Evaluating Global Appliance Testing Prices and Test Laboratory Costs



CLASP improves the energy and environmental performance of the appliances & equipment we use every day, accelerating our transition to a more sustainable world. An international and impartial non-profit organization, CLASP develops and shares transformative policy and market solutions in collaboration with global experts and local stakeholders.

CLASP serves as the Operating Agent for SEAD. As the Operating Agent, CLASP uses its extensive experience in energy efficiency standards and labeling (S&L) for appliances and equipment to support SEAD activities.
The SEAD Initiative is a voluntary collaboration among governments working to promote the manufacture, purchase, and use of energy-efficient appliances, lighting, and equipment worldwide. At its core, SEAD is about governments working together to save energy, turning knowledge into action to advance global market transformation for energy efficient products. Product energy efficiency policies and programs are proven, cost-effective methods for lowering energy costs for consumers and increasing the resiliency of economies. They are often the lowest-cost tool for achieving significant emission reductions. If all SEAD governments were to adopt current policy best practices for product energy efficiency standards, 2000 TWh of annual electricity could be saved in 2030, equal to the energy generated by 650 mid-sized power plants. 
CLASP seeks to contract a qualified Consultant or team of Consultants to contribute to SEAD and CLASP’s monitoring, verification and enforcement resources, by collating and cataloguing information on product testing prices and test laboratory set-up, operations, and maintenance costs in countries around the world. Information on the Scope of Work, Consultants’ responsibilities, reporting and deliverables is provided below, as well as the project timeline and application instructions.


Testing products is an essential and occasionally costly component of any standards and labeling program. Governments and industry participants in appliance energy efficiency programs frequently pay for products to be tested: governments test products as part of their certification, monitoring, verification, and enforcement (MVE) schemes, while industry tests their products to ensure they meet the S&L program requirements. 
Particularly in the case of governments, careful consideration must be given when planning how to allocate resources for their MVE programs. Understanding the costs of testing products can help practitioners prepare their testing programs from the outset (for example, to plan their market surveillance activities – including which products to test in accredited laboratories and how many different models).
Once they have decided which product to test, they have to select where to test these products and typically choose one of three accredited test laboratory options: 1) A national, government-operated test laboratory; 2) a local for-profit test laboratory; or 3) a regional or international for-profit test laboratory. If a suitable test laboratory does not already exist, or is not equipped to test the target product, organizations can also choose to build their own laboratory.
Despite the importance of costs in deciding where and how to test products, data on testing prices, as well as the costs of building a laboratory (which includes laboratory set-up, operation, and maintenance) – is often deficient or hard to access. This presents a risk to governments. For example, in some cases where a government does not have a national test laboratory, it may be inclined to build its own, especially if there is an assumption that the laboratory will generate revenue or at least “pay for itself.” However, anecdotal evidence suggests that test laboratories are expensive and actual testing and operational costs may be greater than the revenue generated from testing. Therefore, in many cases it may be more appropriate and resource-efficient for a government to test products at third-party laboratories, or to use mutual recognition agreements (MRAs) instead of endeavoring to build their own national test laboratory.
A compendium of information on testing prices and test laboratory operating costs for common energy consuming products will make it easier for industry, energy efficiency practitioners, and governments to evaluate where and how to test products and ultimately make better-informed decisions about how best to allocate their limited resources. Best practice case studies or recommendations on how to reduce the costs of testing (for example, adopting MRAs) can also serve as a valuable resource.


CLASP would like to hire individual consultants to collect and catalogue information on the prices of energy efficiency performance testing for a variety of products, as well as actual costs to governments of setting up, operating, and maintaining corresponding test laboratories. The outcome of this research will be a catalogue of indicative testing costs across a representative set of variables for authorities to use to guide their decisions around where and how to do product performance testing.
The research should provide a snapshot or indication of testing prices and test laboratory costs, by prioritizing a diversity of product types and regions/countries rather than deep specificity of prices and costs (lists of products, regions/countries, and test methods for consideration in each Task are outlined below). Preference is for accredited laboratories, where possible, and the type of accreditation should be identified. Costs should be comparable for all products in each region.
In addition to this compendium, additional recommendations for reducing testing costs (through bulk testing, or by employing MRAs, for example) should be included. 
The Consultant will be responsible for conducting research according to the following three tasks:

Task 1

Identify, collect, and catalogue the price of energy efficiency performance testing using common test methods (e.g., published by IEC or ISO) at test laboratories (national, local for-profit, and regional) for different product types in a variety of countries and regions. A list of products and countries/regions for consideration are listed below, but the Consultant should help finalize this list in consultation with CLASP.

Task 2

Identify, collect, and catalogue the cost for governments to set up, operate, and maintain a test laboratory for different product types in a variety of countries and regions. A list of products and countries/regions for consideration are listed below, but the Consultant should help finalize this list in consultation with CLASP.

Set-up costs may include expenses such as building the laboratory facility, procuring equipment, and gaining accreditation. Operating and Maintenance costs may include staff salaries, benefits, and training, equipment maintenance and calibration, and utility expenses, among others. The Consultant should identify and define these lists and types of costs. The level of detail to be included in the compendium will be agreed between CLASP and the Consultant. 

A range of product types from the residential and commercial sectors should be included in the research. Below are products for consideration, but the Consultant should also advise CLASP on this list and add other commonly tested products. 

  • Air conditioners
  • Domestic refrigerators
  • Electric motors
  • General service lamps and other common lighting products
  • Televisions
  • Computers
  • Distribution transformers
  • Ceiling fans
  • Dishwashers
  • Washing machine
  • Water heaters

Countries and regions of focus should be balanced across major economic regions and continents, with representation from both developing and developed countries, and include SEAD member countries when possible.  The focus countries and regions will be agreed between the Consultant and CLASP.

As of March 2016, SEAD member governments are: Australia, Brazil, Chile, Canada, the European Commission, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, Sweden, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States. China is an official observer of the SEAD Initiative.

Task 3

The Consultant should provide some simple recommendations for minimizing costs to governments for setting up, operating, and maintaining a test laboratory. Examples might include bulk testing, or employing MRAs.


The Consultant will be required to provide the following outputs over the course of the project:

  • Participate in a project kick-off meeting with CLASP within one week of project inception.
  • Send fortnightly summary of activities undertaken as part of this project, via email.
  • Provide timely and detailed responses to questions and comments from CLASP team members related to this project.
  • Develop easily accessible/digestible templates for collated information
  • Provide a catalogue that contains easily comparable prices of energy efficiency performance testing for a variety of products in a variety of regions/countries, using comparable and common test methods.
  • Provide a catalogue that contains easily comparable costs to governments of setting up, operating, and maintaining test laboratories for conducting energy efficiency performance testing on the aforementioned variety of products in the aforementioned variety of regions/countries, using comparable and common test methods.
  • Provide a written set of recommendations for how governments can minimize costs associated with setting up, operating, and maintaining test laboratories.


The Project is expected to commence in June 2017 and conclude by September 15, 2017. The timeline for the development and implementation of specific deliverables will be coordinated with the selected Contractor for this project.


To be eligible for a contract with CLASP, you must first register as a CLASP Implementing Partner. Registering is easy, and can be done here.

A committee appointed by CLASP will evaluate proposals received from respondents. Selection of qualified experts will be based upon the following criteria:

  • Relevant qualifications of the project team, including knowledge of and experience with test laboratories, testing prices and costs, and energy efficiency programs;
  • Expertise in project and organizational planning;
  • Quality of the proposed project design, and project management and implementation approach;
  • Understanding of CLASP’s programs and projects; and
  • Total cost of plan.

All proposals will be evaluated using a Quality and Cost Based Selection (QCBS) method, with weights of 70 percent accorded towards project proposal quality, and team and organization experience, and 30 percent towards proposed costs. Additional information about CLASP’s selection process is available here. If necessary, CLASP may request additional information from any applicant.


Interested parties should submit separate technical and financial proposals as electronic files. The file should be named as per the following examples:  

[Contractor Name]_RFP11-14_Technical-Proposal
[Contractor Name]_RFP11-14_Financial-Proposal

Note: Do not use # or any other symbols in the filename, as this will result in a damaged file. 

The qualifications should not exceed five pages and must include the following elements:

  • A description of the Consultant’s experience with energy efficiency, research, test laboratories, or related issues, including project experience that illustrates the Contractor’s ability to carry out the scope of work and produce deliverables;
  • List of SEAD member governments/project-relevant countries or regions that the Consultant is qualified to conduct research on, with supporting evidence showing knowledge of potential sources of relevant information;
  • List of languages spoken that are relevant to the SEAD member governments/project-relevant countries or regions, and the level of written and spoken fluency;
  • An estimate of the number of days that will be required to complete the research and an indicative timeline for when the project will be completed; and
  • The Consultant’s daily rate.

Proposals should be submitted electronically via the CLASP website using the “Submit Bid” button above and filling out all the requested information. The deadline for submissions is May 26, 2017. Any proposal not addressing each of the previously mentioned requirements can be considered non-responsive and rejected without further review. Late proposals will be rejected without being considered. Revisions or additions to the proposal will not be accepted after the due date unless specifically invited by CLASP.

All questions may be addressed to Michael Spiak at mspiak@clasp.ngo. Proposals submitted directly to this person will not be accepted. We request all inquiries be made by e-mail and not by phone.


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