Ratings are breath of fresh air for energy savers

By Shi Jing (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-03-05 13:25
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High energy-consuming air conditioners will be abandoned after a stricter energy efficiency rating system goes into effect in June.

The new rating system categorizes air conditioners into three levels, two less than previously.

Machines rated Level 1 are those that can save the most energy. Those rated Level 2 meet basic requirements for energy saving, and Level 3 conditioners reach only the basic standards for the market.

Under the new rating system, about 3.3 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity is expected to be saved every year nationwide.

According to a recent report from the Chinese Electronic Chamber of Commerce, the average price of an energy-saving air conditioner has dropped from 4,000 yuan to 2,000 yuan after the implementation of an energy saving subsidy project that started in June 2009.

Suning Appliance, a leading home appliance retailer in China, stopped its trade in air conditioners rated above Level 2 at the end of last year, in a bid to expand the energy-saving market.

"We made negotiations with manufacturers to lower prices. They were also pushed by the government, which is accelerating its pace of eliminating high-energy consumption air conditioners. As a result, no more Level 4 and 5 machines were made from September last year," said Sun Chengzhi, vice-general manager of a Suning Appliance Beijing branch.

Sun also told METRO that air conditioners rated Level 1 and 2 in the new system comprise most of their inventory at their Beijing branches. Only 5 percent of machines in the stores are rated Level 3.

He added that energy-saving machines should help save money for consumers.

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"An energy-saving air conditioner worth 1,800 yuan will use 500 yuan of electricity every month. But a machine with higher energy consumption, which costs 1,200 yuan, will incur a monthly bill of 800 yuan. And that makes a difference in the long term," he said.

To further promote the sales of energy-saving air conditioners, the Suning Appliance's Beijing branches have invested three million yuan of their own money to offer bigger discounts.

Wen Jing, a PR practitioner who recently settled down in Beijing, said energy-saving air conditioners are reasonably priced.

"People talk about low carbon economy all the time these days. There is no doubt the new rating system will meet the trend of the time. Although the energy-saving air conditioners will be a little bit more expensive, they are worth the money," he said.