How the humble ceiling fan can help contribute to India’s journey towards net zero

When purchasing home appliances, star rating, which signifies the energy efficiency and thus the cost saving potential of the appliance, is one of the key factors considered by Indian consumers. The Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE), under its star labelling scheme, has been consistently working towards bringing more efficient appliances to the market by setting energy performance standards across categories. The ratings range from 1 to 5 stars, with 5-star rating meaning that appliance is the most energy efficient.

When it comes to ceiling fans, the energy efficiency of a ceiling fan was hardly a consideration for consumers, until now. However, from 1st January 2023, ceiling fans have come under the ambit of mandatory star labelling. It is noteworthy that the fans are second biggest power guzzlers in Indian homes and account for almost 21% of household energy consumption. With more than 60 million number of fans sold annually, not only will star rating of fans help in significantly lowering electricity bills for consumers but will also help them in reducing their carbon footprint.

Let us first understand how star rating is given to a ceiling fan

The star rating of a ceiling fan is dependent on its service value (air delivery in meter cubes divided by energy consumption in wattage). A higher service value will mean a higher star rating. To paint a better picture, let’s say a fan’s air delivery is 220 cubic meters per minute and it consumes 50 watts, then its service value will be 220 divided by 50, which is 4.4.

How this benefits the end consumer

Star rating indicates energy savings ranging from over 50% for a 5-star rated fan to a minimum of 30% for a 1-star rated fan. The highest rated fans are Brushless Direct Current (BLDC) fans. The conventional induction motor-based fan typically consumes 70-75 watts of power. But BLDC fans, on the other hand, can reduce power consumption by more than 50 per cent thus promising significant savings on electricity and energy costs.

While the price per unit of electricity varies largely in India depending on the region, electricity provider, slabs, and usage, let’s assume it at Rs. 6.5 per unit for residential users and look at the potential savings star rated fans can offer as compared to a typical fan that consumed about 75 wats of power.

So, a single BLDC fan can help consumers save around Rs. 1600 annually on electricity bills. For a household with 3-4 BLDC fans, the savings will be significant. Another important thing to consider here is the payback period. While star rated fans have a slightly higher upfront cost than the typical fans, they will help consumers save money in the long run by keeping electricity bills low. In fact, the complete cost of the fan can be recovered in less than 2 years.

Given the rising popularity of BLDC fans, the industry majors are rolling out models across price points catering to every style, need, and budget. Whether it be a BLDC fan with integrated underlight, aerodynamic design, or IoT technology, you will easily find one that suits your needs.

The future of fans is BLDC

Today, BLDC fans’ share in the Indian market is in single digits. With the BEE’s decision that only star rated fans can be sold, this figure is slated to increase dramatically. While the 5-star rated BLDC ceiling fans will be sold at a higher price point, their greater energy efficiency makes them well worth it.

A parallel example is the revolution in Lighting industry brought about by the introduction of LEDs. Consumers were won over by benefits of LED lighting and hence traded in favour of a slightly pricier product that came with superior value proposition. BLDC fans may well result in a similar revolution in the fans industry especially as consumers are aware more than ever before about the importance of saving energy and lowering their carbon footprint.

Anika Agarwal
Chief Marketing and Customer Experience Officer
Orient Electic

How this benefits the nation

With a growing population of 1.42 billion, India accounts for about 25% of the global energy demand, hence the need for energy efficiency and conservation. India being a tropical country is a huge market for fans. Approximately 60 million fans are sold annually in India, so one could imagine the amount of energy and cost savings and reduction in carbon footprint the country can achieve by switching to BLDC fans.

This development is also in line with India’s commitment to achieving net-zero carbon emission by 2070. The groundwork for this is being laid today through various astute initiatives including the installation of non-fossil fuel sources which will generate 50% of power by 2030, the Hydrogen Energy Mission, and the BEB’s Perform Achieve and Trade (PAT) scheme which will lead to energy savings. Alongside these sound initiatives, steps such as spurring the adoption of BLDC fans will also help contribute to realizing the ambitious emissions targets. It’s the low hanging fruit we must pluck, for sure.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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