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New standards on air conditioners released
By Zhao Huanxin (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-09-18 01:07

A set of new standards on air conditioners, a colossal electricity consumer in China, will take effect on March 1 to help tackle the country's power woes, China's standardization authorities said on Thursday.

Under the new standards, air-conditioners are divided into five levels, and those falling below the minimum requirement will be banned from the market.

The three national standards also detail energy-saving assessment methods, according to Zhang Yanhua, vice-director of the State Commission for the Administration of Standardization.

"If properly implemented, we can anticipate air conditioners (conforming to such standards) to each save 80 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year compared with previous conditioners," Liu Xianfa, deputy director of the Environment and Resources Department of the National Development and Reform Commission, said on Friday.

Liu's commission, together with the State standardization agency, and State Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, released the trio of national standards on Thursday in Beijing.

The regulations come at a time when power shortages are bottlenecking the country's economic growth. Air conditioners, manufactured in accordance with somewhat lenient standards, have been increasingly blamed for energy waste, experts said.

Air conditioners used up to 40 per cent of China's urban power consumption during the summer.

Overall, air-conditioning accounts for 15 per cent of China's total power usage, according to a statement from Zhang's agency.

The number of household air conditioners has risen to 100 million and the number used in businesses has reached 1.2 million.

Cheng Jianhong, a senior engineer with the China National Institution Standardization, said up to 30 per cent of air conditioners now on sale in China fall outside the new standards, meaning the regulations will have an impact on many air conditioning businesses.

He said the new standards will increase the cost of air conditioners, but the price will normalize in the long run.

Chinese air conditioner manufacturers are reacting and adapting to the new changes, to ensure their new products will fall within the mandatory parameters, according to sources with the China Household Electric Appliances Association.

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