Since the late 1970s, energy labeling programs and mandatory energy performance standards have been used in many different countries to improve the efficiency levels of major residential and commercial equipment. As more countries and regions launch programs covering a greater range of products that are traded worldwide, greater attention has been given to harmonizing the specific efficiency criteria in these programs and the test methods for measurements. For example, an international compact fluorescent light (CFL) harmonization initiative was launched in 2006 to focus on collaboration between Australia, China, Europe and North America.
Given the long history of standards and labeling programs, most major energy-consuming residential appliances and commercial equipment are already covered under minimum energy performance standards (MEPS) and/or energy labels. For these products, such as clothes washers and CFLs, harmonization may still be possible when national MEPS or labeling thresholds are revised. Greater opportunity for harmonization exists in newer energy-consuming products that are not commonly regulated but are under consideration for new standards and labeling programs. This may include commercial products such as water dispensers and vending machines, which are only covered by MEPS or energy labels in a few countries or regions.
As China continues to expand its appliance standards and labeling programs and revise existing standards and labels, it is important to learn from recent international experiences with efficiency criteria and test procedures for the same products. Specifically, various types of standards and labeling programs already exist in North America, Europe and throughout Asia for products in China's 2010 standards and labeling programs, namely clothes washers, water dispensers, vending machines and CFLs. This report thus examines similarities and critical differences in energy efficiency values, test procedure specifications and other technical performance requirements in existing international programs in order to shed light on where Chinese programs currently stands and considerations for their 2010 programs.