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Lessons Learned from Australia's Standards and Labeling Program


Like the majority of Europe, Australia has had a national end-use energy efficiency program. Between 1992 and 2000, its mandatory labeling of appliances delivered cumulative abatement of 5 Mt CO2e; a small contribution to our national stationary energy emissions calculated as 295 Mt CO2e pa in 2000. With an expanded mandatory standards program now being implemented, experts project the program will save almost 136 Mt CO2e, (community energy benefits alone totaling almost 3 billion Euro) over the next 15 years.

How has and will Australia expand its program between 2000 - 2005 to become arguably the most successful per capita national end-use energy efficiency program, sometime this decade?

Australia has a small manufacturing base and imports many products from Europe, Asia and North America. From 2000, Australian governments agreed to a regulation policy of matching world-best regulated efficiency standards (but importantly not exceeding those minimum energy performance standards). Products cannot be sold unless they comply with these minimum levels, stipulated in Australian Standards which are called in law. Industry is a partner, publicly committed to bringing only complying products to market, thus eliminating the sale of lower efficiency products. Government and industry dialogue can be characterized as no longer an argument about whether a product will be regulated but rather an economic debate about the cost of the regulation compared to the level of efficiency improvement. Australia is a federation (with six states and two territories) so its regulatory experience has application to the European Union. The Australian Greenhouse Office manages the regulatory program on behalf of all Australian governments.

Authors: Lloyd Harrington and Shane Holt

Information from: Proceedings of the 2003 Summer Study of the European Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (eceee), Panel 1: Energy efficiency - a strategic choice for Europe.