Made for China: Energy Efficiency Standards and Labels for Household Appliances

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Journal Article

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Since introduced in the 1960's, energy efficiency standards and labels have beenwidely adopted in the world as one of the most effective policies to raise end-use energyefficiency. These policies have gained increasing popularity among government agenciesbecause not only they are effective tools in achieving energy saving and climate changegoals, but also they can bring substantial economic benefits to consumers and the nationaleconomy in terms of reduced energy costs and avoided investment in generatingcapacities (Wiel and McMahon, 2001).

By focusing on manufacturers, energy efficiency standards can effectively removemost inefficient energy consuming products from the market place while guide themarket competition toward higher energy efficiency. By providing energy performanceinformation, energy efficiency labels help consumers make informed choices in theirpurchasing decision on appliances. Standards and labels can be either mandatory orvoluntary, and are often complementary. The most successful examples of these policiesinclude the minimum energy performance standards in the United States, the "TopRunner" program in Japan, the comparative energy labels in Europe and Australia, andthe endorsement energy label Energy Star in the United States.

Since 1989, China has developed one of the most comprehensive appliancestandards and labeling programs in the developing world. The program includesminimum energy efficiency standards, a voluntary endorsement label, and a proposedinformation label. The minimum energy efficiency standards are mandatory and havebeen issued for 9 types of appliance and lighting products. The voluntary endorsementlabel has been issued for 15 types of appliances, lighting, and industrial products. Theinformation label is under development and is likely to be implemented as a pilotprogram in 2003 (Lin, 2002).



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