RAMA supports BEE labelling programme, clarifies on recent CSE Report
Posted by: Clara Fernandes at 8/17/2016 01:03:00 am
Refrigeration and Airconditioning Manufacturers’ Association (RAMA)
Mumbai August 17, 2016 : Refrigeration and Airconditioning Manufacturers’ Association (RAMA) is committed to and whole-heartedly supports the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) labelling programme, and seeks to clarify on the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) Report dated July 27, 2016 that was published by PTI and several other publications. The CSE report in question claims that the 5-star split air conditioner becomes ‘energy-inefficient’ when the temperature soars over 40°C and becomes worse than a 2 or 1-star air conditioner.
Affiliated to the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Refrigeration and Airconditioning Manufacturers’ Association (RAMA) is the apex forum of industry leaders and representatives of major manufacturers, inclusive of multinationals, in the refrigeration and air conditioning industry in India. Given the low penetration levels despite a huge market potential for air conditioning and refrigeration products in India, RAMA plays a pivotal role in ensuring that the industry not only grows at a high rate, but also delivers globally competitive products and services.
It is an established global practice to regulate the performance of products, in terms of efficiency and safety, to safeguard consumer interests. With the increase in demand for various electrically-operated appliances and the related surge in electrical energy requirements, developed countries regulate and classify these products in bands for energy-efficiency. This empowers the customer to take an informed choice with respect to the requisite appliance, based on need as well as affordability. Over recent years, this practice has been adopted increasingly by several developing countries. India has also implemented the labelling programme regulated by Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) under the Ministry of Power.
The air conditioner is amongst the several appliances which are covered under the labelling programme. With its vast resource pool of expertise and experience, RAMA, in conjunction with BEE, launched the first voluntary labelling programme in 2008, which became mandatory from 2010. Keeping in mind the availability of technology, as well as affordability of the Indian customers and their aspirations, it was decided to increase the energy efficiency standards progressively at a regular interval of two years. This labelling programme has been designed to classify air conditioners from 1-star to 5-star, 1-star being the lowest energy efficient and 5-star being the highest efficient. Progressively, the emphasis has been on augmenting the energy efficiency levels within each band, and from 2010 to 2014, the energy efficiency quotient has increased by an average of 14%, for each star-rating. The test methodology involved has been well defined in the labelling programme, and is based on Bureau of India Standards (BIS), which is the apex body of formulating standards under the aegis of the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution. Thus, it is a well-recognised reference standard in the industry for testing and comparison of products, based on performance levels, and these standards are advanced as per the country’s needs, from time-to-time.
RAMA affirms that the CSE report in question will create confusion in the minds of the customers since it furnishes skewed information. It is a well-researched fact that the power consumption of air conditioners will increase with rise in the ambient temperature, and will decrease with a drop in the ambient temperature. So, for a given increase in temperature, the power consumption of a 5-star air conditioner will be lower than that of a 1-star machine due to the technological efficiency of the machine with a higher star rating. This can be compared to the fuel consumption of a vehicle which consumes less fuel on a plain road, as compared to driving up a gradient.
Moreover, in 2015, BEE decided to adopt a new methodology of testing, for inverter and fixed speed air conditioners, with respect to each temperature band, in which an air conditioner operates. After a detailed study, a band of 24°C- 43°C was adopted, which covers 98% of the temperature zones in the country. India will be the first to adopt a common labelling programme named the Indian Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (ISEER) for fixed speed and inverter air conditioners. BEE and RAMA have worked in conjunction towards this objective, keeping consumer interests paramount. This process that will be followed for testing and performance is based on ISO standards, and is mandated to be adopted from 2018.
ISEER calculates efficiency as a ratio of the total amount of heat that an air conditioner can remove from indoor air in a year to the total annual amount of energy consumed by the air conditioner. Therefore, it rates air conditioners based on how much power they consume to cool a certain amount of air. So, a more efficient AC will use less power to cool a given space than a less efficient one. The higher the ISEER awarded to an air conditioner, the more energy efficient it is. With this ISEER rating system, the argument in the CSE Report, anyway, will not hold relevance.
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