Energy efficiency standards and labelling programme


Through comprehensive use of energy efficiency standards and labels, some developing countries aim to reduce demand for electricity by as much as 10 to 20 percent over the next 20 years. Energy efficiency labels in Thailand are already a reality.

  • Executing agency: UN/DESA Division for Sustainable Development
  • Start date: 30 April 2000
  • Partners: Collaborative Labeling and Appliance Standards Program (CLASP), a partnership of Alliance to Save Energy (Washington, DC), International Institute for Energy Conservation (Washington, DC), and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley, California)
  • Total budget: USD 1,610,000

Funding Source: UN Foundation $1.61 million

Other Funding: Packard Foundation $1.450.000; USAID $550.000; US/DOE $90.000

The development of energy efficiency appliance standards and labeling programs represents an unparalleled means for countries to reduce their energy demand and mitigate emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants. Comprehensive use of standards and labels for appliances and other equipment has the potential to reduce electricity consumption and resultant GHG emissions in developing countries by 10-20 percent over the next 20 years. This project seeks to capture this enormous economic and environmental potential by providing key policy makers and stakeholders with the technical and financial assistance to design, develop, adopt, implement, and enforce standards and labeling programs for appliances, equipment, and/or lighting products. The project will result in enhanced institutional capacity for implementing standards and labeling programs in targeted countries, increased production of energy-efficient products by manufacturers, improved average energy efficiency of appliances and equipment, significant reductions in electricity consumption, and lower energy-related emissions of GHGs and other pollutants.


The principal approach of the project will be to strengthen national capacities and build national and regional networks. Assisting individual countries in the adoption of energy efficiency standards and labels and capitalizing on opportunities for regional collaboration will lead to the achievement of the project's goals of improving energy efficiency and reducing CO2 emissions.

The first step in developing a country technical assistance plan often will be to determine which technologies present opportunities for success with standards and labels. In consultation with the host government, the project will focus on one or more of the following types of appliances, equipment, and/or lighting technologies:

  • central air conditioning
  • room air conditioning
  • heat pump air conditioning
  • packaged terminal air conditioners and heat pumps
  • packaged air conditioning and heating systems
  • warm air furnaces
  • room heat
  • packaged boilers
  • fans
  • storage water heaters
  • instantaneous water heaters
  • fluorescent lamp ballasts
  • fluorescent lamps
  • incandescent reflectors
  • HID lamps
  • televisions
  • refrigerators
  • freezers
  • dishwashers
  • ovens
  • ranges
  • cookpots
  • clothes dryers
  • clothes washers
  • motors
  • distribution transformers
  • computers
  • other office equipment
An assessment of the appliances and equipment currently being manufactured and used in a country, usually through surveying and analysis of data on selected energy efficiency technologies on this list, is critical to helping the country decide which standards to pursue. The combined experience of project partners covers the entire range of technologies listed above and will be reflected in the guidebook as well as the web-based clearinghouse and toolkit.

Once the status of specific technologies is assessed, a technical assistance program will be designed that will comprise a series of functional steps in the process of developing, implementing, and maintaining standards. Depending on each country’s stage of development in the standards process and the particular technologies to be targeted, the project will determine where in the process technical assistance will begin. Typically, the steps in developing efficiency standards and labels include:

1. Deciding whether to pursue standards

  • assessment of potential impact and survey of resources
  • design and implementation of energy labels
  • market conditioning
2. Preparing for standards
  • building national coalitions and networks
  • legal authority
  • selection of products for standards
3. Developing test procedures and laboratory services
  • test procedures
  • test lab availability
4. Setting the standards
  • analytical processes
  • standard recommendation and selection
  • public notice, comment, and review
  • promulgation
5. Maintaining and enforcing the standards
  • amendment procedures
  • certification and compliance enforcement
  • judicial review
6. Monitoring the impact of standards
  • monitoring impact
  • reporting
7. Evaluating the effectiveness of the standards program

8. Modifying the standards program, based on evaluation

In addition, the project team anticipates that many countries will approach us for selected technical assistance, short-term training and workshops, review of specific standards and labels, and other relatively short-term assistance. Because it is important that the program be available to countries at different stages of development, the project will allocate a certain portion of resources for "rapid response" to requests coming from various developing countries.

In addition to country-specific technical assistance and regional workshops, the project will develop at least three support tools or "roadmaps" regionally tailored for policymakers whose role it will be to support and promote performance standards:

A guidebook to provide policymakers and NGOs with practical steps for addressing the necessary analytical, policy, legal, and regulatory actions to establish a successful national labeling and standards program that is unique to each host country. Support from UNF will enable the project to disseminate the initial guidebook broadly, adapt the guidebook into more regionally relevant versions (including translation into Spanish and other languages as appropriate), and refine the guidebook based on feedback from its early users;

A regionally tailored toolkit of training and marketing materials intended for government, industry, NGO, and advocacy groups that will include presentations, sample brochures, and examples of existing labels and standards; and

An internet-based international appliance labeling and efficiency standards web site that will serve as a host for the guidance manual and the toolkit training materials and act as a base from which to link with other sites worldwide for updates on national, regional, and global activities.