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Sustainable Approach to Cooling India

Jul 2, 2019 2:00:00 AM


Space cooling

'The World will be facing a cold crunch' warns International Energy Agency (IEA) in its 2019 Future of Cooling report. After all, space cooling which accounts for 10% of all global electricity consumption will more than triple by 2050, nearing 37%, – consuming as much electricity as all of China and India today.

The challenge is greater closer home in India. According to the latest estimates, as the population grows and lifestyles evolve, cooling energy demand in India is set to more than double over the next 10 years. True, India's per capita energy consumption is still much lower than that of Japan and the US or even Brazil and Mexico. But, space cooling for buildings which consumes 60% of the total energy supply for cooling in India will grow significantly by nearly 2.2 times. The impact? Significant additional power generation capacity, peak load impacts and an enormous carbon footprint!

IEA Quote

Is India prepared to meet this rising demand for energy?

In recent years, India has made giant strides in bridging the gap in energy supply and its rapidly increasing demand. With the total installed generation capacity more than doubling over the past decade from 154.7 gigawatts (GW) in 2006-07 to 345.5 GW in 2017-18, India is now the world’s third largest producer of electricity, after China and the US. In addition to increasing production, the Indian government is slowly evolving the energy mix to increase the share of renewable energy and has also launched multiple schemes and proposals to reduce energy consumption and improve efficiency over the past few years.

The most recent step in this direction was the launch of 'The India Cooling Action Plan' (ICAP)—the first of its kind in the world - by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. In a nutshell, ICAP recommends ways and means to reduce cooling demand across sectors by 20-25% and cooling energy requirements by 25- 40% over the next two decades. Of specific note is that the government's considering mandating ‘24-25°C' or 75°F - 77°F as the minimum indoor temperature in all commercial buildings, as one of the solutions.

Growth in Cooling Demand - India

Cooling energy demand of India to double by 2027 (Source: AEEE)

Over the past month, ICAP has repeatedly made headlines, been applauded by energy experts and been the topic of much debate and discussion at energy forums.
- Is a minimum indoor temperature practical?
- Will it really result in savings?
- Would occupants be comfortable?
The answer to all these questions would be a resounding yes, and here's why.

24°C-25°C (75°F - 77°F): Optimal temperature for both comfort & energy savings

75°F or 24°C has long been considered the optimal indoor temperature for commercial buildings. In fact, back in 2006 the UN launched the Sustainable Buildings and Climate Initiative (SBCI) and adopted 75F as the standard temperature across all its offices to save energy. (Did you know: From our partnership with UNEP’s SBCI initiative was born our brand’s ideology and name).

75F Occupant to improve occupant experience

For the Planet

The advantages of adopting this set temperature are many. The biggest; 20-25% energy savings and 25-40% reduced carbon emissions. According to AEEE estimates, when implemented at a national scale, energy and carbon savings of ~30% can avoid nearly 50 medium-sized (500 MW) power plants and free up this investment capacity to provide wider energy access. The potential GHG savings amount to nearly 170 MT/year annually, that is, roughly equivalent to what is saved by 80 GW of solar power.

For the People

The India Model for Adaptive Comfort (IMAC) by CEPT University found that occupants in Indian offices are more adaptive and tolerant of warmer temperatures. The study identified that even in fully air conditioned buildings the optimal range for indoor operating temperature is 23.5-25.5°C, higher than 22.5°C which is commonly set as the indoor temperature in commercial buildings in India all year round.

It is widely accepted that the right indoor temperature has an immense bearing on the occupant's health and well-being. Recent studies have also proven that indoor temperature has a direct correlation to employee productivity.
research study conducted on the impact of thermal comfort on productivity by Dheeraj Sharma and Rajesh Chandwani of IIM Ahmedabad concluded that productivity increased by 12% when the indoor temperatures were in the range of 23-30°C.

For Profits

Maintaining indoor temperatures between 24-25°C delivers significant energy savings and improves employee productivity by up to 12%. In other words, the recommended internal temperature directly impacts your company's bottom line! 

75F’s solutions, can help you implement the ICAP recommendations by maintaining the recommended internal temperature and ensuring comfort while saving on energy. We look forward to working with the Indian government and commercial buildings to save on cooling energy and give back to the planet. 


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