Matching World’s Best Regulated Efficiency Standards: Australia’s Success in Adopting New Refrigerator MEPS

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In 1999 Australian state and federal governments adopted a policy of matching world’s “best regulatory practice” for minimum energy performance standards (MEPS) for residential appliances and commercial and industrial equipment. The policy involves:

  • Reviewing mandatory and quasi-mandatory MEPS levels in force around the world;
  • Assessing the requirements on a common basis (typically in terms of the Australian/New Zealand (AS/NZS) test procedures); and
  • Selecting the most stringent levels currently in force (or in the process of adoption) for implementation in Australia at an agreed date in the future.

The first major product in Australia to be tackled using this new policy approach was refrigerators and freezers in late 1999. The US MEPS levels for 2001 were identified as the world’s most stringent and Australian governments worked with local manufacturers and importers to finalize equivalent levels for implementation in January 2005 in Australia.

The new 2005 MEPS levels are compared to the existing 1999 Australian MEPS levels and the market structure and efficiency levels in 2000. Projections indicate that the new MEPS levels will require an average 40% drop in the energy consumption of refrigerator-freezers over the period 2000 to 2005. In the period 1980 to 2005, it is estimated that sales-weighted energy consumption of new refrigerator-freezers in Australia will have fallen by around 70%.

Authors: Lloyd Harrington, Energy Efficient Strategies
Shane Holt, Australian Greenhouse Office

Information from: ACEEE Summer Study 2002


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