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Regulatory Impact Statement - Proposal to Increase Australian MEPS for Room Air Conditioners

This report was prepared by Syneca Consulting in February 2005 for the National Appliance and Equipment Energy Efficiency Committee (NAEEEC) and the Australian Greenhouse Office (AGO) as Report 2005/04. The proposals in this Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) are supposed by a technical review of the minimum energy performance standards (MEPS) options and international MEPS levels (Report 2005/03) undertaken by EnergyConsult for NAEEEC.

This RIS addresses a two-part proposal to increase the MEPS for single-phase non-ducted air conditioners, hereafter referred to as room air conditioners. The proposal relates to refrigerative air conditioners including those that can be configured for reverse cycle operation. A revised Standard, incorporating the proposed changes, would be given legal effect under State and Territory legislation.

The first part of the proposal relates to room air conditioners of less than 10 kW cooling capacity and will increase the MEPS that are currently scheduled for October 2007. The proposal follows a lead set by Korea. New Korean MEPS were implemented in October 2004 and it is proposed that Australia follow Korea with a lag of 3 years.

The second part of the proposal relates to room air conditioners of less than 7.5 kW cooling capacity and will bring forward the existing 2007 MEPS by 18 months – from October 2007 to April 2006. The MEPS for these air conditioners would therefore rise in two steps, first in April 2006 and then in October 2007.

The objective

The objective of the proposed regulation is to further reduce Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions from the use of air conditioners, subject to the following constraints:

  • The measures need to be cost-effective for the broad community of users of air conditioners
  • The measures need to be efficiently designed, minimizing adverse impacts on manufacturers and suppliers, and minimizing adverse impacts on product quality and function
  • The measures need to be clear and comprehensive, minimizing potential for confusion or ambiguity for users and suppliers

Cost-effectiveness is interpreted in terms of the interests of the broad community of users.

Recommendation

Despite the uncertainties, the proposal is consistent with the National Greenhouse Strategy. It meets the requirements of the Prime Minister’s statement of November 20, 1997, delivering . . . realistic, cost-effective reductions in key sectors where emissions are high or growing strongly, while also fairly spreading the burden of action across the economy. He also stated that the Government is . . . prepared to ask industry to do more than they would otherwise be prepared to do, that is, go beyond a “no regrets”, minimum cost approach where this is sensible in order to achieve effective and meaningful outcomes.

It is recommended that States and Territories implement the proposed mandatory minimum energy performance standards. This will require States and Territories to amend existing regulations governing appliance energy labeling and MEPS.

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Information from: Australian Greenhouse Office (now Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency)