Appliance Efficiency

Appliance Efficiency

Various appliances
Improving appliance energy efficiency is a key area for savings.

Improving energy efficiency of appliances globally saves energy, decreases pollution, reduces costs to consumers and improves energy security worldwide. As household income rises in developing and emerging economies, growing appliance ownership and usage becomes an increasingly important driver for energy consumption and related emissions, particularly in countries where power sector generation is still dominated by fossil fuels. In these countries, regulatory policies and market transformation programs have been developed to help achieve large-scale energy efficiency market transformation to capture economic and environmental benefits. 

Drawing on expertise from the U.S. (including in-house expertise from Berkeley Lab’s Energy Efficiency Standards Department and Electricity Markets and Policy Department) and other successful international programs since 1987, ETA international researchers have provided technical and regulatory support to help various countries develop, expand and refine their policies and programs to improve appliance energy efficiency.

Mandatory China Energy Label before and after revision in 2016
China Standards & Labeling Program Development

Since China’s first national minimum energy performance standards (MEPS) was adopted in 1989, dozens of Chinese technical and management staff have come to Berkeley Lab to conduct joint analyses related to appliance standards and test procedures, and information and comparative energy labels. ETA researchers assisted China in developing and implementing national appliance energy efficiency standards and labels to reduce energy use and related emissions in the world’s largest appliance market. China now has over 65 MEPS and mandatory labels for over 37 products, with estimated 2030 annual energy savings equal to electricity generated by 8 Three Gorges Dam or 173 large coal-fired power plants. ETA researchers have also provided technical and analytical support for China’s voluntary endorsement label for high efficiency products based on U.S. ENERGY STAR’s experience in linking government procurement program to efficiency, and in developing the mandatory comparative China Energy Label.

Read more in a publication from Researchers Nan Zhou and Nina Khanna about lessons learned in strengthening the China Energy Label Program

INMETRO label and PROCEL seal for mini-split ACs
Techno-economic Analyses for Market Transformation Programs

We work collaboratively with countries in Asia, Latin America and Africa to adopt and adapt different types of techno-economic analyses to set mandatory efficiency requirements, learn from global best practices on policy implementation and enforcement. Our early work focused on technical assistance in the development of minimum energy performance standards (MEPS), test procedures, and the voluntary labeling criteria in China and India. We provided trainings on international techno-economic analytical tools and best practices.

More recently, as in-country technical capacity has grown, regulatory support to China and India has extended to areas such as enforcement testing, laboratory round-robin testing, policy impact assessments and strengthening the framework for developing standards and labeling. We are now also working with various countries including Brazil, Mexico, Indonesia, South Africa, Rwanda in expanding their standards and labeling programs. We provide trainings on international techno-economic analytical tools and best practices that build on decades of experience in the U.S. and internationally, ensure robust analyses, and contribute to building a sustainable technical capacity within government agencies to support impactful programs.

Read more about the team's work from Virginie Letschert, Nihan Karali, Won Young Park and Nihar Shah on national standards for air conditioner cooling efficiency in Brazil.

A refrigerator storefront in Uganda, from the cover of the 2022 Berkeley Lab report "Cost-Benefit Analysis for Energy Efficient Refrigerators and Freezers in Uganda"
The Superefficient Equipment and Appliances Deployment (SEAD) Initiative

As the technical lead for the SEAD Initiative from 2010-2016, Berkeley Lab provided technical analyses supporting key policies and programs in SEAD member countries including revision of air conditioner (AC) and ceiling fan standards and bulk procurement program for ACs in India as well as incentive programs for refrigerators in South Africa along with global product specific technical analyses on ACs, refrigerators, televisions, computer monitors and ceiling fans.

The Super-Efficient Equipment and Appliance Deployment (SEAD) Initiative is a global task group that works to promote the manufacture, purchase, and use of energy-efficient appliances, lighting, and equipment worldwide.

Read more about a recent cost-benefit analysis of refrigerators and freezers in Uganda.

Kigali Cooling Efficiency Program logo
Kigali Cooling Efficiency Program

Sponsored by the Kigali Cooling Efficiency Program from 2017-2020, Berkeley Lab provided technical, engineering, and market analyses supporting revision of the Variable Refrigerant Flow AC standard in China, and room AC standards in Brazil, South Africa and Rwanda and the commercial AC standard in Mexico. Berkeley Lab also co-authored the United for Efficiency (U4E) model regulations for ACs presented to 147 countries in 2019 and expected to be widely adopted in emerging economies. The potential worldwide energy and environmental benefits by 2040 that are possible with a market transition to energy efficient and climate friendly ACs that meet the U4E model regulation guidelines are estimated to be about 558 terawatt-hours, equivalent to electricity generation from 255 medium-sized (500-megawatt-capacity) power plants and 516 million tons of CO2 emissions.

Read more about Berkeley Lab partner Kigali Cooling Efficiency Program awarding international researchers for a lifetime of commitment to improving energy efficiency in cooling systems, and check out Berkeley Lab's

Featured News
Berkeley Lab Researchers Receive Awards for Cooling Efficiency Work

Two researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have been recognized by the Kigali Cooling Efficiency Program (K-CEP). The awards for Nihar Shah and Won Young Park honor their work on improving the energy efficiency of cooling systems and evaluating the benefits of those improvements.

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Mexico Cooling Initiative Welcomed in Sonora

Berkeley Lab’s Mexico Energy Initiative (MEI) participated in the second workshop launching the partnership of the state of Sonora with the Building Efficiency Accelerator (BEA), a global initiative that facilitates access to technical assistance and industry engagement for member cities advancing building energy efficiency.

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The Economist Cites Air-Conditioning Research

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s (Berkeley Lab’s) Global Cooling Efficiency Program is well-renowned for conducting global analysis on carbon emissions related to air-conditioner use. Much of the program’s research focuses on geographic areas where air-conditioner demand is growing rapidly, such as in China and India. 

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Principal Scientific Engineering Associate
Principal Scientific Engineering Associate
Principal Scientific Engineering Associate