Explainer: Labelling for efficient energy use | The Financial Express

Explainer: Labelling for efficient energy use

BEE’s star label is a way of describing energy performance of a product.

Bureau of Energy Efficiency, Bureau of Energy Efficiency news, Bureau of Energy Efficiency latest news, Bureau of Energy Efficiency star ratings, power saving ratings, what is star rating
In July last year, star labelling for air conditioners was also changed, with higher energy efficiency norms introduced for 5-star models

Energy efficiency is a key pillar of India’s climate action plan. To that end, the regulation of efficient energy use by consumer electronics is an important measure. The Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) recently tightened the standards for some white goods. Shubhra Tandon takes a look at BEE’s latest move and energy efficiency rating in India.

BEE’s latest move

BEE has tightened norms for refrigerators from January 1, which require separate star labelling for freezers and refrigerator provisioning units (storage section) of frost-free versions in addition to strengthening labelling. So, an existing refrigerator with 3-star rating will become 2-star labelled. In July last year, star labelling for air conditioners was also changed, with higher energy efficiency norms introduced for 5-star models, which meant an AC with 5-star rating was labelled 4-star in keeping with the changed norms. Star labelling has been mandated for ceiling fans for the first time, and only rated ones can be made and sold in India now onwards.

Also Read: Bureau of Energy Efficiency signs MoU with SIDBI to finance green MSMEs

Freezers and refrigerator provisioning units (storage section) of frost-free fridges will have to get star labelling separately.

What is star labelling/rating?

BEE’s star label is a way of describing energy performance of a product. It denotes the energy efficiency of an appliance of a particular brand in comparison to similar offerings from other brands. It is thus a comparative label rather than an endorsement label.

Every appliance in BEE’s list — 28 in total, with mandatory labelling for 10 and voluntary labelling for 18 — gets a rating between one and five stars. Apart from power consumption, the rating considers other factors that are different for different appliance categories. For instance, in the case of ceiling fans, air delivery (in cubic metres per minute) and the power consumed is considered. Manufacturers share the data about an appliance directly with BEE. Newly-launched products, however, get tested in a lab accredited by NABL (National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories).

Impact of change in rating norms

The change in star labelling norms also results in appliances becoming costlier because such changes require modifications in products to align with the standards to maintain energy efficiency.

Also Read: National Energy Conservation Day: India in IEA list of nations clocking maximum energy intensity improvement between 2015-2020

For instance, AC manufacturers are required to change the design parameters to increase airflow, surface area of copper tubes and put higher efficient compressors to increase their energy efficiency. With the latest changes in norms, refrigerators are set to become dearer by 2-5%, while prices for ceiling fans will be higher by 7-8%.

Prices for ACs have been revised 7-10% since July 2022 when the revised norms kicked in. While star-ratings lead to additional upfront costs for consumers, there are also savings on the power bill over the life of the appliance due to efficient energy use. Industry believes, as has been reported, that price jumps affect purchase decisons of entry-level buyers the most.

Star-labelling challenges and its potential for climate action

The major challenge faced is that star labelling pushes up the cost of production if a higher rating is aimed. With inflation remaining high, manufacturers of consumer goods are concerned that these changes may affect the demand further, as the increase in costs will have to be passed on to the consumers. In price-sensitive segments like ceiling fans, the impact may be felt more acutely because rural demand continues to be weak, and even sales in mass segments of consumer electronics have not been doing well. Energy labelling is one of the most simple and cost-effective policy tools for driving energy efficiency. Energy efficiency, in turn, has the maximum greenhouse gas abatement potential of around 51%, followed by renewables at 32%. According to BEE, the successful implementation of energy efficiency measures contributed to electricity savings of 239.78 billion units, or 17.4% of total electricity consumption of the country and emission reduction of 267.98 million tonnes of carbon dioxide during 2020-21. Also, India can avoid building 300 gigawatt of new power generation up to 2040 with the implementation of ambitious energy efficiency policies, per IEA–India 2020.

Get live Share Market updates and latest India News and business news on Financial Express. Download Financial Express App for latest business news.

First published on: 05-01-2023 at 02:00 IST