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Heating water efficiently

Ariston Thermo India Private Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Ariston Thermo Group, Italy, is responsible for marketing, sales and service of Racold products in India. Anil Bhamre, General Manager – Marketing, Ariston Thermo India tells Builodotech that energy efficiency and product design today in water heaters are very critical as consumers are aware of star ratings.

How important is the role of water heaters/heat pumps in energy savings of a building?

Energy savings for buildings can be attributed to two levels of water heating solutions:

Common water heating solutions: Today many builders provide water heating solutions which are either Solar, Heat Pumps, Electrical individual water heaters for each apartment. All these choices have impact on energy consumption by each building. E.g. Use of Solar water heater typically provides 85% energy savings (considering usage of non-solar water heating during non-sunny days). Use of heat pump water heaters provides 70% energy savings. Use of 5 star rated electric water heaters against non-star rated eater heaters gives upto 50% energy savings. We have many buildings running their water heating solutions on Solar, Heat Pumps or a hybrid which has given annualized energy savings upto Rs.25 lakhs PAIndividual water heating solutions: Every individual household consumes 40% of annual energy on water heating e.g. 6k per person PA. Depending on choice of water heater i.e. 5 star electric v/s solar v/s heat pump energy savings can be measured.

What are the innovations in water heating products both in terms of energy efficiency and design?

Energy efficiency and product design today in water heaters is very critical as consumers are aware about star rating and they want to choose most energy efficient water heaters to save energy related bills in long term. Injected puff, proper inlet and outlet, heating element quality, quality and resistance of tank for hard water all play important role in deciding the standing loss of water heater. This is what defines the star rating and in turn energy savings. In addition to same they are many smart ways which can be customized in a water heater as per individual needs, which in turn helps to have predefined water heating leading to best efficiency e.g. if consumer needs his water heater to heat up 15 liters i.e. 1 bucket of water same can be programmed and this setting can start water heater at the same time every day and heat required water and keep it ready for consumer.

Similarly smart bath logic uses best efficient way to heat up water as per requirement of consumer i.e. one bucket or two buckets or shower so that consumer does not have to waste time and energy both in adjusting temperature every time. Eco sense is a buzzer which warns consumer to switch off water heater since water heating is completed and in turn help him save energy.

What is the market scenario for water heaters in India now considering the increasing building activities? What are the different customer demands in luxury homes and middle and low cost housing?

Water heaters market even today is in a very nascent stage, with low penetration level (less than 6%). With growing income levels, improved awareness, time pressure, improved access to daily water needs and new constructions consumers are considering water heaters as necessity and no more a luxury. Market is bond to grow min.15% in next 10 years to ensure safe water heating practices at least in all A & B class Sec classified consumers. Also with growing awareness solar and heat pumps shall have good potential going forward. Many builders today also prefer to provide water heaters as a standard fitment like bathroom fittings to attract consumers and have premium image. Customer demands in all classes is to ensure they have hot water as per their family need without any hassles and should not have higher energy bills. Typical differentiators are as below:

• If consumers have water heaters hung on bathroom wall:

Here consumers in luxury homes will like to have aesthetically beautiful products, especially with good controls if possible remote/wifi. Many consumers today go for online water heaters if they use multiple showers or rain showers, Jacuzzi etc. This gives them instant water at higher flow rate but needs higher power and in turn higher energy bills. Whereas consumers in middle class or low income typically look at products with good star rating and which can suffice their family hot water needs at lowest costs. Very low income levels either go for unbranded water heaters or even immersion rods.

• If consumers have water heaters hidden (false ceiling or loft):

Here consumers in luxury homes choose water heaters which fit in size as per the available space which is sleeker, easy to install/operate and hassle free maintenance.

Whereas consumers in middle class and low class will go for low budget water heaters with good star rating, shape and size might not matter.

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