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CLASP Helps Developing Nations Implement Energy Standards

A new organization, in which Berkeley Lab's EETD is a founding partner, has received United Nations funding to help developing nations implement energy performance standards and therefore meet rising energy demand. The Collaborative Labeling and Appliance Standards Program (CLASP), formed in 1999, is a collaboration between Berkeley Lab, the Alliance to Save Energy, and the International Institute for Energy Conservation.

CLASP logo

Over the next ten years, developing world nations may invest as much as $100 billion per year in generation and distribution systems to meet the rising demand for energy. This is extremely burdensome to developing economies, which usually have limited capital for investing and a critical need to create new industry and jobs. Energy-efficient appliances, equipment, and buildings help developing economies grow by ensuring that their energy infrastructure can meet demand. CLASP will bring expertise in appliance standards and labeling development to help developing world economies become more energy-efficient. "Close cooperation with our U.N. partner, UN/DESA (United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs), has enabled us to receive a major grant from the United Nations Foundation—$4 million dollars over 2 years—to complement existing funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Energy Foundation, and the Packard Foundation," says Stephen Wiel, head of EETD's Energy Analysis Department. "The goal of the U.N. funding is to significantly reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases and energy use. Our estimates suggest that energy-efficiency standards and labeling can reduce emissions anywhere from 25 to 40 percent within the next three decades."

Although the CLASP initiative received a go-ahead from funding institutions early in 2000, Berkeley Lab has worked with the governments of developing nations for years through an in-house initiative called International Building and Appliance Standards. Since 1996, EETD staff members have worked with the governments of China, India, Mexico, the Philippines, Ghana, and Sri Lanka on a variety of projects ranging from the development of motor-efficiency standards for the Philippines to appliance-efficiency standards in Ghana. Substantial funding for this work has come from the U.S. Agency for International Development.

In most cases, Berkeley Lab researchers find substantial savings and economic benefits from appliance standards. For example, a project concluded in 1999 found that a minimum energy performance standard for refrigerators could cost-effectively save consumers in Ghana the equivalent of $50 million by 2010, and standards for room air conditioners and lighting could save an additional $14 million. Reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions could total close to 300,000 metric tons. The government of Ghana is now discussing ways to implement energy performance standards.

Researcher David Fridley and other staffers are working with the Chinese government to develop projects in energy-efficiency appliance standards, labeling, and purchasing. China's State Bureau of Quality and Technical Supervision is taking advantage of support from Berkeley Lab in the development of efficiency standards for household appliances and lighting. An explosion in demand for consumer products in China has led to a large increase in residential electricity use—an average of 16 percent since 1985. EETD's Laura Van Wie is coordinating CLASP efforts in Mexico, where the government's energy agency, CONAE (Comisión Nacional para el Ahorro de Energía), has agreed to become the Latin American regional partner for CLASP. CONAE will fund a staff person to provide technical advice and outreach to Latin American nations on energy performance standards and labels. In addition, the Instituto de Investigaciones Eléctricas and CONAE will be assessing the impact of appliance standards on energy use in Mexico with technical support from EETD. Division researcher Joe Huang has worked with Mexico on building codes, and Jeff Harris is contributing to an effort to develop an energy-efficient equipment procurement program for the Mexican government.

CLASP's Ambitious Goals

With its focus on appliance standards, CLASP is developing an ambitious program of technical assistance, drawing on experts from the three founding partners as well as a network of other institutions throughout the world. CLASP's technical staff will work with host agencies of interested nations to develop a customized technical assistance program for creating an energy standards and labeling program. Several regional workshops are in the planning stage, including one for Latin America in August of this year, and one for Asia in 2001.

Says Mirka della Cava, EETD staff member and CLASP liaison, "We're working on several projects now for nations developing energy standards. A guidebook that will serve as a practical guide for addressing the analytical, policy, legal, and regulatory actions necessary to establish a successful labeling and standards program will be published later this year. There is a toolkit of training and marketing materials intended for government, industry, nongovernmental organizations, and advocacy groups that includes presentations, brochures, and examples of existing labels and standards. A Web site will host the manual and the toolkit materials and provide access to reports, updates on implementation in different countries, and links to other standards- and labeling-related sites."

"CLASP is looking forward to forming partnerships with agencies, stakeholders, and institutions in developing and transitional countries around the world," says Sachu Constantine of the Alliance to Save Energy. "By bringing together policy and technical specialists, research organizations, and universities, we will be building solid institutional capacities and expertise for managing energy-efficiency programs in these countries."

"Energy efficiency standards and labels for appliances, equipment, and lighting products are a cost-effective policy for conserving energy. They fit well with most other energy policies and can play a role as the backbone of all countries' energy policy portfolios," says Kelly Gordon of the International Institute for Energy Conservation.

— Allan Chen

For more information, contact:

  • Mirka della Cava
  • (731) 218-0400; fax (713) 218-0600

Alliance to Save Energy

This research is supported by the United Nations Foundation, the U.S. Agency for International Development, The Energy Foundation, and the Packard Foundation.

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