No More Freezing Offices: Power Ministry Considers Making 24°C As Default Setting In ACs

According to BEE report, total installed air conditioner capacity in India would increase three-fold by 2030 owing to the huge demand

On June 22, Power Minister RK Singh said that the ministry was considering making the default temperature setting for air conditioners at 24 degrees Celsius. This move comes in response to the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) report which states that total installed air conditioner capacity in India would increase three-fold by 2030 owing to the huge demand. According to the report, temperature settings should be in the range of 24 to 26 degree Celsius for optimum utilization and if all consumers adopt a default temperature setting, India could save 20 billion units of electricity annually.

At the launch of the campaign, Singh said,

“The normal human body temperature is approximately 36-37 degrees Celsius, but a large number of commercial establishments maintain a temperature around 18-21 degrees Celsius. This is not only uncomfortable but is actually unhealthy.”

He also added that for every one-degree increase in the temperature setting of ACs, around 6% of electricity consumed is saved.

In addition to issuing advisories to establishments and manufacturers, the government also wants AC manufacturers to add a label on the product indicating the optimum temperature setting for consumers.

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Increase in usage of ACs with an increase in temperatures
According to International Energy Agency, global demand for air conditioners is expected to triple by 2050 due to climate change and rising temperatures. The IEA’s report also states that the amount of power needed to meet the surge in indoor cooling will equal the combined electricity capacity of the United States, the European Union, and Japan today. With such an immense increase in power consumption of ACs, the report also estimates that by 2050, 27 percent of all global warming will be due to gases coming out from ACs.

India is expected to see the biggest increase in the coming decades as the number of ACs in India currently accounts for 10% of the country’s electricity use.

The Power Ministry’s suggestions seem to follow regulations in Japan where its Cool Biz policy reduced carbon emissions by 7.92 million tons in the previous five years. According to the policy, offices and retail buildings were asked to keep the thermostat at 28 degrees Celsius and instituted a ‘no-jacket’ rule in summers for employees. Outside of Japan, South Korea and the UK have also implemented their respected ‘Cool Biz policies’ to bring down power consumption.