India AC Challenge – Scoping TOR


CLASP is an international non-profit organization whose mission is to improve the environmental and energy performance of the appliances and related systems we use every day, lessening their impacts on people and the world around us. CLASP develops and shares transformative policy and market solutions in collaboration with global experts and local stakeholders. Since 1999, CLASP has worked in over 50 countries on 6 continents pursuing every aspect of appliance energy efficiency, from helping structure new policies to evaluating existing programs.


The proliferation of low-efficiency air conditioners with high-GWP refrigerants is creating a “cooling crisis” with high energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, and consequences for people and the environment.


To define and validate key parameters of a new “AC Challenge” program to accelerate development and mass market deployment of super-efficient, low-GWP refrigerant (or refrigerant-free) residential space cooling products in India. The Challenge is intended to catalyze the private sector to develop products that perform efficiently in hot/humid and hot/dry climate conditions, incorporate new climate-friendly refrigerants or other technologies to eliminate the use of high-GWP substances, are demand-response ready to ease peak-load burdens, and are primed for mass-market adoption with a compelling mix of consumer features and competitive pricing.  

The envisioned program may include a combination of monetary prizes in the form of subsidies or compensation and other market-based incentives such as procurement commitments from large institutional purchasers such as hotel chains.

The timeline for developing the program requirements, engaging manufacturers, testing nominated products, and completing the program is 2-3 years. This program will be led by the governments of India and the United States, in collaboration with non-governmental and private sector organizations.


Global demand for cooling is growing rapidly as incomes rise, air conditioning units become more affordable, and the global climate heats up. [1]  Within the next two decades, electricity demand for cooling could increase 25-fold in India and, due to the compounding effects of climate change, by more than 50% across South Asia. [2] Growing demand for cooling is increasing the stress on power grids by contributing to peak loads, thus exacerbating brownouts and blackouts and generating substantial greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.  

Alongside this need to improve the efficiency and demand-response capability of ACs, there is a simultaneous interest in promoting a market transition to the next generation of environmentally friendly refrigerants. Mass-market residential ACs typically use hydro fluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants as a replacement for ozone-depleting hydro chlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) refrigerants that have been banned under the Montreal Protocol. [3] While they do not deplete the ozone layer, HFCs have high global warming potential (GWP); they are about 2,000 times more powerful in trapping heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide (CO2). Developing countries such as India that fall under Article 5 [4] of the Montreal Protocol will be beginning HCFC phase-out in 2015, making this an opportune time for the Challenge to identify suitable alternatives available on the market.

In response to these issues, the Government of India’s Bureau of Energy Efficiency is currently expanding its suite of policy measures that address the efficiency of residential and light commercial air conditioning products. New and updated policies will encourage the market to move towards greater energy efficiency over the coming years by, for example, expanding its mandatory energy labeling scheme to keep inefficient products out of India.  AC manufacturers have also taken the initiative to address the situation in India by, for example, introducing products with high-efficiency variable speed drive technology and lower-GWP alternative refrigerants.

Even with the impressive scale of public- and private-sector action in India, there is a potential opportunity to drive the market even faster and further toward higher efficiency and lower GWP alternatives by encouraging technology development through voluntary schemes such as awards, financial incentives, and public procurement.  The U.S.-India Collaboration on Smart and Efficient Air Conditioning and Space Cooling [5] was created partly in response to the recognition of the vast untapped potential for improvement, and provides the context for the following scope of work.

[1] Isaac, M., and D. P. van Vuuren, 2009. Modeling global residential sector energy demand for heating and air conditioning in the context of climate change. Energy Policy 37:507–521. Available at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301421508005168

[2] Phadke, A., N. Abhyankar, and N. Shah, 2013: Avoiding 100 New Power Plants by Increasing Efficiency of Room Air Conditioners in India: Opportunities and Challenges. Submitted to Energy Efficiency in Domestic Appliances and Lighting Conference, Coimbra, Portugal, 11-13 September, 2013.

[5] In July 2013, the United States and India announced collaboration on smart and efficient space cooling that will aim to facilitate the AC market transformation to super-efficient space cooling technologies. Under the collaboration, the United States intends to support sharing of technical expertise and experience, building on and contributing to several existing collaborations like SEAD, the 21st Century Power Partnership, and PACE–D/PACE-R. http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2013/06/211017.htm

Scope of Work

CLASP, in its capacity as Operating Agent for the SEAD Initiative, is seeking one or more Contractors to provide technical assistance for the design of the aforementioned AC Challenge program.

The selected project team will be guided throughout the project by a steering committee consisting of representatives from CLASP, India’s Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE), and the US Department of Energy (DOE).

To the extent possible, the project team should conduct direct outreach to a wide range of potential stakeholders to validate any recommendations that are prepared, identify significant programmatic risks, and highlight questions for further study.  Direct outreach should include a kickoff workshop in India shortly after the initiation of the project, plus two or more additional workshops to gather input and perspectives from manufacturers, policymakers, consumers/end-users, and other important stakeholder groups later in the process.

Research and recommendations should build off of market assessments performed previously by CLASP and the SEAD Initiative.

The project team will be responsible for the following activities:

Conduct a Market Assessment

  1. Assess the Indian market to identify the types and technical characteristics (form factor, cooling capacity, etc.) of space cooling products that – if developed and brought to mass market through a large-scale initiative such as the Challenge – will offer the greatest benefits for consumers and the environment.
  2. Identify Barriers to Success: For each of the following, identify significant barriers to success and recommend specific interventions that would make it faster or easier for the barriers to be overcome
    • Barriers to manufacturer participation (awareness, motivations, willingness to invest in R&D, etc.)
    • Barriers to creation of a production-ready high efficiency space cooling product that would meet the needs of the proposed Challenge (technology readiness, production capacity, etc.)
    • Barriers to production and distribution of Challenge-winning products for the mass market (supply chains, material costs, distribution restrictions, opportunities for private-sector joint ventures, etc.)
    • Other barriers to the consumer purchase and proper use of AC products (first-cost sensitivity, awareness of environmental impacts, etc.)
  3. Identify Target Participants & Motivations: Identify the likely composition of the candidate pool, including major AC manufacturers in India and elsewhere, and manufacturers of other products for whom technology crossover might make them interested in the Challenge.

Define the Challenge & Incentive Structure

  1. Recommend a comprehensive approach to structuring the Challenge (for example, by combining awards, cash prizes, and public/bulk procurement commitments) to most effectively influence the market for the identified products, considering both monetary and non-monetary incentives.
    • If monetary incentives (e.g., cash, R&D investments, winner-directed grants, results-based financing) are recommended, how should they be structured to attract the greatest interest and address real market barriers?  What are potential sources of funding?
    • If non-monetary incentives (e.g., procurement commitments by local governments and/or the private sector, consumer rebates, recognition awards, publicity) are recommended, either in addition to or in lieu of a monetary incentive, how should they be structured to achieve the greatest impacts?
  2. Identify how the Challenge program could be linked with and supported by other resources for promoting energy efficiency in India, such as BEE’s Expenditure Finance Committee (EFC) on Innovation, the Super-efficient Equipment Programme (SEEP), tax incentives, etc.
  3. Recommend a timeline for the Challenge program, taking into account major publicity opportunities in India, South Asia, and elsewhere around the world (such as the sixth meeting of the Clean Energy Ministerial in Mexico City in Spring 2015)

Draft the Rules

Develop a first draft of the Challenge rules for subsequent public review.  The rules must include at least the following:

  1. Selection of testing methods and standards, seasonal efficiency metrics, and climate conditions – as informed by and consistent with work currently underway at BEE to upgrade the standards and labeling scheme for residential AC products.
  2. Qualification criteria, including:
    • Energy performance (e.g., absolute performance requirements or percent improvement above a baseline)
    • Climate-friendliness (e.g., ozone depletion potential, global warming potential rating, toxicity, and/or flammability criteria for refrigerants, design for refrigerant recycling/recovery)
    • Demand response readiness
    • Timelines and plans for mass market introduction
    • Product pricing at market introduction and at full production capacity
  3. An approach for determining winning products (e.g., first past the post, or best of a group at deadline, or all entries above a set bar, or a hybrid approach).
  4. An approach to performance verification testing (e.g., random check testing  and sampling plans)
  5. An approach to long-term program evaluation

Prepare a Communications & Outreach Plan

Develop a plan and cost estimate for publicizing the Challenge competition throughout its lifecycle.  Wherever possible, identify opportunities to leverage key partners (e.g., manufacturer in-kind contributions, industry events).

  1. Identify stakeholders who may be able to encourage participation in the program (e.g., component and materials suppliers)
  2. Identify stakeholders who may be interested in sponsoring the program (e.g., philanthropic foundations, development banks, large institutional purchasers)
  3. Identify stakeholders who can raise awareness of the program among consumers, manufacturers, and others (e.g., trade publications, mass media outlets, government agencies, etc.)
  4. Develop a plan for stakeholder engagement at all stages of the Challenge program.


For each deliverable listed below, the project team should plan for one or more rounds of review and consultation with CLASP, BEE, US DOE, and other stakeholders.


Due Date (suggested)

Stakeholder Workshop #1

2 weeks after contract initiation

Market Assessment Report

4 weeks after contract initiation

Discussion Paper on Options for Challenge Structure

8 weeks after contract initiation

Stakeholder Workshop #2


Draft Program Rules

12 weeks after contract initiation

Stakeholder Workshop #3


Communications & Outreach Plan

14 weeks after contract initiation

Final Report & Compilation of All Deliverables

16 weeks after contract initiation

Information for Applicants

Project Team: Given the breadth and complexity of the proposed scope of work and the short timeline for completion, interested parties should consider teaming arrangements with other organizations. The right project team will ideally offer:

  • Experience designing and implementing challenge programs or other incentive programs to promote energy efficiency and/or innovation;
  • Relationships with influential stakeholders in the Indian AC market;
  • Experience working with the non-profit and/or energy sectors; particularly with national governments and international organizations;
  • A collaborative work approach.

Confidentiality: All data and information received from CLASP, BEE, US DOE, appliance manufacturers, or other industry stakeholders for the purpose of this assignment are to be treated confidentially and are only to be used in connection with the execution of this assignment. All intellectual property rights arising from the execution of this assignment are assigned to CLASP and their designees. The contents of data sets or written materials obtained and used in this assignment may not be reused or disclosed to any third parties without the express written authorization of CLASP.


The Project is expected to commence in December 2014 and be concluded by April 2015.

Evaluation & Criteria

A committee will evaluate project and budget proposals received from respondents.  Contractor selection will be based upon the following criteria:

Team qualifications, including:

  • Expertise in conducting market research.
  • Familiarity with Indian AC market characteristics as well as influential stakeholders and their motivations to promote greater energy efficiency;
  • Thorough understanding of innovation prize competitions and experience designing or implementing the same.

Cost proposal
: Proposals will be evaluated using a Quality and Cost-Based Selection (QCBS) method, with up to 80 points available for team qualifications and proposed methodology, and up to 20 points for proposed costs.

Additional information about CLASP’s selection process is available here.


Companies and organizations that wish to bid on this project must first register as a CLASP Implementing Partner. Registration is easy, and must be completed via the CLASP website before final submittal.

Interested parties should submit separate technical and financial proposals as electronic files. The file should be named as per the following example:  “[Contractor Name]: RFP 11-14

The Technical Proposal must include the following elements:
  • Full project methodology
  • Detailed proposed timeline of deliverables and milestones
  • Biography or organizational profile
  • Examples of relevant, related work
  • Proposed project team and relevant qualifications


The Financial Proposal must include a detailed budget that lists costs on a task-by-task basis, detailing labor and other expenses.

Proposals should be submitted via the CLASP website using the “Submit Bid” button below and filling out all the requested information. The deadline for proposal submission is November 21, 2014.  If necessary for the selection process, CLASP may request additional information from any applicant.

Questions may be addressed to Stephen Pantano at spantano@clasponline.org. The last date for submission of questions related to this RFP is November 18, 2014. We request all inquiries be made by e-mail.
CLASP and SEAD transform the global market for efficient appliances.

Read more