Status of China's Energy Efficiency Standards and Labels for Appliances and International Collaboration
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Report (LBNL-251E)
China first adopted minimum energy performance standards (MEPS) in 1989. Today, there are standards for a wide range of domestic, commercial and selected industrial equipment. In 1999, China launched a voluntary endorsement label, which has grown to cover over 40 products including water-saving products (See Figure 1). Further, in 2005, China started a mandatory energy information label (also referred to as the “Energy Label”). Today, the Energy Label is applied to four products including: air conditioners; household refrigerators; clothes washers; and unitary air conditioners.
MEPS and the voluntary endorsement labeling specifications have been updated and revised in order to reflect technology improvements to those products in the market. These programs have had an important impact in reducing energy consumption of appliances in China. Indeed, China has built up a strong infrastructure to develop and implement product standards. Historically, however, the government’s primary focus has been on the technical requirements for efficiency performance. Less attention has been paid to monitoring and enforcement with a minimal commitment of resources and little expansion of administrative capacity in this area. Thus, market compliance with both mandatory standards and labeling programs has been questionable and actual energy savings may have been undermined as a result. The establishment of a regularized monitoring system for tracking compliance with the mandatory standard and energy information label in China is a major area for program improvement.
Over the years, the Collaborative Labeling and Appliance Standards Program (CLASP) has partnered with several Chinese institutions to promote energy-efficient products in China. CLASP, together with its implementing partner Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), has assisted China in developing and updating the above-mentioned standards and labeling programs. Because of the increasing need for the development of a monitoring system to track compliance with standards and labeling, CLASP, with support from Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), has expanded its ongoing collaboration with the China National Institute of Standards (CNIS) to include enforcement and monitoring. CNIS has already begun working on the issue of compliance. CNIS has conducted modest sample testing in 2006 for refrigerators, freezers and room air-conditioners, and repeated the same task in 2007 with a similar sample size for three products (refrigerators, freezers, air-conditioners and clothes washers). And, CNIS, with technical support from LBNL, has analyzed the data collected through testing.
At the same time, parallel effort has also been paid to look at the potential impact of the label to 2020. In conjunction with CNIS, CLASP technical experts reviewed the standards development timeline of the four products currently subject to the mandatory energy information label. CLASP, with the support of METI/IEEJ, collaborated with CNIS to develop the efficiency grades, providing: technical input to the process; comment and advice on particular technical issues; as well as evaluation of the results In addition, in order to effectively evaluate the impact of the label on China’s market, CLASP further provided assistance to CNIS to collect data on both the efficiency distribution and product volume distribution of refrigerators on the market.
This short report summarizes the status of Standards and Labeling program, current enforcement and monitoring mechanism in China, and states the importance of international collaborations.
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