Council on Energy, Environment and Water Integrated | International | Independent

Do Residential AC Buyers Prioritise Energy Efficiency?

Indian Consumer Perceptions and Purchases

Shikha Bhasin, Apurupa Gorthi, Vaibhav Chaturvedi
September 2020 | Technology, Finance & Trade

Suggested Citation: Bhasin, Shikha, Apurupa Gorthi, and Vaibhav Chaturvedi. 2020. Do Residential AC Buyers Prioritise Energy Efficiency? Indian Consumer Perception and Purchases. New Delhi: Council on Energy, Environment and Water.


This study, supported by the Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation, documents AC end-users’ awareness about the implication of regular servicing with good servicing practices (GSPs) for energy efficiency. It identifies factors that influence their decision to purchase ACs in relation to star ratings. Further, the study proposes recommendations to enhance the uptake of energy efficient ACs as a purchase decision, and from an operations and maintenance point of view.

How consumers perceive the impact these good servicing practices have on energy efficiency

Source: Authors' Analysis

Key Findings

  • Over 75 per cent respondents were aware of the star labelling programme, of which 95 per cent deemed it trustworthy and 93 per cent claimed to find it useful.
  • Though over 70 per cent wanted to purchase a high-star labelled AC, only 14 per cent actually went on to purchase a 4- or 5-star labelled AC.
  • Over 75 per cent of households attributed the cost of the AC as a barrier to purchasing a high star labelled product.
  • As much as 68 per cent of the households reported that they considered energy efficiency a key attribute at the time of purchase. Relatively more respondents indicated that budgetary and branding decisions had been finalised well before the purchase was made.
  • Only a third of households believed there to be any relationship between servicing and the maintenance of energy efficiency. Nearly 30 per cent of households reported being unaware of the aspect and about 40 per cent believed there is no link between the two.

Key Recommendations

  • Enhance financing solutions such as tax incentives and international financial support programmers for higher efficiency AC purchases.
  • Optimise efficiency through operations and maintenance (O&M) practices.
  • Manufacturing companies, retailers and OEMS must develop and promote informational outreach collaterals on best case practices related to installations and servicing of the AC. Include these in the product manual.
  • Retail outlets and manufacturing companies must consider creating business models for effective servicing, offering incentives for annual servicing, maintenance contracts and extended service warranties.
  • Create a workforce of technicians that undertake good servicing practices so as to optimize cooling and efficiency of the AC appliance.
  • Design a large-scale campaign to nudge behaviour change by providing adequate information on best practices related to AC usage.
The trade-off between upfront spending, or through the appliances’ lifetime, is still clearly stacked against energy-efficient purchases.

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