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Govt has mandated 24 degrees as the default temperature for ACs: What does this mean and how will it affect you

According to a mandate from the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE), ever air conditioner to be sold in India now will have a default temperature of 24 degrees.
According to a mandate from the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE), ever air conditioner to be sold in India now will have a default temperature of 24 degrees. (Mohd Zakir/HT PHOTO)

This 24 degrees has been selected to save electricity. According to studies, for every one degree we raise the temperature of the AC to, up to 6% electricity can be saved.

According to a mandate from the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE), ever air conditioner to be sold in India now will have a default temperature of 24 degrees. This mandate is a part of the new energy performance standards and basically means that when you switch on a new AC for the first time, the default temperature it will start at is 24 degrees.

The central government, in consultation with BEE, notified new energy performance standards for room air conditioners (RACs) on October 30, 2019, according to a statement by the power ministry.

As per this notification, "all brands and types of star-labelled RACs, which are rated from one star to five stars based on their energy efficiencies and manufactured, commercially purchased or sold in India, shall ensure default setting of temperature in the room air conditioners at 24 degrees Celsius, with effect from January 1, 2020".

The BEE notification states - "Default setting is the setting at which a machine comes from the factory. Therefore, when the machine is switched on then it will have a preset temperature of 24-degrees-Celsius."

This is going to apply to all ACs that will be sold in India under star-labelled ratings from BEE and is applicable to all home ACs. These ratings are provided by BEE based on energy consumption and quality. And BEE's star labelling is now mandatory for all ACs with a cooling capacity of up to 10,465 watts (2.97 tonne of refrigeration).

Why 24 degrees?

This 24 degrees has been selected to save electricity. According to studies, for every one degree we raise the temperature of the AC to, up to 6% electricity can be saved.

So far, the default temperature for ACs in India was 20 or 21 degrees. Thus, by increasing it to 24 degrees you are saving 18 to 24% electricity - it is simple math.

The lower the temperature at which you run the AC, the more electricity you consume.

So, what does this mean for you?

Does this mean that you cannot lower the AC temperature below 24 degrees or crank it up to a higher degree?

Obviously not.

Once you turn on the AC you can always lower or raise the temperature as you desire. You do not need to sweat it out at 24 degrees. So why have a default temperature at all?

The logic behind having a higher default temperature as compared to the 20-21 degrees as it used to be is that most users never change this default temperature setting to raise or lower it. According to studies, almost 40% of AC users just turn on their ACs and let it run on the default temperature it comes on at.

The common perception in this case is that the default temperature is neither too cold or too hot and therefore works quite comfortably across most season in India.

By raising the default temperature to 24 degrees, the government actually ends up saving electricity, at least in those 40% of user cases. Also, it works to raise awareness.

However, it's not only India. Other countries too have default settings in ACs - in Japan the default temperature is 28 degrees.

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