The Design of a Codes and Standards Program: The Australian Experience

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This paper examines the Australian appliance and equipment energy efficiency program: a codes and standards program. In 1992, the program expanded from product labeling to also include the concept of minimum energy performance standards (MEPS), specified in legislation withdrawing the right to sell products not meeting those standards. The minimum standards program progressed slowly. After seven years, the first minimum standards commenced (applying to domestic refrigerators and electric storage water heaters) while others still await finalization (for example, linear fluorescent lighting ballasts first mooted in 1993 may commence in 2002 or 2003).

Following the Australian Prime Minister’s November 1997 climate change statement immediately before the Kyoto summit and the subsequent publication of Australian domestic response measures as the National Greenhouse Strategy, the program was reinvigorated.

The minimum standards program now incorporates an expanded scope to consider a wider range of products and improved processes. Agreed procedures should see new product MEPS introduced within a maximum of five years from the date of publicly commencing the assessment process. Australia also proposes to adopt the most stringent standards imposed by our trading partners provided:

  • Experts can “translate” those overseas levels into Australian standards taking account of our national circumstances;
  • Regulatory impact studies demonstrate the proposed standards benefit our community; and
  • The entire process is subject to open public consultation that can affect the outcome.

The revised codes and standards program aims to be a cooperative pact between government and industry, avoiding the delays and conflict of the immediate past.

Authors: Shane Holt, Dr. Anthony Marker, and Lloyd Harrington

Information from: Paper presented to the 2000 ACEEE Summer Study in Pacific Grove, California.


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