While purchasing a new appliance, the prominent thoughts that cross our minds is the product’s pricing, utility, essential features and even its design to some extent. Pricing however is the major deciding factor when it comes to purchasing appliances. But, we often consider the actual sale price and are ignorant about the cost of using a particular appliance while purchasing.
Since large appliances like refrigerators, televisions, etc. tend to be usable for many years, their cost of usage amounts to a lot more than we think. Thus, it must be among the major considerations while purchasing a new appliance.
When we talk about cost of using, majority of it constitutes of the electricity bills we pay. Now, it’s a tedious task to decipher the electricity consumption of every appliance we buy. This is where the BEE ratings come into play. These ratings are formulated carefully and are extremely simple to understand. Equate it with seeing the IMDB rating and getting a sense of how good a movie is. In fact, it’s even simpler than that. Higher the BEE rating, more energy efficient is the appliance. For appliances like Refrigerators which are on 24 hours or ACs which consume significant power, energy efficiency is an important metric.
This makes our purchasing decision way easier and helps us in taking energy efficiency into account while we purchase an appliance. But what is BEE and why is it helping us in purchasing better?
What is BEE?
BEE (Bureau of Energy Efficiency) is an agency set up by the government of India to constantly move towards maximum energy efficiency. It coordinates with all the intermediaries including the government, industries, manufacturers and consumers in order to achieve their goals of an energy efficient nation.
Thus, helping consumers choose an energy efficient appliance is just a part of the whole equation. There are several programmes and projects initiated by the agency to facilitate this as well. However, the most popular and widespread among these is the Energy Rating program.
What is BEE Star Rating?
Star ratings are provided to all the major kind of appliances in the form of labels. These star ratings are given out of 5 and they provide a basic sense of how energy efficient each product is, just in a single glance. But a lot goes into deciding how energy efficient an appliance is, what rating it shall receive and how soon shall the rating be updated. Let’s dive into the details and figure out everything you need to know about these Energy Ratings.
Who puts the BEE Star Rating labels?
Technically, the manufacturers put these labels on their appliances. Or to be precise, the manufacturers are officially required to put these labels as per the Standards and Labelling Program introduced in 2006.
Why do they put these BEE Star Rating labels?
The prime importance of these Star Ratings is to educate and inform consumers about how energy efficient each product is. This also makes the manufacturer responsible for creating products which are highly energy efficient as consumers may eventually prefer better rated products.
How do they decide the BEE Star Ratings?
One of the most common myths about the BEE Star Rating is that it is solely based on the appliance’s power consumption. A lot of factors contribute into formulating the final star rating on the product.
Although the manufacturers rate and label the product, BEE sets all the standards and norms which need to be followed while rating an appliance. While some category of appliances necessarily have to be be given a star rating, for others it’s optional.
Appliances which need to have a energy rating label mandatorily: Frost-free refrigerator, Tubular Fluorescent Lamps, Room Air-Conditioners, Distribution Transformer, Colour TV, CST AC, Direct Cool Refrigerator and Electric Geyser.
The rules and standards for every product category is different and even the year of manufacturing has a considerable impact on the star rating.
The appliances with the lowest energy consumption in a product category are given the most stars and those with the highest energy consumption are given the least. If you are looking at a 1-ton air-conditioner and it has a 5 star rating, it means that this AC is the most energy efficient among all the other 1-ton ACs. So, if you compare a 1.5-ton air-conditioner with a 1-ton variant based on star ratings, this comparison shall be inaccurate with regards to energy efficiency.
Also, a refrigerator manufactured in 2015 might be highly energy efficient and must have received a 5 Star Rating. But, the same refrigerator might be less energy efficient compared to refrigerators in 2017 owing to improved efficiency technologies. Thus, BEE continues to update the star rating and makes the energy rating program better every passing year.
There are two variants of these labels, a big one and a smaller version.
The big energy rating label is aimed at appliances which have a constant usage and consume more electricity. These labels show additional information such as the yearly energy consumption of the product, brand name, product category and much more. For consumers, this big label is helpful as it allows you to calculate the actual money you would spend in electricity bills for that particular product.
Products with a big label: Refrigerators, air-conditioners, geysers and washing machines.
Small labels can be found in appliances which usually don’t consume more energy. These labels just give you a visual representation of the energy consumption levels by showing star ratings.
Products with a small label: Ceiling fans, tube lights, computers/laptops and televisions.
What are the other responsibilities of BEE?
Apart from providing the norms and setting the standards for energy ratings, the BEE is responsible for a lot of other tasks as well. Some of the major ones include:
- Development of the energy efficiency code for buildings and industries.
- Certification of Energy Managers and Energy Auditors so they can independently perform energy audits.
- Development of norms for energy consumption.
Now these are the regulatory tasks of BEE. Regulations alone can’t be enough to ensure maximum energy efficiency. Thus, BEE also takes considerable efforts in promoting and creating awareness about energy efficiency through various mediums. Some of the promotional activities carried out by BEE include:
- Creation of promotional and awareness initiatives to educate consumers about energy efficiency, star ratings and other programs under BEE.
- Arrange training campaigns for people interested in doing energy efficiency programs.
- Provide financial assistance to institutions who are promoting energy efficiency.
- Include energy efficiency in the educational curriculum to promote energy efficiency from the ground level.
Your Duties and Responsibilities as consumers
If we have to progress towards maximum energy efficiency and power conservation, as consumers we need to become more responsible. BEE is doing a great job in helping us choose the right products but it finally depends on how responsibly we use them. Another great initiative by BEE is that it constantly notifies people of products which don’t match the specified label rating. Before you purchase an appliance, you can take a look at the site and see if the product is listed there for false labels.
As a consumer, purchase the most energy efficient appliances by checking their BEE ratings and ensure to use them optimally. Small efforts like this shall lead to lower electricity bills for you and an energy efficient planet for all of us.