Air-conditioners required to save energy
Air-conditioner producers will have to meet a stricter energy efficiency standard: EER 2.6 instead of the present 2.3, to gain market access as the government makes the industry more aware of energy conservation.
EER (energy efficiency rating) value tells consumers how efficiently an air conditioner converts electrical energy to cool air. The higher the EER number rises, the less power will be consumed.
Rising power demands have resulted in nearly two-thirds of China's provinces and cities to experience blackouts since last summer. Larger cities, such as Beijing and Shanghai, face serious electricity shortages.
Statistics show that the more than 100 million air-conditioners in Chinese households consumed 70 billion kilowatts-hours last year,accounting for 20 to 30 per cent of the families' total power consumption.
Jiang Feng, secretary general of the China Household Electric Appliances Association, said a new energy plan has been worked out. The new standard will go into effect within the year, he said, hoping the new regulations will make air-conditioners more efficient and help save electricity.
According to the new standard, air-conditioners will be classified into five levels based on their efficiency. The first-level ones consume an average of no more than one kilowatts-hour per hour, compared to 1.35 kilowatts-hours per hour consumed by the fifth-level ones.
Energy efficiency marks will be put on air-conditioners to help consumers choose more energy-saving ones, Jiang said.
Small and medium-sized air-conditioner businesses may face a difficult time readjusting, as 28 per cent of air-conditioners on the market are not up to the new standard, he said.
But consumers will find the rating beneficial.
"An energy efficient air-conditioner can save over 160 yuan (US$19.5) a year," Fang Qing, vice-dean of the China National Institute of Standardization was quoted as saying by China Central Television.
"The new standard will force businesses to stop producing air- conditioners of low EER value and help them avoid the vicious circle of price cut. It is conducive to the whole industry's integration," Jiang said.
To help the country's energy conservation efforts, the national meteorological institute of home electric appliance has launched a campaign to regulate the testing of air-conditioner efficiency early last week. Statistics show that a large number of air-conditioner testing equipment in the country fails to offer accurate data on how much energy an air-conditioner can save.
According to the campaign, China will standardize the testing equipment data to provide accurate reference to the air- conditioning industry and consumers.