International Review of Framework for Standards & Labeling Setting and Development

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As appliance energy efficiency standards and labeling (S&L) programs reach a broader geographic and product scope, a series of sophisticated and complex technical and economic analyses have been adopted by different countries in the world to support and enhance these growing S&L programs. The initial supporting techno-economic and impact analyses for S&L development make up a defined framework and process for setting and developing appropriate appliance efficiency standards and labeling programs. This report reviews in-depth the existing framework for standards setting and label development in the well-established programs of the U.S., Australia and the EU to identify and evaluate major trends in how and why key analyses are undertaken and to understand major similarities and differences between each of the frameworks.

The in-depth review of the existing framework for standards and label development and supporting analyses and tools used in the U.S., Australia and the EU reveal several overarching trends. First, each country or region's regulatory context for standard-setting has significantly influenced the specific processes and analyses that are conducted when setting or revising efficiency standard levels. Whereas the specific sets of 15 analyses were developed to meet regulatory mandated criteria for standard-setting in the U.S., Australia's principle of adopting existing world-best regulatory target and reliance on international trade data is the result of its import-dependent appliance market. The EU Ecodesign preparatory study framework and accompanying seven tasks of analyses traces directly back to the directive's unique scope of evaluating life-cycle environmental impacts and costs. These region-specific trends suggest that there is not necessarily a "one size fits all" framework for standards setting and label development but rather, the framework should be developed based on region-specific conditions such as market factors, purpose and goals of standards and labeling programs and data availability.

Another overarching trend illustrated by the three regional frameworks examined is that there are considerable variations in the rigor and scope of core techno-economic analyses, despite similarities in a common approach of using stock accounting model and scenario analysis to conduct shipments, national impacts and energy and environmental analyses. The U.S. engineering and life-cycle cost analyses are distinguished by unique approaches of estimating manufacturer cost for separate components by "tearing down" actual products and using statistically representative samples to evaluate cross-section of consumer impacts, respectively. Australia, on the other hand, is limited by data availability to statistical analysis and engineering simulations for its engineering analysis, but conducts more detailed cost-benefit analysis that distinguishes the costs to consumers, government and industry. The EU Ecodesign process is distinct in defining both a standard base case and a real-life base case that adjusts for variations in consumer behavior and loads for its environmental and life-cycle cost assessments and also considers Best Not Yet Available Technology in its technical analysis. In support of each region's strengths in conducting specialized techno-economic analysis, specific tools such as the U.S. life-cycle cost model with Crystal Ball, the Australian Business Cost Calculator and the EU EcoReport tool for life-cycle environmental assessment have been developed and make up important components of each framework for standards and labeling development.

In sum, while similar types of analyses are embodied in the standard-setting and label development framework of the U.S., Australia, and the EU, there are distinct features in each of the three frameworks that are shaped by the regulatory context and conditions of that region. Each of the frameworks in turn has distinguished itself by incorporating more rigor into specific areas of analysis ranging from engineering and life-cycle subgroup impact analysis to cost-benefit and environmental impact analysis in order to meet specific regulatory goals or policy scopes. At the same time, these regions have also developed the necessary supporting tools and data inputs to conduct the more rigorous analyses, making it possible for the standards setting and label development framework to be fully implemented.

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