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

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With international assistance China has implemented a series of minimum energy performance standards (MEPS) and has expanded the coverage of its voluntary energy efficiency label to over 40 products, including residential, commercial and selected industrial products. Further, since 2005, household refrigerators and air-conditioners are required to display a mandatory, information label with the expectation that clothes washers will be added to the program soon. To date, however, the impact of the first phase of the S&L program (1999-2005) has not been evaluated on a consistent basis. In this report, CLASP, with the support of the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI), has under-taken such a study, focusing on key products subject to China's S&L program.

Eleven products in China's S&L program were chosen for inclusion into this analysis ranging from large consumer appliances such as refrigerators and air conditioners to consumer electronics such as DVD players and computers. The products were chosen primarily on the basis of their energy consumption and ownership rates (penetration) in households and the commercial sector. To determine impacts of the standards and voluntary labeling programs, the report compares unit and aggregate energy consumption for each product against a trajectory to 2020 in which efficiency is frozen at the average level at the time of the implementation of the first standard. In the case of the voluntary energy efficiency label, savings generated by appliances that had already achieved the efficiency labeling criteria were deducted from the total in order to focus on the impact of the labeling program alone. The saving analysis covers the period 2000 to 2020.

By way of background, the report summarizes the history and nature of China's standards and labeling program in the Introduction in Section 1. Trends in domestic production,exports, penetration rates, unit energy consumption and the history of S&L technical levels by product are discussed in great detail in Section 2. The national energy impacts analysis found in Section 3 concludes that overall China's standards and labeling programs reduce total electricity consumption in 2020 by an annual 106 TWh, or 16% of what would otherwise been expected in that year in the absence of standards and labeling programs.

In total, the report concludes that the S&L programs currently in place in China are expected to save a cumulative 1143 TWh by 2020, or 9% of the cumulative consumption of residential electricity to that year. In 2020 alone, annual savings are expected to be equivalent to 11% of residential electricity use. In average generation terms,this is equivalent to 27 1-GW coal fired plants that would have required around 75 million tonnes of coal to operate. In comparison, savings from the US appliance standards program alone is expected to save 10% of residential electricity consumption in 2020.

The report further concludes that between 2000 and 2020, improved efficiency among electric appliances and gas water heaters will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 300 million tons carbon equivalent. These reductions are calculated assuming thermal marginal power generation and future improvements in generation efficiency, as well as diminishing losses in electricity transmission and distribution. From 2000 to 2020 cumulative sulfur dioxide emission reductions are expected to reach 6.8 million tons. Between 2000 and 2020, cumulative NOX emission reductions are expected to reach 4.8million tons. Between 2000 and 2020, program-derived cumulative particulate emission reductions are expected to reach 29 million tons.

The report also finds that the payback of these S&L programs to China's economy is high. Compared to expenditures, Chinese consumers in 2005 alone enjoyed over 10 billion RMB in savings (about 161 billion Yen) from conserved electricity from S&L.

This report is primarily an analysis of the impact of China's existing standards and voluntary labeling program with respect to its key products and does not try to predict what future specifications will be and neither does it assess the technical potential for savings for each product. However, the analysis shows that within China's suite of energy efficiency standards and voluntary labels, there are several clear opportunities by product for further savings.

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Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory