Appliance Standards and Labeling
Appliance Efficiency Programs in China
LBNL's China Energy Group has long had and continues to maintain very active programs on appliance standards and labeling. The Energy Conservation Law of 1998 mandated the development of energy-efficiency standards but a major driver behind the emphasis on this activity was the dramatic growth in appliance and other equipment ownership in the Chinese market.
The ownership of major household appliances in Chinese urban areas continued to increase—a market of about 600 million people. Markets for these products have grown from zero to near-maturity in 20 years or less. Rural markets with about 700 million people are roughly 10 to 20 years behind the urban markets in ownership rates, less so for electronic equipment and mobile phones.
With such a large and growing market for appliance ownership, early intervention in the form of minimum energy consumption standards and efficiency labeling promises to deliver significant energy savings. Our work began in 1996 while the market for these products was still growing rapidly and continues today as new products become popular and opportunities emerge for strengthening energy standards for existing products.
China is a Major Global Producer
From another angle, China is also one of the largest global producers of major appliances and consumer electronics, and for some products provides over 50% of the global supply. By 2007, China was producing over 44 million refrigerators, 80 million air conditioners, and 85 million color televisions annually. Our work directly supports the Chinese in increasing the energy efficiency of appliances that they produce; as such, the global market benefits as well.
Standards enacted in China between 1999 (when the first new standard went into effect) and 2007 are expected to reduce to reduce growth of electricity consumption nationally by 110 TWh by 2020, saving consumers more than $100 billion cumulatively over this period.
The China Group worked closely with the China Standards Certification Center (CSC) to develop voluntary energy efficiency specifications for labeling a range of office equipment as a foundation for the formulation of a new government energy efficiency procurement policy linked to the energy efficiency label. Working with the Ministry of Finance, LBNL and CSC assisted in the launch of this policy, modeled after the US Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) and announced in December 2004. Initially, the new policy specified that energy efficient products should be given “preferential” consideration in procurement. The initial list of products subject to procurement totaled nine, all are certified by CSC. This later grew to 19 products in 2007. In August 2007, the State Council made the procurement policy mandatory at all levels of government.