China, People's Republic of: Promoting Energy-Efficient Products by Strengthening the Energy Labeling Scheme

Sovereign Project | 46053-001 Status: Closed


The TA will strengthen the China Energy Label (CEL), a mandatory energy labeling scheme in the PRC, by establishing a reliable and comprehensive evaluation system. The TA will support the strengthening of the CEL by addressing the key issues. An improved CEL is expected to build consumers confidence about the nameplate energy efficiency rating of products, thereby strengthening demand for them. The TA will also provide a substantial end-user energy efficiency gain to help the PRC achieve its energy intensity reduction targets.

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Project Name Promoting Energy-Efficient Products by Strengthening the Energy Labeling Scheme
Project Number 46053-001
Country China, People's Republic of
Project Status Closed
Project Type / Modality of Assistance Technical Assistance
Source of Funding / Amount
TA 8174-PRC: Promoting Energy-Efficient Products by Strengthening the Energy Labeling Scheme
Technical Assistance Special Fund US$ 400,000.00
Strategic Agendas Environmentally sustainable growth
Inclusive economic growth
Drivers of Change Governance and capacity development
Sector / Subsector

Energy - Energy efficiency and conservation

Gender Equity and Mainstreaming
Description The TA will strengthen the China Energy Label (CEL), a mandatory energy labeling scheme in the PRC, by establishing a reliable and comprehensive evaluation system. The TA will support the strengthening of the CEL by addressing the key issues. An improved CEL is expected to build consumers confidence about the nameplate energy efficiency rating of products, thereby strengthening demand for them. The TA will also provide a substantial end-user energy efficiency gain to help the PRC achieve its energy intensity reduction targets.
Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy

The PRC's sustained economic growth over the past 20 years has brought millions of people out of poverty. But this economic growth was energy intensive, and it came at a disproportionately high cost to the environment and resources. During this period, the PRC became the world's largest energy consumer. One of the most important development challenges in the PRC is to direct consumption and production patterns toward resource conserving and energy-efficient growth patterns. This requires concerted and cooperative efforts throughout the entire cycle of production and consumption of energy. In this effort, the PRC achieved an energy intensity reduction of 19.1% in 2010 compared to 2005. But the emphasis was primarily on the supply-side options, and measures to specifically target end-user energy efficiency have been lacking.

The PRC is now one of the world's largest producers and consumers of energy-using products. Household energy consumption has increased sharply owing to the rapid growth in the ownership of home appliances. In 2010, household electricity consumption was about 12% of the total electricity consumption in the PRC. In the absence of consumer awareness and education about energy-efficient products, especially how high operational costs offset the initial cost advantage of inefficient products, consumers continue to prefer low-cost but high energy-consuming products. As a result, there is insufficient demand for energy-efficient products, which in turn has deterred producers from innovating and launching highly energy-efficient products. Unless these highly energy-efficient products are launched and used extensively, it will not be possible to achieve the cost reduction benefits resulting from economies of scale and technological improvement. This is a major barrier to improving energy efficiency at the household level. Highly energy-efficient products offer opportunities for consumers to reduce their energy bill and conserve energy, which can moderate demand growth, thereby reducing emissions.

Recognizing the need to address end-user energy efficiency, the government introduced some policy measures. In 1989, the minimum energy performance standards (MEPSs) were launched to prevent the market entry of high energy-consuming products that did not meet the threshold energy efficiency level. But the MEPSs stimulated neither product innovation nor the demand for highly energy-efficient products. Thus, in 2005, the CEL was introduced to complement the MEPSs. The CEL helps consumers to easily identify energy-efficient products because the label placed on the product informs the consumer of its energy efficiency performance. Since its introduction, the CEL has expanded to cover 25 product groups and over 260,000 models. CNIS, which is responsible for the technical work of the CEL, estimated that CEL saved 15 terawatt-hours of electricity between 2005 and 2010, equivalent to 60 million tons of coal equivalent, and the associated emissions were avoided. But to realize these benefits in a timely manner, there is an urgent need to strengthen the CEL.

In 2010, a random product testing of nine popular product with high energy-efficiency was conducted by CNIS and the CEL Center. It found serious discrepancies between the nameplate energy performance rating claimed by the manufacturer and the actual energy efficiencies observed during the product tests. Since the CEL does not mandate independent external verification of the claimed energy efficiency, the manufacturers tend to overstate it. This has eroded consumers' confidence about the reliability of product information and undermined the CEL objectives. The accuracy and reliability of energy efficiency testing has been another major problem with the CEL. The current CEL system does include a set of broad testing standards, testing methods, and procedures. However, it does not provide sufficient product-specific technical instructions, which often leads to conflicting and unreliable test results. Under these circumstances, the CEL faces some challenges to ensure a high level of compliance.

The TA is consistent with (i) the strategic priority of environmentally sustainable growth under ADB's Strategy 2020; and (ii) the PRC's country partnership strategy, 2011-2015, which promotes resource and energy efficiency and environmental sustainability as core pillars. As the Twelfth Five-Year Plan, 2011-2015 of the PRC further sets energy intensity reduction by 16%, both production and consumption sides' efforts are needed. This TA will address demand-side energy efficiency improvement in the PRC and is a logical extension of ADB's ongoing and planned interventions on the supply side. It fits well with the priorities of both the PRC and ADB on improving energy efficiency and reducing carbon intensity in the PRC.

Impact Improved end-user energy efficiency in the PRC
Project Outcome
Description of Outcome A strengthened and more reliable CEL
Progress Toward Outcome
Implementation Progress
Description of Project Outputs

A comprehensive assessment of the current CEL and a comparison with other international labeling schemes

A comprehensive technical and regulatory policy brief to strengthen the CEL evaluation system

Pilot testing of the proposed technical instructions

Capacity strengthening in CEL implementation

Status of Implementation Progress (Outputs, Activities, and Issues)

Recruitment of consulting firm was finalized on 21 February 2013. Consultants commenced services on 25 February 2013. An inception workshop was held on 15 April 2013 which was fully financed by the AQSIQ, the EA and organized by CNIS. The consultants presented the project overview and implementation plan. All experts emphasized the importance of improving CEL. As confirmed during the inception workshop, all inputs, comments and feedback will be incorporated in the inception report. The revised inception report was approved on July 2013.

The TA completion date has been extended to 14 August 2014 in order to accommodate all TA related activities.

The interim workshop was held in 6 November 2013 with participants from AQSIQ, CNIS, product energy efficiency experts, and other stakeholders including media and civil society groups. The interim workshop consisted of two major sessions: the morning session focused on the presentation of the progress of TA 8174-PRC and getting external experts feedback. The afternoon session was on experimental dialogues with civil society groups to discuss the need and/or the usefulness of continuing stakeholders dialogues regarding behavior change communication to promote CEL and energy efficient projects in the PRC. The interim workshop concluded with strong support from external experts and civil society groups. The consulting firm incorporated experts feeback received during the workshop and improved the report.

In addition, after having a successful communication session at the TA interim workshop, the EA and IA requested to add an activity to develop a Communication Action Plan for CNIS. Considering the TA timeframe, Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), who has expertise in communications and promotion on energy efficient products and energy labelling, was engaged using single-source selection method. Since the assignment was output-based, a lump sum contract was made. CLASP was working closely with CNIS, ADB, and other stakeholders to draft the communication action plan for CNIS, which would be a part of TA outputs.

The International Workshop on Improvement of Compliance Regime of China Energy Labelling Program was held in 3-4 June 2014. Over 100 participants joined the workshop, including representatives from AQSIQ, CNIS, NDRC, International Energy Agency, Korea Refrigeration & Air-Conditioning Assessment Center, Energy Conservation Center Japan, Nemko Canada, CLASP, Lund University Sweden, VDE Germany, and other stakeholders including product energy efficiency experts, media and civil society groups. The workshop was successful sharing experiences from different energy labelling schemes, getting feedback and comments on CEL from international experts, and also providing technical training on the newly developed technical instruction for energy efficiency testing under the TA, and discussing how to promote CEL further using a draft Communication Action Plan report prepared by CLASP.

Prior to the final workshop of the TA, the final Communication Action Plan report was submitted and approved and a draft final TA report was submitted. The final workshop was held on 22 and 23 December 2014 with over 100 participants, including representatives from the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection, and Quarantine, China National Institute of Standardization, NDRC, National Energy Conservation Center, consumer associations, product energy efficiency experts, researchers, and other stakeholders including manufacturers, testing laboratories, retailers, media and civil society groups. TA activities and outputs were presented. Experts and other stakeholders provided valuable comments on various components of the draft final TA report. The final report of the Communication Action Plan for CNIS was presented and received strong support from EA, IA, and other experts. The final TA report was finalized after incorporating comments from the final workshop and submitted and approved at the end of December 2014. All the TA activities were completed and outputs were finalized within 31 December 2014, the TA completion date. No further extension was made.

Geographical Location
Summary of Environmental and Social Aspects
Environmental Aspects
Involuntary Resettlement
Indigenous Peoples
Stakeholder Communication, Participation, and Consultation
During Project Design The proposed policy and advisory TA is based on the project concept note submitted by AQSIQ and CNIS. A series of discussions with CNIS was conducted through emails and personal meetings during the first quarter of 2012. The concept paper is the product of the close consultation between ADB and CNIS.
During Project Implementation

Both inception and interim workshops invited a range of sector experts from different organizations in the PRC in order to get feedback on the progress on consultants' works. In addition, external experts were also invited to review technical testing guideline works and provide feedback and inputs on these development. Their engagement would continue throughout the entire project implementation.

In addition, during the interim workshop, the project invited media and other organizations that have been working on the consumer purchasing promotion for China Energy Labelled products as an additional activity. The feedback we got from these groups was very positive and valuable for the project EA and IA.

At the international workshop on June 2014 and the final workshop on December 2014, a wide range of stakeholders, both international and domestic, and different types of stakeholders including academia, manufacturers, retailers, consumer associations, and media, were invited and provided valuable inputs and comments to improve TA outputs and activities.

Business Opportunities
Consulting Services

The TA will be carried out by a consulting firm (one international consultant for 5 person-months, and four national consultants for 18 person-months) with expertise in energy standards, energy labeling schemes, energy efficiency configurations, and product energy efficiency testing for home appliances. The consulting firm will be engaged using the quality- and cost-based selection method (with a quality-cost ratio of 80:20) in accordance with ADB's Guidelines on the Use of Consultants (2010, as amended from time to time). The firm will be required to submit a simplified technical proposal covering all aspects of the terms of reference.

The experts required to undertake the activities of the TA include (i) energy standards and labeling expert (international, 5 person-months); (ii) research consultant (national, 4 person-months); (iii) three technical instruction specialists (national, 6 person-months for refrigerator product group, 4-person months each for air conditioner and television product groups). The international energy standards and labeling expert will be the team leader and will (i) coordinate the activities of the other consultants, and (ii) work closely with ADB and CNIS to discuss progress. The team leader will have technical expertise in (i) energy standards and labeling schemes, (ii) policy analysis and design, (iii) promotion and verification of energy-efficient products, and (iv) product testing. The national research consultant will have expertise in research and analysis of energy labeling schemes and their evaluation mechanism. The other three national technical instruction specialists will have broad technical expertise in the relevant product groups, namely refrigerators, air conditioners, and televisions.

The consultants will submit an inception report within 1 month after signing the consulting contract. The interim reports, for each output, will be provided 3 months after commencement of the task, and the draft final reports upon completion of each output. The consultants will take into account the comments provided by ADB and the implementing agency on the draft final report for each output, and the consolidated final report will be submitted upon completion of all the outputs. The team leader will be responsible for collating the reports of the individual consultants to ensure consistency and coherence. All reports will be provided in English and Chinese.

Responsible ADB Officer Na Won Kim
Responsible ADB Department East Asia Department
Responsible ADB Division Energy Division, EARD
Executing Agencies
Gen. Admin.of Quality Supervision,Ins.& Quarantine
Ding Zhiyin, Representative of International Organization Division
No.9 Madian East Rod. Haidian District, Beijing 100088, People's Republic of China
Concept Clearance 21 Jun 2012
Fact Finding 03 Aug 2012 to 07 Aug 2012
Approval 27 Sep 2012
Last Review Mission -
Last PDS Update 25 Mar 2015

TA 8174-PRC

Approval Signing Date Effectivity Date Closing
Original Revised Actual
27 Sep 2012 19 Oct 2012 19 Oct 2012 15 Jan 2014 31 Dec 2014 -
Financing Plan/TA Utilization Cumulative Disbursements
ADB Cofinancing Counterpart Total Date Amount
Gov Beneficiaries Project Sponsor Others
400,000.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 400,000.00 27 Sep 2012 332,646.62

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