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Clothes Washer Standards in China -- The Problem of Water and Energy Trade-offs in Establishing Efficiency Standards

17-Mar-2006

Abstract

Currently the sales of clothes washers in China consist of several general varieties. Some use more energy (with or without including hot water energy use) and some use more water. Both energy and water are in short supply in China. This poses the question - how do you trade off water versus energy in establishing efficiency standards? This paper discusses how China dealt with this situation and how it established minimum efficiency standards for clothes washers.

Currently the sales of clothes washers in China consist of several general varieties. Some use more energy (with or without including hot water energy use) and some use more water. Both energy and water are in short supply in China. This poses the question - how do you trade off water versus energy in establishing efficiency standards? This paper discusses how China dealt with this situation and how it established minimum efficiency standards for clothes washers.

Introduction

In 1989, China's State Bureau of Quality and Technical Supervision (SBQTS) established standards for eight residential products. The first China mandatory efficiency standard for clothes washer was promulgated in 1990 (CLASP 2004). In the past, in China, as well as other countries, clothes washer minimum efficiency levels and labeling was based on energy consumption, and water consumption was not taken into consideration. In China, a national standard containing the efficiency levels for the minimum efficiency standard and labeling schemes, references another document with the test procedure or method of test. While this report refers primarily to a minimum efficiency standard, the same analysis applies to the
information and endorsement labeling schemes.

Background

In September 2001, Energy Analysis Department of the Environmental Energy Technologies Division at LBNL began a collaborative project with China National Institute of Standardization (CNIS), the agency in China given the responsibility to establish minimum efficiency performance standards (MEPS) for appliances. LBNL helped CNIS to perform analyses with the goal of setting minimum efficiency standards on clothes washers in China. This entailed showing them how the analysis is performed in the U.S. for the Department of Energy. In December 2001, training was provided in market assessment, test procedures,engineering analysis, consumer impacts, and national energy & water saving impacts. Because of our awareness of water shortage issues in both the U.S. and China, it was decided early on to analyze water consumption as well as energy consumption for the Chinese clothes washer standards. By including the analysis of water consumption as well as energy consumption in this minimum standard setting process, we hope to avoid an increase energy efficiency resulting in higher water consumption.

After data collection and analysis by CNIS, as well as their dialog with the Chinese industry on the proper level of the MEPS, CNIS set a minimum efficiency standard for clothes washers in 2003. The efficiency standard included both energy and water consumption. In addition to MEPS, China also has an information label and an endorsement label for clothes washers. These include information on energy, water and the cleaning performance of the clothes washer.

Authors: Peter J. Biermayer and Jiang Lin; Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL)

Information from: American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE)