Power Ministry wants to control your AC temperature, and it's for your own good
The next air conditioner you buy might come with its default temperature set at 24 degree Celsius. This will happen at the behest of Ministry of Power, and with good reason. The ministry has asked air conditioner manufacturers to regulate default settings of the units they make in order to promote power efficiency in the area of air conditioning. The move is also aimed at cutting down on greenhouse gases emitted by air conditioners. The 24-degree Celsius level has been suggested by the Ministry based on a study carried out by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE), an official statement said.
"Every one-degree increase in the air-conditioner temperature setting results in saving of 6 per cent of electricity consumed," Minister of State for Power RK Singh said in a statement by the ministry. He reasoned that the commercial establishments, hotels and offices are wasting energy by maintaining temperatures in the range of 18-21 degree Celsius when the normal temperature of human body is 36-37 degree Celsius.
"This is not only uncomfortable but is actually unhealthy. Setting the temperature in the range of 18-21 degree Celsius compels people to wear warm clothing or use blankets; therefore, this is actually wastage of energy. Some countries like Japan have put in place regulation to keep the temperature at 28 degree Celsius," the Minister said.
As of now, an advisory has been issued to all establishments and air conditioner manufacturers to keep the default temperature setting between 24 and 26 degree Celsius. The targeted commercial buildings will include airports, hotels, shopping malls, offices and government buildings like ministries and attached offices, state government offices and public sector undertakings. The manufacturers have also been advised to label the optimum temperature levels keeping in mind the financial and physical well-being of customers.
After running an awareness programme for a period of 4-6 months, and conducting a survey to garner public feedback afterwards, the ministry will consider making this mandatory. If all the consumers adopt, this will result in savings of 20 billion units of electricity in one year alone, the Ministry has claimed in its statement.
Considering the current market trend, total connected load in India due to air conditioning will be 200GW by 2030 and this may further increase as today only about 6 per cent of households are using air conditioners, informed the BEE. The total installed air conditioner capacity in the country is estimated to be 80 million TR (ton of refrigerator), which is set to rise to about 250 million TR by 2030. Considering this huge demand, an estimated 40 million units of electricity can be saved every day by tweaking the air conditioner temperatures.