Product testing is an integral part of energy efficiency programmes. Testing helps guarantee the quality and efficacy of products and provides the evidence needed to demonstrate compliance with national or regional policies. Test results are used to check products’ performance claims before they enter the market, and to verify performance claims for suspicious products found on the market during market surveillance checks.
Often, governments consider lack of access to reliable testing laboratories an impediment which can cause delays and threaten energy efficiency programme credibility, especially for nascent programmes. There is also a common belief among many governments that a national government-owned laboratory is critical to conduct product verification testing for policy enforcement. A government-owned test laboratory is also often considered a source of national pride and a deterrent to non-compliance. These governments may not consider other solutions, such as outsourcing testing, as viable alternatives and rather prioritize building an expensive test laboratory. The common assumption that a national laboratory will “pay for itself” is not always the case. Establishing a test laboratory for a regulated product requires a large upfront investment and ongoing funding for its operation. If there is little demand for product testing for market surveillance purposes, the underutilization of a facility may hinder other policy enforcement efforts, as the funds needed for laboratory upkeep and maintenance may be diverted from other activities, such as cost-effective market inspections or communications campaigns.
This Guide provides instruction on establishing sustainable testing practices for ensuring product compliance with energy efficiency programmes. Governments, donors, international organizations and other stakeholders can reference the step- wise guidance and criteria to assess whether building a national test laboratory is a viable solution or whether alternative approaches such as outsourcing testing are more appropriate. The Guide discusses different options for outsourcing testing and demonstrates that building a government-owned test laboratory should be based on a careful financial evaluation. The accompanying Test Laboratory Financial Evaluation tool should be used to assess the financial viability of the planned test laboratory. The tool* is available for download along with the Guide.
The focus of this Guide is on compliance (or verification) testing for market surveillance, as this is typically why countries with nascent policies or that are setting up their energy efficiency programmes often consider a government- owned laboratory most necessary. The Guide can be applied for testing practices for various regulated products.
This Guide includes considerations and targeted recommendations for the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which has adopted harmonized regional policies for cooling appliances and lighting. ECOWAS member states are at different stages of policy adoption – some have well-established programmes, others nascent programmes or are yet to develop them. These recommendations will help ECOWAS member states to build and access sustainable national and regional testing capacity which will support effective implementation of product efficiency policies, help prevent delays in adopting regional policies, strengthen enforcement, and protect markets from the inefficient and low-quality products.
ECOWAS countries should consider the following solutions before planning construction of a test laboratory:
- Collaborate with all ECOWAS member states to build regional testing capacity. Two regional and accredited testing centers with laboratories for cooling appliances and other regulated products can serve as testing hubs with state-of-the-art technology.
- Use existing testing laboratories. Three room air conditioner and two refrigerator testing laboratories are currently in operation or under-construction in Ghana, Nigeria and Cape Verde.
- Use regional resources to support regional policy implementation such as a regional product registration system (PRS) for managing product registration and sharing market surveillance intelligence and test results. Effective regional collaboration can reduce the number of tests required to verify product compliance with policies in each member state.
For any inquiries about the guide or tool, please contact Lina Kelpsaite at firstname.lastname@example.org
*This tool requires macros to be enabled. Please select “enable” or “accept” when Excel prompts a warning upon launch.
You may like this additional Testing research
Off- and Weak-Grid Appliance Market: Nigeria
This country profile covers relevant market and appliance performance data for off-grid appliances sold in Nigeria based on findings from Efficiency for Access market surveys. It provides market insights to help inform sector stakeholders and encourage higher market penetration for high-quality off- and weak-grid appropriate appliances.
Electric Pressure Cooker Usability Testing Buyer’s Guide
This Global LEAP Usability Testing Buyer's Guide contains information about select Winner and Finalist EPCs that participated in a three-month usability testing in Kenya. Testing was conducted as part of the 2020 Global LEAP Awards EPC Competition.
Enabling Reliable Testing Capacity in Southeast Asia
In 2019, CLASP carried out an inter-laboratory comparison exercise in Vietnam—an exercise to assess regional testing capacity of air conditioners and promote more accurate, consistent, and reproducible tests. The Round Robin Testing Report summarizes the RRT exercise findings, analysis results, and recommendations to improve the testing procedures and processes.
Off- and Weak Grid Appliance Market: Sierra Leone
This country profile covers relevant market and appliance performance data for off-grid appliances sold in Sierra Leone based on findings from Efficiency for Access market surveys. The profile explores the overall market landscape in Sierra Leone, the common power type, size, price, and warranty of off-grid appliances sold in retail markets, and other findings relevant to sector stakeholders working in Sierra Leone.
Transitional Test Method for Ecodesign and Energy Labelling requirements for Electronic Displays
Transitional Test Method sets out a measurement methodology that can be freely used by manufacturers and importers of electronic displays to assess compliance with two recent European regulations.
Solar Water Pump Durability Research Memo
This memo fills important knowledge gaps on solar water pump durability by sharing key data from Global LEAP Awards laboratory testing and summarizing information from the existing literature and interviews with industry experts. It provides useful recommendations for how to enhance solar water pump durability and identifies opportunities for how to improve existing test methods and future quality assurance efforts.
2019 Global LEAP Awards Buyer’s Guide for Solar Water Pumps
The Global LEAP Awards Buyer’s Guide is a catalog of the world’s best off-grid appliances. This edition contains information about solar water pumps that were named Winners and Finalists in the 2019 Global LEAP Awards.
2019 Global LEAP Awards Buyer’s Guide for Outstanding Off-Grid Refrigerators
The Global LEAP Awards Buyer’s Guide is a catalog of the world’s best off-grid appliances. This edition contains information about off-grid refrigerators that were named Winners and Finalists in the 2019 Global LEAP Awards.