Times of India , February 03, 2012

AHMEDABAD: Use of CFL and LED bulbs in households may generally be linked to increased awareness amongst citizens about environment-friendly and energy-efficient (EE) products. But a recent study points towards the fact that such usage may be closely linked with its cost-efficient quotient as well. The study also highlighted the fact that more than half the users of EE products are not happy with them due to various factors.

City-based Vikram Sarabhai Centre for Development Interaction (VIKSAT) and Consumer Unity Trust Society (CUTS) International, a Jaipur-based NGO, conducted the study of demand side management of energy efficient products and renewable energy in states of West Bengal and Gujarat in 2011 and has recently come up with the results and analysis.

Udai Mehta, assistant director, CUTS, told TOI that both the states were chosen for the study for a specific purpose. “While Gujarat is a leading industrial state heavily dependent on energy sources, West Bengal is more dependant on farming and smaller industries. Gujarat has energy surplus whereas for Bengal, power cuts are reality of daily life,” he said.

He said Gujarat is in an ideal position to experiment with renewable energy sources such as wind power and solar power due to its vast deserts and longest coastline in the country. “Unlike other states, the state can today experiment with such sources due to availability of conventional power,” said Mehta.

On Gujarat specific results, Ankur Baruah, project coordinator, VIKSAT, said that they were surprised to know the responses that most of the respondents in both rural and urban areas gave. “We conducted the study mainly in central and northern districts with different energy consumption patterns. As per the survey, more than 92 per cent of the respondents knew about climate change and EE products. However, not many were willing to switch over to them,” he said.

Research showed that most of the respondents saw initial cost as the main deterrent. Another hindrance was performance of the product and after-sales service. The main problem area identified was solar products. However, on the positive side, people were ready to pay a bit more for EE products if it is widely available.

“The survey was conducted to gauge what steps need to be taken for a better tomorrow. The first thing that came to our notice was to create awareness about EE products and encourage government and non-government agencies to produce better and efficient EE products. Our next step is to engage such agencies in a dialogue. We might not need sources of renewable energy such as solar power and wind power today but tomorrow it would be very important,” said Dilip Surkar, director, VIKSAT. He hoped policy makers would take note of the findings.

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