By Richa Chakravarty
The electronic products market, particularly the consumer electronics segment, is a dynamic one, as every few months a new product is launched. We, as customers, shell out a good amount of money to acquire a new product, unaware of how much energy it will consume. Thus, if we add the cost of the power consumed by the product, we actually pay a lot more than the purchase price.
There has been an initiative by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) to make consumers aware about energy efficient and ‘star rated’ products, while simultaneously educating manufacturers about the benefits of making such products. Recently, BEE organised a workshop in Delhi in collaboration with the Collaborative Labelling and Appliance Standards Program (CLASP) and ICF International, to promote the best practices in maintaining consumer electronics standards and labelling programmes.
Explaining the process of labelling done by BEE, Ajay Mathur, director general, BEE, said the bureau first does a market survey and picks up products randomly and starts evaluating them in a lab, before rating and then labelling them from ‘one star’ to ‘five stars.’ “We do it voluntarily, but manufacturers of electronics goods can come to us and get their products rated. It is advisable that a manufacturer develops an energy efficient product as the consumers have started demanding it,” he said.
ICF International has played a pivotal role in supporting BEE in its ongoing work to implement a comprehensive standards and labelling (S&L) programme. “BEE’s voluntary S&L programme has been one of the most effective market based tools for reducing energy consumption and encouraging long term manufacture and sale of energy efficient products,” said Sandeep Tondon, director, ICF International. LG Electronics, Samsung Electronics, Videocon, Onida, Panasonic and Philips are a few manufacturers that have enrolled with the programme.
Products like inverters, UPS systems, batteries, computers, mobile chargers, etc, will, soon be covered under the S&L programme. “We will first launch the standards for laptops, followed by inverters and UPS systems,” informed Dr Sandeep Garg, energy economist, BEE. The S&L programme will empower manufacturers to self certify the products by adopting approval testing procedures.
India is still at a nascent stage in moving towards energy efficient products. The real problem is that there are no manufacturing standards available, so BEE is working with organisations like Manufacturers’ Association for Information Technology (MAIT), and Consumer Electronics and Alliances Manufacturing Association (CEAMA) to build a framework. “We are still struggling with the mechanics on how to put these testing standards together,” adds Dr Sandeep Garg.
The recent initiative taken by BEE is the introduction of endorsement labels for consumer electronics and office automation products. This endorsement labels will indicate that the product is among the most energy efficient models available in the market. According to BEE, in 2009-10, the S&L programme had resulted in electricity savings of 4350 million units in India, while avoiding the need to generate 2179 MW of power.
“Considering the growth of the electronics industry, it is time to have a standard to define the energy consumption of electronics products. We are also working with state government authorities on how to implement the penalty mechanism if a manufacturer does not comply with these standards,” informs Dr Sandeep Garg.