Policy instruments aimed at reducing indirect emissions by improving energy efficiency and promoting energy efficient products
Emissions which originate from the generation of energy to power cooling appliances are best addressed through energy labelling and minimum energy performance standards (MEPS).
Energy labelling, where the energy consumption of a unit and its placement in the efficiency ranking of all available appliances is prominently displayed, is often the first step towards increasing the energy efficiency of electrical appliances. Consumers are able to make informed purchasing decisions, which include the running costs over the appliance’s lifetime and can therefore lower energy bills. Labelling alone is therefore an incentive for companies to produce more energy efficient appliances. The market share of higher efficiency appliances will increase.
A second step is the introduction of MEPS, which ban appliances below a certain level of energy efficiency. Often this means that the lowest class or classes of the labelling scheme are banned. Many countries, both developed and developing, have successfully demonstrated that labelling and MEPS for refrigeration and air conditioning appliances can be very effective in reducing the energy consumption and carbon footprint of these appliances. They lower the energy bills of consumers as well as a country’s energy demand and therefore its dependency on fossil fuel imports. Sectors where private consumers make most decisions, such as domestic refrigeration and unitary air conditioning are most likely to benefit from energy labelling and MEPS.
Labelling, MEPS or related schemes can be introduced to the market at different stages. If there are no labelling schemes present yet, the first step may be to encourage industry to participate in voluntary labelling. Mandatory labelling, MEPS and consequently MEPS in connection with the requirement of natural refrigerants are even more effective and could be introduced step by step. If a country has already been working with MEPS, and the scheme is well established in the RAC industry, the next step may be a top-runner programme, in which the product on the market that has the highest energy efficiency sets the standard.
Green public procurement (GPP) means that public institutions will preferably procure goods with less environmental impact. Governments are major consumers of appliances for office buildings, and as such, their consumption patterns influence the RAC industry. Procuring only green cooling technologies will help the country’s industries scale up their development and production of their most environmentally friendly products. Minimum energy performance standards (MEPS) and labelling can be incorporated into public procurement schemes. When developing new GPP guidelines, it is an advantage if one can refer to an existing labelling scheme or MEPS. Examples come from China and the EU.
Examples for energy labels for RAC appliances around the world:
Labelling schemes that consider energy efficiency and reward the use of natural refrigerants:
Other sources of information on energy labelling and standards: