CBS Newsletter
Summer 1998
pg. 5

International Energy-Efficiency Standards

Two cost-effective approaches to reducing energy use in buildings are minimum energy standards for appliances and incorporating energy-efficiency principles in building codes. More than two dozen nations already have adopted, will soon adopt, or are considering the adoption of energy-efficiency standards and codes. The Environmental Energy Technologies Division has pooled its resources in the field of energy-efficiency standards with its international activities to create the International Building and Appliance Standards team. The IBAS team convenes regularly to discuss progress in existing international standards activities as well as to identify possible new Berkeley Lab opportunities to support efficiency standards the world over.

The current status of appliance efficiency standards worldwide indicates that by next year, 22 countries will have mandatory standards, three will have voluntary standards, and many others will have proposed or be considering standards. The state of international standards offers many opportunities for Berkeley Lab to work with a range of countries in the areas of standards development, implementation, and monitoring. Over the years, Berkeley Lab has supported development of energy performance standards in 18 countries and currently has projects in four.

For example, in the Philippines, Berkeley Lab is working with the Philippine Department of Energy and its Fuels and Appliance Testing Laboratory, as well as the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), to conduct a market characterization study for motors. A similar study of the design/permit/build process for commercial buildings in the Philippines is also underway. These studies will lay a foundation for electrical-motor efficiency standards and address issues of compliance with a recently adopted commercial building code.

Berkeley Lab is also beginning work on a market survey and workplan for the Ghanaian Ministry of Mines and Energy to support Ghana's interest in developing and implementing energy performance standards for refrigerators, room air conditioners, and lighting systems. The goal of this activity, supported by USAID, will be to transfer to our Ghanaian counterparts the skills necessary to develop, administer, and periodically review and update energy-efficiency standards for several technologies.

Other countries and areas where IBAS is tracking activities (current and future) include Mexico, China, Thailand, India, the European Union, and Latin America.

Interest in this activity continues to increase. For example, the Ceylon Electricity Board recently inquired about support for their upcoming Energy-Efficient Commercial Building Code project. The Lab also responded to a request from the United Nations for support in their effort to compile data on the state of standards in six Arab countries.

The IBAS experts, in addition to supporting, tracking, and marketing international project activities, are busy with research that complements the project work. This research relies on transaction-cost economics and actual experience with appliance standards in the U.S. to suggest that energy performance standards can enhance economic efficiency, countering some economists' claims to the contrary. An article titled "Standards Stand Up to Competition: Performance Standards and Economic Efficiency" is currently in draft form for review and will be published in the near future. In the past, IBAS has analyzed the economics of standards for the World Bank. Specifically, IBAS has reported on the per-unit cost of operating a standards and labels program in the U.S. and is tracking data from other key countries that would allow it to conduct similar analyses.

For countries or organizations interested in better understanding the IBAS program, materials are available that provide a more in-depth explanation of this topic, including:

These materials and others are also available on the IBAS Web page.

—Mirka della Cava

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Mirka della Cava
(512) 916-9663

This research is supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development, the U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the United Nations, and governments of Mexico, Ghana, and the Philippines.

The IBAS team members are Chris Busch, John Busch, Sachu Constantine, Mirka della Cava, Steve Greenberg, Sajid Hakim, Jeffrey Harris, Joe Huang, Mark Levine, Jiang Lin, Aimee McKane, Jim McMahon, Alan Meier, Steve Pickle, Greg Rosenquist, Jayant Sathaye, Isaac Turiel, and Steve Wiel.

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