Energy inefficiency can short circuit cooling India
NEWS As Indian homes will be a key site where future cooling demand will play out, awareness of energy efficiency is crucial.
- There is a rise in global temperatures due to climate change because of which we are experiencing more frequent and intense heat waves.
- In the last three decades, more than 660 heat waves have occurred across India causing 12,273 deaths.
CAUSE OF CONCERN
- Despite the increase in the heat waves, India currently has low penetration levels of air conditioners (ACs).
- It will likely provide substantial cooling services to keep citizens healthy and productive.
- India Cooling Action Plan projects the number of room air conditioners to become about four times in the next 10 years, and about 10 times in the next 20 years, making India the world’s largest energy user for cooling.
- However, there is an issue that if energy efficiency is not taken into consideration it will ruin India’s mitigation efforts.
DATA REGARDING COOLING IN INDIA
- Indian cooling is at the forefront of India’ adaptation to climate change.
- However, if the needs are met with inefficient ACs, it could be the bane of India’s mitigation efforts.
- Hence, India needs to balance out its cooling needs and potential emissions.
- AC ownership and usage are two factors which will determine the extent of future cooling demand. Hence data on analysis of these factors is needed.
- There is a need to collect information about what cooling appliances people seek, their purchase decisions to figure out AC ownership and usage.
- Also there is a need to find technologies which can help in energy efficiencies.
- There is evidence that AC usage in India is increasing.
- A recent survey in Delhi points out that there is increased use of air conditioners and adoption of energy efficient choices.
- Though it is true that AC usage is increasing, the desired levels of cooling vary greatly even among relatively homogenous communities.
- As observed in the survey, In delhi while most households use an AC for three to four hours a day during peak summer months, about 15% use ACs for over eight hours a day.
- This fact needs to be taken into account because the India Cooling Action Plan in its estimation of residential cooling demand assumes that an average household uses an AC for eight hours a day.
- Also the temperature at which AC is set is important. This is because every 1°C increase in AC set-point temperature can lead to additional 6% energy savings.
- There is however an issue with AC purchase in India.
- Energy efficiency does not feature as a priority in the purchase of cooling appliances by Indian Household.
- Data shows that only 7% of the households have an energy efficient fan and 88% of the coolers are locally assembled.
OBSTACLES FOR ENERGY EFFICIENT COOLING MEASURES
Lack of awareness:
- There are low levels of energy efficiency awareness among the household that hinders the purchase of more efficient appliances.
- For example: as pointed out by the survey, a third of the households did not know of the Star Labelling programme, which is a government programme mandatory for refrigerators and air conditioners.
Low market availability:
- There are higher upfront costs and low market availability of more efficient air conditioners like that of four-star and five-star.
Use of alternative cooling systems:
- Another reason for people buying less efficient cooling systems is the use of alternative cooling strategies by the people.
- Many people use alternative cooling strategies like fan, use of non-energy cooling methods such as natural ventilation. They use AC for only a few hours and hence buy less efficient AC.
The cooling demand transition in India provides an unique opportunity to lock-in energy efficient consumption patterns.
- There is a need for awareness campaigns on the benefits of energy efficiency along with subsidies and financial incentives. This will lower higher upfront costs and can help drive up the adoption of more efficient technologies.
- Along with efficient technology, what is needed is encouraging the use of passive cooling alternatives like energy efficient building designs.
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