The Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) in 2016 undertook the responsibility of the Standards and Labelling (S&L) Scheme under the Energy Conservation Act, 2001. Since the inception of the scheme, BEE has made an impact on the way we consume and its impact on the environment. It has helped consumers make informed decisions about the energy savings of their home appliances including their Air Conditioners (ACs). The S&L Scheme provides minimum energy performance standards for AC manufacturers to produce more efficient products that consume less power and are easy on the pocket.
The ‘star label’ on ACs provides details on the efficiency of the model along with other particulars to enable consumers to compare products. Also, the benchmark works with other policy measures such as financial incentives for the producer of ACs to encourage them to innovate their new models.
A recent study found that consumers prefer ACs with the star labels are open to paying a higher price for models that are energy efficient.1 As part of the study, it was found that 70 percent of respondents were aware of the star label and 48 percent thought that the higher rated ACs consumed less electricity. People preferred a five-star rated AC over a 2-star rated one with 78 percent of respondents indicating the same.
What is the star label and how did it come into existence?
It is mandatory for room air conditioner producers to obtain star labels. In order to obtain the label, the company has to register on the S&L online portal and submit the required documentation including a quality management certificate according to the latest ISO 9001 accreditation. Next, the company registers its models along with test reports from the NABL accredited labs or their own labs to evaluate the energy efficiency performance value. The Independent Agency for Monitoring and Evaluation (IAME) then conducts the final evaluation.
The BEE has two methods to verify the energy efficiency factor. The first method is the testing of the procured samples from an authorised dealership in the market. This is followed by testing from the NABL accredited labs. If the product does not pass the test, the BEE conducts another test on its own. The final result decides what the consumer sees on the star label on the product. The BEE ensures that a product that does not acquire a minimum of a one-star rating is withdrawn from the market.
As a consumer, you can check the published results on the BEE website with details on the AC model. You can also complain about a model and ask BEE to conduct challenge testing. The BEE ratings are reviewed every three years to provide you with the best assessment of the product’s energy efficiency.
Do inverter ACs have star rating labels?
Inverter ACs are a comparatively new offering in the Indian market. However, some of these ACs were launched before the star rating system was introduced for them. The star rating plan was a voluntary one for inverter AC models. The manufacturers did not have to declare the ISEER (Indian Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) on these models. However, it is compulsory to obtain the star rating for any model manufactured after January 1, 2018. With the new policy, all ACs will need energy-saving and intelligent regulation compressors instead of the thermostat-triggered cut-off mechanisms. The new star rating system, ISEER, tests the performance of ACs at a temperature between 24 and 43 degrees Celsius as opposed to the previous system of using a 35 degree Celsius benchmark.
You can know more about an AC’s star rating on online portals such as the EMI store on Finserv MARKETS. Even though five-star rated ACs come with a higher price tag, you can access easy financing options such as EMIs with zero down payment on the stores to ensure you have purchased an energy-efficient product. The star label should be an important consideration in the purchase of your new AC due to its robust and effective process in evaluating the product.