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Only 14% families buy high star ACs, cost remains key barrier: CEEW

New Delhi: About 14 per cent of Indian families surveyed purchased four or five star rated air conditioners (ACs) as cost remained the key barrier to buy power efficient ACs, according to studies by the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW). The studies found that 93 per cent households in tier II cities, that are aware of the star labelling programme, find it useful, the CEEW said in a statement.

However, only 14 per cent purchased a four or five star AC (air conditioner). Over 75 per cent households attributed the cost of the AC as a barrier to purchasing a high star AC, it added.

The studies based on a survey and a randomised control trial (RCT) experiment, recommended lowering of GST (good and services tax) on highly efficient products from 28 per cent to under 5 per cent to successfully allow for competition with low-efficiency products.

The studies are based on a door-to-door survey conducted across 400 plus households in four Indian cities of Dhanbad, Madurai, Meerut, and Vadodara.

A significant markdown in the GST would allow for more favourable competition towards higher efficiency products, and also encourage industry to create financing schemes and encourage further product development for this segment of ACs specifically, it opined.

Shikha Bhasin, Programme Lead at CEEW, and lead author of the studies said, “India has led one of the most successful energy-labelling programmes globally. These studies are an attempt to gauge its impact in non-tier I cities, and address gaps to better the energy efficiency trajectory of our cooling sector.”

Bhasin further said that significant opportunity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is available if households adopt better AC use practices.

The survey, however, found that only a third of households believed there to be any relationship between servicing and the maintenance of energy efficiency, and 71 per cent of households would not prefer spending more than 1-1.5 hours on servicing.

Moreover, it found that 24 per cent households would prefer paying less than Rs 300 per servicing.

Around 60 per cent of the respondents reported a substantial or large contribution of ACs in their monthly electricity bill.

However, only 26 per cent households identified any specific AC servicing practices as having a direct impact on the electricity load, electricity consumption, or efficiency of an AC unit.

Given the constant rise in temperatures, India will pose the fastest growth in cooling demand in the world (8-fold overall and 11-fold for residential cooling) over the next two decades.

Adoption of energy-efficient behaviours among AC users, thus, becomes necessary.

To promote energy-efficient behaviours, the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) had launched a consumer awareness campaign to encourage use of ACs at 24°C or higher among residential consumers.

The CEEW studies found that though 46 per cent of the respondents indicated that temperature setting had an impact on an AC’s energy consumption, 73 per cent of consumers still used their AC at a temperature of 23°C or lower.

The two CEEW studies are ‘Do Residential AC Buyers Prioritise Energy Efficiency? Indian Consumer Perceptions and Purchases’ and ‘Consumer Behaviour and Climate Action: Insights from a Randomised Control Trial Experiment in India’s Residential Cooling Sector’.



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