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Impacts of China’s Current Appliance Standards and Labeling Program to 2020


Published in March 2007. This work was supported by the Ministry of Economy Trade and Industry and the Institute of Energy Economics, Japan.


The Collaborative Labeling and Appliance Standards Program (CLASP) has collaborated over the years with several Chinese institutions in order to: promote energy efficiency in China; enhance the capabilities of Chinese institutions that promote energy efficiency; and understand the dynamics of energy use in China. CLASP, with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) as a primary partner, has helped China implement a robust energy efficiency standards and labeling program (S&L) that includes: minimum energy performance standards; mandatory, information labeling; voluntary, endorsement labeling; and a residential energy consumption survey. China's S&L program has transformed several product markets while improving the nation's economic efficiency and contributed to China's greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation efforts.

In the years of collaboration, China has, with international assistance, implemented a series of minimum energy performance standards (MEPS), including mandatory standards for all of the major appliances. At the same time, it has expanded the coverage of its voluntary energy efficiency label to over 40 products, including residential, commercial and selected industrial products. And, since 2005, household refrigerators and airconditioners are subject to the use of mandatory, information labels as well with the expectation that clothes washers will be added to the program soon.

As China’s capacity for S&L implementation has grown, the nature of CLASP’s support has shifted from technical training and capacity-building for the domestic program to assistance in extending market transformation effects internationally through harmonization of efficiency specifications. Most notably, in 2005, China, Australia, and the US adopted a harmonized set of efficiency specifications for external power supplies, based on a single testing standard. Current efforts support both the application of China’s S&L programs into new market transformation programs domestically (such as government procurement) as well as the expansion of China’s outreach internationally in additional harmonization efforts.

The essence of CLASP's work in China has been technology transfer, transferring to China the last 20 years of experience and toolkits that have been developed around the world to support S&L programs. The success relies heavily on cooperation with a wide range of organizations and groups and training of Chinese counterparts. For example, LBNL alone provided 196 person-weeks of training for 90 officials from five agencies, split roughly evenly between training at LBNL and training inside China.

S&L has become a prominent element in China's increasing emphasis on more sustainable energy development and its recently announced goal to reduce energy intensity of the economy by 20% by 2010. Without question, expansion and strengthening of the energy standards requirements and labeling criteria are an important policy option to assist China in achieving this target. On an individual product basis, comparisons of certain Chinese S&L levels with those in use international have demonstrated that there is room for further improvement and a large potential for additional energy savings from the program.

To date, however, the impact of the first phase of the S&L program (1999-2005) has not been evaluated on a consistent basis. Such an evaluation is timely, since it can provide policymakers and other energy analysts with details of the successes and shortcomings of the program as well as a guide to targets for further strengthening of the program.

CLASP, with the support of the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI), is now undertaking such a study, focusing on key products subject to China’s S&L program. The work is divided into three main tasks: selection of products and data collection; modeling; and analysis of results.

Authors: David Fridley; Nathaniel Aden; Nan Zhou; and Jiang Lin/ Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory