By Kulbhushan Bhardwaj
An air conditioner is no longer a luxury for most of the Indian consumers. However, during summers, air conditioning is a major load on electricity consumption in India. It is estimated that by 2030, India will have an annual demand of 28.5 million units of ACs, an enormous jump from the current 5.5 million units annually. The rising temperatures and equally steep electricity bills can impact the overall financial budget of an average Indian consumer.
As per rough estimates, the residential and commercial buildings consume the maximum electricity (33.2%) with a total consumption of 1156 billion units. In terms of India’s cooling pattern, about 80 Gigawatts connected load is only due to cooling every year, which consumes about 110 billion units daily. By 2030 the connected load due to air conditioners is expected to be 140GW. Therefore, to conserve energy through optimum temperature settings, the Power Ministry’s idea is to set 24 degrees Celsius as the default setting for air conditioners.
The campaign encourages consumers to adopt environmentally-friendly and responsible lifestyle at their homes and workplaces by setting their air conditioning to 24-degrees Celsius, which is the optimal temperature keeping in mind the Indian weather conditions. Some countries like Japan have put in place regulation to keep the default AC temperature at 28 degrees Celsius. This not only ensures reduced power consumption and carbon dioxide emissions, but also enables commercial consumers to attain sustainable financial savings.
If the AC’s temperature is set at 19 degrees and the outside is 38 degrees, the electricity required will be a lot more than when the thermostat temperature is set for 24 degrees. The compressor will work longer to reach the desired level which in turn will consume more electricity.
Assuming 50 per cent users adapt to the change and run the air conditioner at a default setting of 24 degrees, there will be 24 per cent reduction in the energy consumption which will save up to 10 billion units of electricity. The reduced energy usage will bring together a huge difference to overall growing AC using population in India which in turn will save a lot of money for the consumer and governments investment in Power Generation facilities, enabling both the consumers and government to invest this saved money for other areas of the economy.
(Kulbhushan Bhardwaj- The author is Business Head- Air conditioners at LG Electronics India)