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Technical and Economic Analysis of Energy Efficiency of Chinese Room Air Conditioners


China has experienced tremendous growth in the production and sales of room air conditioners over the last decade. Although minimum room air conditioner energy efficiency standards have been in effect since 1989, no efforts were made during most of the 1990s to update the standard to be more reflective of current market conditions. But in 1999, China's State Bureau of Technical Supervision (SBTS) included in their 1999 plan the development and revision of the 1989 room air conditioner standard. SBTS signed an agreement with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) for an air conditioner standards training program, supported by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Based on the engineering and lifecycle cost analyses performed, the most predominant type of room air conditioner in the Chinese market (split-type with a cooling capacity between 2500 and 4500 W (8500 Btu/h and 15,300 Btu/h)) can have its efficiency increased cost-effectively to an energy efficiency ratio (EER) of 2.92 W/W (9.9 Btu/hr/W). If an EER standard of 2.92 W/W became effective in 2001, Chinese consumers would be estimated to save over 3.5 billion Yuan (420 million U.S. dollars) over the period of 2001-2020. Carbon emissions over the same period would be reduced by approximately 12 million metric tonnes.

Authors: David Fridley, Gregory Rosenquist, Jiang Lin, Li Aixian, Xin Dingguo, and Cheng Jianhong

Information from: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), China National Institute of Standardization (CNIS), and Beijing Energy Efficiency Center (BECon)