The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the China Standards Certification Center (CSC) have agreed to work toward harmonizing information on the Energy Star and CSC energy-efficiency labeling programs for consumer electronics and office equipment. This collaboration, which was recognized in a recent memorandum-of-understanding signing ceremony, builds on previous efforts by the two groups to expand the CSC’s certification and labeling program.
The EPA and CSC are now entering into a new stage of collaboration that has three principal goals:
- Harmonizing key elements of Energy Star and CSC product endorsement-labeling programs;
- Providing a more unified set of energy efficiency standards to manufacturers in both programs; and
- Building China's capacity to manage an internationally recognized product labeling program.
Specific activities towards achieving these goals will be initiated over the coming year. According to Enesta Jones, press officer for the EPA, the key elements that need to be harmonized between the EPA and CFC labeling programs are the test procedure, the efficiency specifications, the timetables for implementation and revision, and label usage requirements.
"EPA and CSC agree that saving energy, saving money, and protecting the environment just make sense," said Bill Wehrum, the EPA’s acting assistant administrator for Air and Radiation. "EPA, through the Energy Star program, has been working to change the way America powers its homes and businesses for 15 years, and it is a privilege to share our time-tested approaches with China."
According to Jones, the differences between the electrical infrastructure of two nations, such as those between America and Europe, do not present fundamental challenges to adapting Energy Star guidelines in China. However, concerns were raised about achieving the low standby power for televisions in China to meet basic Energy Star requirements due to the higher ac voltages there. Nevertheless, the low standby-power requirement was successfully adopted and implemented.
Jones states that China’s labeling program mainly targets consumer appliances, electronics and lighting. However, in China, industrial energy use is much more important than residential, so selected industrial products will also be labeled. Interestingly, the rising concern over water availability has led to the initiation of a water efficiency label, comparable to those for energy efficiency, for products such as toilets and faucets.
The EPA has a long history of cooperation with China on clean air and clean energy issues, including voluntary energy efficiency labeling. With the EPA's assistance on certification development, the CSC has added 10 product categories to their certification and labeling program since 2001, including computers, monitors, televisions, office copiers, fax machines and external power supplies.
China's rapid economic growth rate has been accompanied by large increases in energy demand. Improving the energy efficiency of common products will also help China meet its goal of reducing energy intensity by 20% by 2010. Labeling helps decrease energy consumption, improve air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.