BEE recommends temperature setting of air conditioners

Bureau of Energy Efficiency, Ministry of Power has issued guidelines to major commercial establishments with the objective of conserving energy through optimum temperature settings for air conditioners, within the comfort zone. It is estimated that changing the temperature from conventional 21°C can result in approximately 24 percent of energy savings.

The estimated saving potential due to this initiative. The overall potential for energy conservation through such measures is estimated to the tune of 20 billion units (worth Rs 10,000 crore) annually. If about half (50 percent) the consumers adapt to such recommendations, this would result in about 10 billion units of electricity, which is equivalent to reduction of 8.2 million ton of CO2 per year.

Meaning of default setting at 24°C; if the consumers will be able to adjust their ACs to a lower temperature. Default setting is the setting at which a machine comes from the factory. Therefore, when the machine is switched on then it will have a preset temperature of 24°C. However, a user can adjust or set the AC at a lower (or higher) temperature, as per his/her choice.

Benefits of presetting the temperature of AC equipment at 24°C. Normal human body temperature is between 36 and 37°C. It is generally observed that in large commercial establishments, the AC operating staff try to set the lower temperature (around 18–21°C), believing that it indicates a better cooling performance of the AC system. However, technically this is not true and the cooling action of the compressor is same at other settings also. On the other hand, setting the temperature in the range of 18–21°C results in very cool internal ambient conditions, which compels people to wear warm clothing leading to wastage of energy. As per the comfort chart/zone, temperatures up to 25°C are quite comfortable for the human body, along with desired humidity and air movement values.

Possibility to maintain comfort conditions, if there are more persons in the room. The same temperature setting would enable AC equipment to provide sufficient cooling, even if there are more persons. The compressor will work slightly longer till such time equilibrium is reached.

Advantages of setting the AC default temperature at 24°C. It is estimated that by increase in temperature of a room by 1° C, about 6 percent of electricity can be saved. Typically, room temperature is set between 20 and 21°C whereas, as per standard comfort conditions, ideal temperature is 24-25°C. Considering change from 20°C to 24°C, there is potential to increase at least 4°C, which will lead to savings of about 24 percent of electricity. Therefore, the users will be able to save significant amount of energy (and money) by running their air-conditioners at 24°C.

Potential buildings/areas that BEE is targeting to implement the guidelines. The guidelines have been recommended to major commercial establishments such as airports, hotels, shopping malls, offices, and government buildings (ministries, state government, and public-sector undertakings).

If the advisory is mandatory right now. The advisory for the commercial establishments has been issued for voluntary adoption. The aim is to increase awareness and encourage consumers to adopt the guidelines. A public survey would be conducted after a 4–6 months awareness campaign by BEE.

Importance of the move for India. BEE estimates that considering the current market trend, total connected load in India due to air conditioning will be about 200 GW by 2030 and this may further increase as today only 6 percent of households are using one or more ACs. If the measures are followed by all consumers, India can save about 23 billion units of electricity. The total installed capacity of ACs is about 80 million TR, which will increase to about 250 million TR in 2030.

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