Have you ever shopped for an air conditioner or a refrigerator? Have you ever wondered what those red stars sticker mean? These stars are ratings in about the same way as film critics rate a movie out of five. These star ratings are known as BEE Star rating. BEE Star rating is short for Bureau of Energy Efficiency. This rating system was started by the Government of India and is operated under the Ministry of Power. The main aim for this rating is to tell the consumer tested and authentic information in order to help the consumer finalize what product is best to buy. It is a strategic step by the country’s government because it automatically ensures prevention of manufacturing those electronic devices which consume more electricity and is meant to dupe the general consumers. Apart from this, the government wants to regulate the consumption of energy in order to decrease the amount of carbon dioxide emitted and contributes to global warming.
But when I think of star rating it always denotes the quality of the product in my head. Like Michelin stars denote the quality of a restaurant. So, when I see those BEE star rating on my electronic geyser my mind is conditioned to think that these star ratings imply the quality of my geyser. Though BEE star ratings are there for a completely different reason.
Why did the Government make this rating on power consumption compulsory? What is the reason behind BEE star rating?
Let’s find out.
Electricity has become a necessity in our lives. Without electricity I cannot imagine my day. Even when there is a power cut my battery inverter kicks to life and saves me the misery of living without electricity. Like everything, electricity too has pros and cons. Advantages and disadvantages. We all are well aware of the benefits of electricity and always thank our stars for its invention, but what about its disadvantages?
Let’s take a look at why electricity is bad for us both directly and indirectly.
The side effects of electricity are all linked together and when one of these is triggered a chain reaction takes place. The negative effects are all connected intricately with each other.
Electricity generation is a long complex process. It is usually generated by burning fossil fuels like coal. This process involves emission of a lot of gases and chemicals which harm the environment and largely contributes to air pollution. Among other things, air pollution can cause serious and even fatal respiratory diseases in human beings and animals. These chemicals include sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide which lead to acid rain. When both these chemicals mix with the natural environment, a disastrous reaction takes place disturbing the pH. level of the earth. This is how acid rain is born. Acid rain has a very negative impact on the soil, plants and trees. When the flora is affected in such a way, agriculture takes a huge hit. The soil becomes acidic and the crops borne out of acidic soil is harmful which affects human beings and their health.
A huge amount of carbon dioxide is released by this activity. Carbon dioxide is one of the greenhouse gases and contributes a great deal in global warming. Global warming has many adverse effects. It weakens the ozone layer which protects us from the harmful rays of sun. global warming leads to climate change which is a big phenomenon and this triggers a lot of negative reactions by nature. Brutal thunderstorms, cyclones, earthquakes and other natural disasters are triggered which cost countless human lives and loss of property.
Thermal pollution also comes into the picture. Water used by power plants to generate electricity when returned harms the aquatic life of the water body and significantly degrades the soil quality lowering the fertility of the soil.
At the end of the entire electricity generation process, the waste that is generated is harmful and very difficult to dispose of. The waste is radioactive in nature and has its own set of negative impacts. The coal slurry and coal ash are highly toxic in nature and if they are not disposed of properly, they can get mixed with the ground water which is actively used by the humans. If the groundwater becomes infected and is then used by humans and animals it can cause fatal diseases like cancer, kidney and reproductive diseases and birth disorders. These diseases victimize generations of human beings.
These are the reasons why the government has taken this step of BEE star rating.
The BEE Star rating shows how much amount of electricity a particular device is consuming. How to judge how much electricity is being consumed by BEE Star rating? It is very simple, the more the stars the better the electronic device. To elaborate, if the electronic device is rated with five stars, that mean it is a very efficient electronic device and consumes a limited amount of electricity. This provides a quick and efficient way of looking at the energy consumption by just looking at the number of stars.
How do the authorities decide to grant star ratings on appliances?
Well, most people think that star ratings are based on the amount of power consumed by the appliance will judge the BEE stars given. This is a very common misconception. There are many differing factors that decide how many BEE stars are to be awarded to a particular appliance.
Is BEE star rating compulsory for all appliances?
No, the Government of India has made specification on which appliance should have BEE star rating necessarily and which should not. Heavy appliances like Colour TV, Refrigerators, Room Air Conditioners and Geysers have had BEE star ratings. Lighter appliances like electric fans are not mandatory to have BEE star rating.
What are the two types of BEE star labeling?
There are two types of BEE star labeling. They are:
- Small label
Small labels are for light appliances like fans, lights etc. which consume less power as compared to heavy appliances. Small label does not provide much detail but gives only a visual representation of the stars.
- Big label
Big labels are for the heavy appliances like a geyser, Colour TV and refrigerator. It provides additional information along with the stars indicating the amount of power consumed.
BEE star rating is important and essential for the sake of continuing human race. It may sound dramatic but it is true. Looking at the present scenario, the world is not doing well and the blame rests on humans because we truly have exploited Mother Earth. To make up to the nature, every one of us must become aware and start taking responsibilities. The government of many countries have taken steps towards environment conservation but true change will only happen when we, as individuals, start taking responsibilities and become responsible citizens of the world.
To conserve energy and electricity on a purely personal basis we need to follow some steps. They are:
- Switch off the lights and fans when not in use.
- Use air conditioners only when required i.e. only during summers. Doing this will save the environment as well as your money.
- Plant trees. Afforestation has proven to be a very effective measure towards conserving nature. Trees and plants take in carbon dioxide to perform photosynthesis hence reducing the level of carbon dioxide. Strong, full grown trees have strong roots which helps reduce soil erosion, landslides and other environmental hazards.
- Make a habit of watching television for a limited period of time. This will help in reducing significant amount of electricity as well as save your eyes and vision from overexertion.
- Make sure to switch off the electric geyser on time. Electric geysers are fast and efficient so you don’t need to waste electricity by keeping the power switch on for a long period of time.
- Spread awareness to as many people as possible by engaging in rallies and public addressing. Social media can be used as a great tool to make this information known to many people at the same. Social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and more have direct connectivity with huge masses of public.
- Educational institutions like schools and colleges should make it their mission to make children aware of this situation. Teaching children at an early age about environment conservation is very beneficial as the upcoming generations will not repeat the same mistake as we did. Not only schools and colleges, but parents should inculcate nature sensitivity in their children from the starting and condition them to take care of the earth.
- As humans we must come up with durable solutions and alternatives to electricity generation like using solar energy and hydro thermal energy. We must try and invent renewable sources of generating energy and electricity as a successful substitute for fossil fuel burning like coal which is actually the root cause of our failing environment.
That’s its folks. Be careful in choosing your heavy electrical appliances and please choose the ones with the highest BEE star rating.
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