Gone are the days when air-conditioner was a luxury, and the window air-conditioners use to be less efficient.
The General and the Craft AC’s in 1980 ; would consume more energy and there was almost no control over room temperature.
It was either freeze inside the room or bear the extreme heat outside on a warm summer day. Living in two extreme temperatures was the only choice available.
Technology never stagnates, and over a period of time, a small improvement in the technology made it possible that AC’s could be regulated at a room temperature.
Air-conditioners are regulated manually through a remote control. The central air-conditioning can cool the entire building and a switch can regulate it manually.
The demand for Air conditioners in future should tantamount to efficacy. There will be a rapid increase in demand by 2050. The estimated demand would hit 5.6 billion by 2050 as compared to 1.6 billion today.
This steep rise poses plenty of challenges; especially when it comes to energy. Energy is one area, which demands serious introspection.
The question pertaining to energy would bring in the consumption and usage of electricity. The demand for electricity would skyrocket in the near future.
After industrial sector, the usage of AC’s would consume more electricity.
According to Fatih Birol (IEA executive director) Turkish economist and energy expert, said that demand for electricity in air-conditioning is the most neglected area.
Perhaps we should decipher the mind of the famous scientist Nikola Tesla who once attempted to provide free energy to the entire world. But that would remain a distant possibility in future or a sci-fi subject.
There are couple ways to gauge the energy efficiency in central air conditioners. The most rudimentary way is the Energy Efficiency Ratio or EER.
The calculation is about energy consumption per unit when cooling a certain volume of 95 degrees of air in a period of one hour.
The experiment and calculation are done in a specialized laboratory. The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio or SEER is quite complicated and the calculation is according to various humidity levels and temperatures.
The pivotal issue is to increase the cooling efficiency with minimum energy consumption. There had been a marked improvement in energy consumption and efficiency since 1965 when the Westinghouse Air conditioners became a rage.
The stylish window AC’s and the eye-catching advertisements could mesmerize any customer. During the energy crisis in 1970’s, there was a consistent effort by US Government to improve the efficiency and consumption of electricity.
This led to some amendments to laws, which compelled the manufacturers to improve capabilities. This eventually led to a reduction in consumption for electricity and simultaneously improved the efficiency.
However, the demand is now exponential and the efficiency is variable throughout the globe. Take the example of Japan and other European countries where the energy consumption is 25 percent less than the superpowers like US and China. More efficiency tantamount to the reduction in energy.
There has been an increase in buying power, especially in the developing countries in the last three decades. In India, since the economic liberalization of the 1990 ’s. The economy has increased considerably. The buying power has improved.
With this improvement in income, air conditioner purchase has increased. The quality of life in the offices and homes has certainly become better. Air conditioners are available in every Government offices and private companies. Today, even a small restaurant owner is capable to buy an AC.
No one could have crystal gazed this extraordinary rise in demand some 40 years ago.
The consumption is near about 1/5th of electricity used in every building around the world. It also accounts to 10% of electricity worldwide. The IEA is pressing on changes in policies that would enhance the cooling efficiency.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) has come up with some startling facts. It is quite intriguing that many homes in hot countries have not purchased their first AC.
However, by 2050 A.D, two-thirds of the households around the world would be capable to buy an AC. The electricity consumption by then would be equivalent to India and China.
The Paris agreement on climate change has conceded on minimum energy performance standards (MEPS).
In crux it is about, necessity is the mother of all inventions. The sagacity to look forward to more innovations, and less energy consumption, in newer models. The situation demands innovation and improvement.
Hence, a strong policy would compel the manufacturers in taking this steps. According to IEA, good policies can certainly reduce the energy demand by 45%.
Currently, there is a compelling need to buy efficient AC’s. A few minutes of research over the internet would give enough information on energy efficient air-conditioners. Some of the features that one can look into while purchasing are:
- A filter that is smooth and easier for regular cleaning.
- Inverter Technology
- Eco-Friendly Refrigerant
- Properly arranged controls; where there is no confusion.
- A clear readout of the thermostat setting.
- An inbuilt timer.
Innovation and informed decisions would certainly cut-down any possibility of building new electricity infrastructures. This would curtail increase in demand for fuel and any other operational cost. Low-cost effective cooling would save a staggering $2.9 trillion.
The way forward is to set a high benchmark to improve efficiency. This inevitably would cut down the emissions. Hence, Government should set-up higher standards that would eventually become cost-effective and environmentally friendly.