Small Labels, Big Savings
China is the world’s largest producer and consumer of appliances. In tandem with the county’s storied economic growth, China’s households are now purchasing even more appliances—from air conditioners to flat panel televisions to air purifiers—driving ever-higher levels of energy consumption. Fortunately, appliances continue to get more efficient.
China’s first group of appliance efficiency standards, released in December 1990, covered only eight products. When Energy Foundation China was founded in 1999, it supported the China National Institute of Standardization (CNIS) and other institutes to improve the existing standards and set efficiency standards for other appliances and lighting products.
The foundation also helped China launch an appliance energy labeling system. Manufacturers inform consumers about the energy efficiency levels of their products, helping them make good decisions. Drawing on work by CNIS, in August 2004 the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection, and Quarantine jointly adopted a regulation that mandated China’s first batch of 12 products to be sold with energy labels.
Next came work to enforce energy labels at the local level. The China Buildings Program supported a program creating benchmarks for appliance efficiency testing laboratories. It funded a three-year training project to educate local quality inspectors on energy labels in five pilot locations: Shandong, Jiangsu, Sichuan, Shanghai, and Guangdong.
To date, Energy Foundation China has supported 34 appliance energy labels and 33 appliance efficiency standards, leading to savings of more than 800 TWh. That’s equal to the total annual electricity generation of nine Three Gorges Dams.
Impressed by the energy-saving performance of appliance standards and labels, NDRC in 2012 kicked off the 100 Energy Efficiency Standards Project. Recognizing the opportunity to reinforce policy at the highest levels, our Buildings and Industry programs made joint investments in this new effort. Estimates show that 22 appliance energy standards and 49 energy standards in industrial processes alone would cut annual energy use by 154 million tce, if properly implemented. Since the launch of the standards project, the foundation has helped China adopt 105 new energy efficiency standards.
Mr. Wang Zhongmin, former CNIS president and former vice director of the Standardization Administration of China, said, "Since the mid-1990s, the Energy Foundation has given great financial and technical support to CNIS for strengthening energy efficiency standards and establishing the China energy label system. EFC’s sustained support helped CNIS to grow into an internationally respected standard research institute, and made a significant contribution to China’s sustainability efforts.”