By Harshal Surange and Arvind Surange
Life is all about making the right choices. There will always be a ‘good’ thing to do and a ‘not-so-good’ thing to do. In each case, every person will have a choice to make, and it is up to that person to decide whether he or she chooses the right direction or the ‘not-so-right’ direction. Again, considering the concept of ethical relativity, one can easily argue that what is right for one can be wrong for another. So, one cannot really point a finger towards anyone for doing what they are doing. As such, while not entering into a philosophical discussion, the only thing we wish to point out is that eventually we are all Global Citizens and we should do whatever is best and logically possible and help the world to be a better place. In many cases, it is observed that if the Government lays down a direction in terms of regulatory framework, such issues are easy to be dealt with. The scenario in India does pose many questions. Considering the way the world is going, shifting to natural refrigerants is the way to go.
However, the way the Paris Agreement was signed by India, the actual phase-out of HFCs, which have high Global Warming Potential (GWP) begins only in 2028. Many companies are using this interim period to sell a large volume of HFCs (some are even selling HCFCs, even though technically their phase-out has begun in India). So, the question arises, what should be done? The developed world has already begun phase out of HFCs, due to which companies in those countries are selling their HCFC and HFC based units to countries where they are still allowed to be sold. This means that for those companies to make money, they are flooding the market with refrigerants that their own country has banned. The same thing is happening in other developing countries in Asia and Africa where these products are being sold by companies from countries that are themselves phasing them out. That is market dynamics in the face of global realities!
Minimum Energy Performance Standard
It is important to understand that in India, we are still much ahead of many other developing countries where, as of now, even basic norms like rating systems are not in place. It is good that we already have our basic systems like BEE’s Star Labeling program, the Energy Conservation Building Code (which has to be adopted at the State level) and even the earlier NHB standards and the current MIDH guidelines that strive to set a benchmark for the industry to look at and adopt. However, what most of the developed world has adopted and where we as a country need to move up are the Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS). India really needs to have minimum performance standards for all equipment, not just Refrigeration and Air Conditioning related, but all major energy-consuming appliances like lights, geysers, refrigerators, etc.
MEPS is a specification containing a number of performance requirements for an energy-using device, which effectively limits the maximum amount of energy that may be consumed by a product in performing a specified task. A MEPS is usually made mandatory by a Government energy efficiency body. It may include requirements not directly related to energy; this is to ensure that general performance and user satisfaction are not adversely affected by increasing energy efficiency. A MEPS generally requires use of a particular test procedure that specifies how performance is measured. Most developed countries have MEPS as a form of a regulation enforced by the Government. Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, etc. are countries that have MEPS in place.
We are sharing some information regarding UNEP workshops. The Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer will help protect the climate by phasing down high-GWP hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which are commonly used as refrigerants. Promoting energy efficiency of air conditioning and refrigeration technology can significantly increase the climate co-benefits. With support from the Kigali Cooling Efficiency Programme (K-CEP), UN Environment (UNEP) is implementing a two-year ‘twinning’ project to jointly build the capacity of National Ozone Officers (NOOs) and National Energy Policymakers (NEPs) for linking energy efficiency with Montreal Protocol objectives in support of the Kigali Amendment. Under this 2-year project, each NOO will be invited to twin with an appropriate NEP from his/her country to exchange experiences, develop skills and share knowledge and ideas on improving the energy efficiency of cooling products in concert with the refrigerant transition required under the Kigali Amendment, which enters into force on January 1, 2019.
UN Environment and its partners will provide both the officials with specialized training, capacity building tools, country assessments, and opportunities to apply the findings in their national context. This interaction is intended to catalyze enhanced cooperation at the national level between these two stakeholder groups, and enable the governments to integrate energy efficiency considerations more rapidly into the ongoing Montreal Protocol process. There were a lot of deliberations in the workshops regarding HCFC phase-out, ways to increase energy efficiency in the refrigeration and air conditioning industry, and the like. It was a pity that relevant Government representatives from India had to drop out at the last minute due to some exigencies at the
Government level. This was for the workshop at China.
RefCold fever is now taking the industry by storm. A lot of interest has been generated and industry support continues to pour in. A lot of support from various Ministries has also come in and there may be significant presence of Government representatives at RefCold. For the last many years we have been promoting the Refrigeration and Cold Chain Pavilion at ACREX, and that has eventually blossomed into a completely new show. ISHRAE’s first big venture into this space will be sure to create ripples and will be the benchmark for the industry, like ACREX is for the HVAC Industry.