The Centre may soon make it mandatory for manufacturers to set the default temperature of air conditioners at 24 degrees Celsius. They should indicate an optimum temperature range of 24 to 26 degrees Celsius for consumers to save energy and money and stay healthy, the government said on Friday.

“After an awareness campaign of four to six months, followed by a survey to gather public feedback, the Ministry of Power would consider making this mandatory,” the government said. “If all the consumers adopt, this will result in savings of 20 billion units of electricity in one year alone.”

Raising the air-conditioning temperature helps save 6% electricity per degree Celsius, Power Minister RK Singh said as he launched a campaign to promote energy efficiency for air conditioners.

Singh met manufacturers on Friday to advise them about the default temperature setting and optimum temperature range. Manufacturers have agreed to the idea and called it a step in the right direction, the government said.

“Normal human body temperature is approximately 36-37 degrees Celsius, but large number of commercial establishments, hotels and offices maintain temperature around 18-21 degrees Celsius,” he said. “This is not only uncomfortable but is actually unhealthy.”

Setting the temperature between 18 degrees Celsius and 21 degrees Celsius forces people to wear warm clothes or use blankets, and is therefore wastage of energy, Singh said. The recommendation of the default temperature setting was given by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency after a study.

The campaign will reduce emission of greenhouse gases too, he added.