Energy efficient appliances: Look for energy label
Today, buildings are increasingly responsible for hosting number of energy consuming electronics and electrical equipments. Apart from general electronic products such as Refrigerators, washing machines and Air conditioning units, people with middle income groups are also buying high-end equipments. Also the formal and informal market of inefficient electrical products, influences the unprecedented energy consumption at household level. Therefore, Ministry of Power has established the Bureau of Energy Efficiency to monitor, register and verify the Energy Star Labeled equipments which are more energy efficient and saves money for the consumers.
The consumers’ dilemma to know-how and select the best category of appliance according to their needs and requirement is necessary to discuss. In May 2006, the Ministry of Power launched the standards and labelling programme with an objective to provide the consumer an informed choice about energy saving and thereby the cost saving potential of the marketed household and other equipments. There was a need for standards and labelling programme because of wide variation in energy consumption of products, information on energy consumption being often not easily available or easy to understand from the nameplate and leading to continued manufacture and purchase of inefficient equipments and appliances.
Under this programme, the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) has established comparative star labelling system for indoor appliances like tubular fluorescent lamps, refrigerators (frost free and direct cool), and air conditioners. Other appliances include distribution transformer, induction motors, pump sets, ceiling fans, LPG, electric geysers and colour TV.
More the number of stars, more is the energy efficiency of the appliance. There are six significant benefits from this programme which include providing information on energy use to consumers, enabling consumers to reduce energy bills, reducing capital investment in energy supply infrastructure, strengthening competitive markets, mitigating climate change goals and reducing urban/regional pollution
What is the life span and cost?
A typical refrigerator has a lifespan of 15 to 20 years. The cost of running it over that time period is several times the initial purchase price. Therefore it is important to buy the most efficient model available. A BEE 5-star rated refrigerator that costs more initially will have lower operation costs because of better construction and insulation, and will pay for itself in less than four years compared to a 2-star refrigerator. Models with top or bottom mounted freezers use 12 per cent less energy than side-by-side designs.
The BEE has rated 422 models of refrigerators from 13 companies based on their gross volume, storage volume in litres and electricity consumption in units per year. According to the BEE rating, the best refrigerators get a 5 star energy label whereas the ones with lowest performance have got a 2 star label.
The available stars are between a minimum of one and a maximum of five shown in one star interval. The star rating is calculated from the Star Rating Band which is the range of energy efficiency (kWh/year). This is used for determining the number of stars displayed on the energy label.
What is the energy issue?
Air conditioners usually consume the highest energy among all home appliances. Window and split air conditioners (AC) are most commonly used. These are available in different sizes --- 0.75 tonne, 1 tonne, 1.5 tonne, and 2 tonne.
What is the benefit of a BEE star label AC?
The energy consumption of an AC depends on its size. Therefore, it is important to select an AC with requirements one have. A 1-tonne AC is appropriate for a 150 sq ft room, while a 2-tonne AC is sufficient for a room, which is 300 sq ft in area.
The efficiency of an AC affects energy consumption as much as the size of the AC does. The number of stars on the BEE label indicates the efficiency of an AC; the higher the number of stars the more efficient the appliance.
The BEE has rated 254 models of window and split ACs with high performers getting a 5 star label and 1 star for a worst performer. The labeling is based on the cooling capacity, power consumption and energy efficiency ratio.
What is the lifespan and cost?
For instance, a BEE 4-star rated 1.5-tonne AC would consume 194 units of electricity in a month compared to an inefficient AC of the same size that would consume 278 units during the same period. An efficient 1.5-tonne AC would cost about Rs. 16, 500, whereas an ordinary AC would cost about Rs 15, 000. The additional Rs. 1,500 invested on the efficient AC will be recovered in less than six months due to savings in the electricity bill.
The BEE has given star labels to 49 TFLs manufactured by various companies. The highest performer has got the 5 star rating and the lowest 2 star.
It is said that fans consume the maximum energy among our electric home appliances. The BEE has specified the labelling requirements for ceiling fans covering 1200 mm sweep. So far various models of 9 brands have been rated. All these have got five star labels.
The BEE has specified the energy labeling requirements for domestic LPG gas stoves that are being manufactured, imported or sold in India. The energy labeling requirements is based on the thermal efficiency of gas stoves which should not be lesser than 64 per cent. In the star rating index, the minimum thermal efficiency of a burner of a stove (having any number of burners) is taken to decide the thermal efficiency of the stove.
Stationary storage type water heaters (electric geysers)
The BEE has specified the energy labeling requirements for stationary storage type electric water heaters up to a rated capacity of 200 liters being manufactured, imported, or sold in India. The ratings are based on the standing losses per 24 hours. The Standing loss (kwh/24hour/45 degrees centigrade difference) which is the energy consumption of a filled water heater after steady state conditions have been reached when connected to electrical supply when no water is drawn for 24 hours. Starting with 6 litres rated capacity of a water heater followed by 10, 15, 25, 35, 50, 70, 100, 140 and 200 litres, depending on the standing loss per 24 hours, star ratings are given to each category.
A colour television is a commercially available electronic product designed primarily for the display and reception of audiovisual signals from terrestrial, cable, satellite, Internet Protocol TV (IPTV), or other transmission of analog and/or digital signals, consisting of a tuner/receiver and a display encased in a single housing. This product relies upon a cathode ray tube (CRT), liquid crystal display (LCD), plasma display, or other display device. The BEE has rated various models of Videocon and Samsung CRT TVs and Onida LCD.