In May of 2006, the Government of India along with the Ministry of Power launched the Standards and Labelling (S&L) Scheme under the Energy Conservation Act, 2001. The Bureau of Energy Efficiency undertook the responsibility of the scheme above.
Since then, the Standards and Labelling scheme has had some drastic impact on consumer habits and the environment.
The key objective of the scheme is to provide consumers an informed choice about the energy savings of high energy equipment and appliances.
The scheme also targets to lay down minimum energy performance standards for industries to make better machines. All of this leads to savings in cost and power.
To materialise the objective of the scheme, the famous ‘star label’ was introduced on appliances – that detailed the efficiency of the product along with various particulars, allowing consumers to compare models and choose the best one in terms of energy conservancy.
This energy-efficiency benchmark also worked in association with other policy measures, such as procurement programs and financial incentives for the producer, encouraging companies and industries to innovate efficient devices.
It’s been 12 years since the launch of Standards and Labelling scheme. So how has the ‘Star Label’ fared till now?
Well a recent study by the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay found out that on an average, consumers prefer air conditioners that have labels, and are willing to pay more for those that are energy efficient.
In this study, researchers from the Centre for Technology Alternatives for Rural Areas and Interdisciplinary Program in Climate Studies, IIT Bombay, led by Prof. Anand B Rao, used statistical tools to analyse what consumers preference was when it comes to purchasing of appliances.
The researchers analysed 1184 observations from 148 individuals, as each respondent gave eight different preferences in hypothetical purchase situations of a 1.5-ton split air conditioner.
The study found that 70% of the people surveyed were aware of star labels and 48% believed that higher star rated devices consume lesser electricity.
Customer preference also varied with star rating levels. It was seen that 69% preferred an air conditioner rated 3-star over one with a 2-star rating, and 78% preferred a 5-star rated air conditioner over a 2-star rated one.
In addition, 85% of the respondents preferred the presence of a star label on the ACs.
So what is the label and how did comes to be?
To begin with, there are mandatory products for which the star label has to be acquired. These are frost free and direct cool refrigerators, tubular fluorescent lamps, room air conditioners, electric geysers, colour TV and other non-home appliances.
The company of the product first has to register themselves on the Standards and Labelling (S&L) web portal for each brand of the appliance, i.e., for air-conditioners, refrigerators etc.,.
After that, numerous required documents need to be submitted– from the name and address of the premises where the products are manufactured to a valid quality management certificate as per the latest ISO 9001 accreditation.
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The applicants should also deposit a security fee of INR 1,00,000 for each registration as a security deposit. Here it should be noted that Small Scale Industries (SSI) have to only pay INR 25,000 provided they submit the valid SSI certificate.
After the company registration for the brand is done, the model registration is the next important step. Each model of the equipment should be registered with a registration fee of INR 2000 and with particular documents.
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Out of the documents, the test report for the equipment should also be submitted which decides the star rating of the appliance.
The test report will constitute the energy efficiency performance value – which is deduced uniquely for each product as per Indian Standards. This energy efficiency performance value should be obtained from NABL accredited labs or the manufacturer’s own lab.
Here’s where the process takes an interesting sequence. The Independent Agency for Monitoring and Evaluation (IAME) will evaluate the application (but not test the energy efficiency performance value, yet) and will authorise the applicant to fix the standard BEE star label on the registered product.
The registered product should be produced within six months from this step and should be commercially available within a year. The manufacturer should also provide details about authorised dealerships from where the product will be available from. This is later important for BEE for monitoring, verification and enforcement of the star label.
BEE has two robust methods for verification of the energy efficiency factor. One is the Check Testing. For this, the Bureau shall carry out testing on its own by procuring samples of the product from the authorised dealerships from the market. The samples are then tested by third-party NABL accredited labs.
This lab then evaluates the results and decides whether it has passed or not. If the results indicate failure, it goes on to second test checking which will be conducted by the Bureau itself.
If the product goes on to fail the second check testing also, the Bureau will direct the manufacturer to correct the star level on the product and change the particulars displayed on the advertising material.
If the requirement falls beneath the one-star standard, the manufacturer will have to withdraw all the stocks from the market.
Additionally, the Bureau will also publish the results on their site and newspapers for the benefit of the consumer with the particulars of the appliance. As you can see here.
Along with the check testing, there is also the challenge testing, where written complaints to the BEE about the star label will see actions taken accordingly towards the product.
The Bureau has various enforcement to carry out the S&L scheme properly and revises the energy efficiency quotient for every three years. BEE also has a dedicated app that allows you to view the star rating of various product available in the market.
You can download the app for Android here.
The energy labelling has single-handedly influenced our consuming habits for good and to know the process behind is effective and robust, assures the decision we make, we make for the good of us.