Energy efficiency rating is beginning to make its mark.
The National Energy Labeling Program was launched in India in 2006 with the objective of providing a common energy-efficiency benchmark. This would make it easier for utility companies and government agencies to encourage consumers to buy energy-efficient products. In the Indian context, the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) is mandated with the task of promoting the use of energy-efficiency standards and labeling. The least-energy-efficient appliances are given a one-star label and the most-efficient appliances carry a five-star label. A self-regulatory mechanism has been adopted for implementing the program. BEE is also conducting tests in accredited independent laboratories in order to maintain credibility of the pro- gram and inspire consumer confidence.
The program is a needed step toward ensuring efficient use of energy resources, particularly since India, like China, will likely see a rapid rise in energy consumption as its economic development progresses. The program was launched on a voluntary basis for frost-free refrigerators and tubular fluorescent lamps. Subsequently, more appliances were added to the program. During 2007, direct-cool refrigerators, general-purpose electric motors, air-conditioners, and ceiling fans were also included in the program. Ajay Mathur, BEE’s director general, confirmed in recent media reports that nearly 70% of air-conditioners and nearly 90% of refrigerators are now BEE labeled.
This has given appliance makers an impetus to manufacture energy-efficient products. Godrej is soon launching a new line of refrigerators that is being engineered to achieve a five-star label. Samsung refrigerators and air-conditioners manufactured by Carrier were among the first companies whose products were awarded the BEE labels in 2006.
From the point of view of the OEMs, the energy-efficiency rating provides a new marketing opportunity. Companies that have earned four-star and five-star labels are using these to boost sales and are gearing up to launch new models of energy-efficient appliances.