Hyderabad: The Union power ministry’s announcement to regulate the default settings of air conditioners to 24º Celsius as a test measure to conserve power has raised eyebrows but experts said it could be an effective method.
Companies were advised on Friday to set the default setting at 24ºC. The setting would be mandatory after a six-month survey, if it proves to be power efficient. Users will have to increase or decrease the temperature. Labels will be put up indicating that the optimum temperature for ACs is 24ºC to 26ºC.
Although power minister R.K. Singh stated that each 1ºC increase in the AC temperature setting can save six per cent of electricity, experts state that it is an assumption as each building is different which changes their cooling quotient.
Ms Vijitha Kandamkumarath, an electrical engineer working for a large power distribution company, said, “At a higher temperature setting, ACs use less power. Most buildings have large glass windows which means they are more exposed to sunlight and require more cooling. The tendency to lower the AC temperature to get quicker results can be seen across offices. Many do not increase the setting after the desired cooling is achieved.” She stated that although there might be a big leap from 18ºC to 24ºC, it can meet the cooling needs.
Experts said the normal body temperature is 37ºC and there is no need to cool the room to 18ºC. “The step will be effective as large establishments are being roped in. Establishments with centralised AC and others will set the temperature at 24ºC which should bring about a large change going by the figures stated by the ministry,” said Ms Kandamkumarath.
The statement by the power ministry said, “If all the consumers adopt the same, this will result in savings of 20 billion units of electricity in one year.”
The star ratings in ACs are awarded by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) and experts say that the new rule will not effect them. As per the new rule, the power required from each air conditioner will reduce and is not directly related to its energy efficiency.
Having a standard temperature for all ACs at 24ºC from 18ºC can save up to 36 per cent of the electricity consumed, which would save on power costs....