India’s aggregate cooling requirement will increase by eight times in the next 20 years with room air conditioners alone consuming more than half of the total energy required for space cooling in the country by 2037-38. Staring at this projection and the growing needs of cooling, the government on Monday, released a draft cooling action plan marking the World Ozone Day which was on the 16 of September. The action plan will guide the government and other stakeholders, including both residential and commercial users, to reduce energy consumption for cooling by nearly 30 percent by 2037-38 from 2017-18 level.
The India Cooling Action Plan (ICAP)—first of its kind in the world—has listed various interventions, including guidelines to all commercial buildings to maintain an internal temperature between 24-25° Celsius on a voluntary basis and adopting various passive measures in buildings to reduce the cooling demand by 20-25 percent by 2037 to 38.
The Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) had earlier recommended that the default setting in the air conditioning should be at 24° Celsius. It was, however, advisory in nature. At this juncture, the government does not want to make it mandatory without gathering public feedback and getting adequate inputs from stakeholders including manufacturers.
The plan, released by Union environment minister Harsh Vardhan, is in sync with India’s commitment to the Montreal Protocol (reduction of ozone-depleting substances) as well as the Paris Agreement (reduction of emission intensity) to meet the challenges of climate change.
India’s per capita space cooling energy consumption is, however, much less than developed countries including US, Japan and EU nations and even developing countries like China, Brazil and Mexico. As compared to 272 kWh (kilowatt-hour) per person global cooling energy consumption, India’s per capita energy consumption is merely 69 KWh. The USA has the highest per capita space cooling energy consumption of 1,878 KWh.
According to the ICAP, building sector (space cooling) will show the most significant growth (nearly 11 times) in the cooling requirement in the next 20 years followed by five times rise in transport air-conditioning and four times rise in cold chain and refrigeration sectors by 2037 to 38.
All these sectors together will need 4.5 times more energy to meet the cooling demand in the next 20 years, posing a big challenge before the country. The ICAP, therefore, lists out actions which can help reduce the cooling demand and thus help the country in reducing both direct and indirect emissions of climate-damaging greenhouse gases.
“There are alternative ways to cooling, and that should be looked at,” said Union environment secretary, C K Mishra, after the release of the ICAP. The cooling measures, as listed out by the plan, including designing and constructing buildings in such a way that it minimizes their cooling needs. — Weather