Energy hungry India is finally waking up to the need for serious energy conservation as well. Tube light and frost-free refrigerator manufacturers have been given an April 2007 deadline by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) to put in place an energy-cum-efficiency rating system for their products. Other home appliances companies are now also moving in the same direction. Consumers will have the option to choose appliances based on their energy consumption levels, which will be clearly specified on their labels.
"Nearly 90 per cent of tubelights and 70 per cent of frost free refrigerators are today compliant with the new 'star rating' system. We will bring similar notifications for direct cooling refrigerators, air conditioners, ceiling fans and motors very soon," says Ajay Mathur, Director General, BEE.
The move is crucial since much of the growth in energy demand today occurs in large Asian countries like China and India. The demand in the region is expected to rise nearly three times between 2003 and 2030, according to the International Energy Outlook 2006.
This week BEE will be launching a campaign to educate consumers on the benefits of the labeling. Products with heavy energy consumption will carry a single star. A five-starred appliance will work out to be 27 per cent more energy efficient for the end user as compared to the one with a single star, according to Mathur.
"We fully support the government's initiative towards implementing the star rating. The rating not only gives the consumer a clear idea of the energy efficiency of the unit but also allows him to budget in the cost saving," says R Zutshi, Samsung's Deputy Managing Director.
Beginning January, Samsung has achieved four-star rating for all the frost-free refrigerators that are being produced at the company's Noida unit.
The difference in power saving between a 3 Star rated and 4 Star rated refrigerators would be an average be 100 electricity units over a period of a year.
"It is a step in the right direction for an energy starved country like India where energy prices only seem to be going up. The industry is totally supportive of the move," says Suresh Khanna, Secretary General of the Consumer Electronics and Television Manufacturers Association (CETMA).
The home appliances industry's only concern so far is that the deadline for each product category to switch to star rating should be reasonable because inventory and technological changes are involved in the whole process.