperatures, India will pose the fastest growth in cooling demand in the world (8-fold overall and 11-fold for residential cooling) over the next two decades.

The adoption of energy-efficient behaviors among AC users, thus, becomes necessary. To promote energy-efficient behaviors, the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) had launched a consumer awareness campaign to encourage the use of ACs at 24°C or higher among residential consumers.

The CEEW studies found that though 46 percent of the respondents indicated that temperature setting had an impact on an AC’s energy consumption, 73 percent of consumers still used their AC at a temperature of 23°C or lower.

The two CEEW studies are ‘Do Residential AC Buyers Prioritise Energy Efficiency? Indian Consumer Perceptions and Purchases’ and ‘Consumer Behaviour and Climate Action: Insights from a Randomised Control Trial Experiment in India’s Residential Cooling Sector’.






Cover picture: https://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/27/upshot/indias-air-conditioning-and-climate-change-quandary.html

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