An Opportunity to Change

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International Workshop

Global Trends in Energy Efficiency and Environmental Issues in Home Appliances

By Rajendra Shende, UNEP DTIE, Paris

Guangzhou, China 27-28 November 2008

It is pleasure to be here today with global gathering of friends, colleagues and experts from industries and governments for this workshop on Home Appliances. I would like to sincerely thank China Household Electrical Appliances Association (CHEAA) who has taken initiative in organizing this event. GTZ-Germany who is in fore front for promoting the environment friendly appliances is enthusiastic partner for this event and UNEP is indeed very happy to be working with both Chinese and German friends for making this timely event happen today.

This event could not have occurred at more opportune time. The production and ownership of home appliances have grown at double digit rate over last decade in most of the merging economies .The world has  witnessing a dramatic change in all the spheres of life- political, social economical and environmental in last few years.

In the context of the current climate change debate and credit crunch the issue of energy efficiency and the material efficiency has resurfaced. Corresponding economic gains due to possible enhancing of the efficiencies may have added a compelling motivation to ensure these issues are properly addressed and that the advantages are realized at this opportune time.

Electrical appliances are the fastest growing energy users, after automobiles in all the countries.  Despite the existence of major energy efficiency programs in the developed countries, residential electrical appliances still account for 30% of electricity consumption and 12% of greenhouse gas emissions. Based on existing appliances policy, demand is projected to grow 13% by 2010 and 25% by 2025.

Additional efficiency gains of up to 30% are possible by targeting the least life-cycle cost for appliances from 2005 onwards as the minimum efficiency performance standard.

By adopting such standards, developed countries could save some 322 million tones (Mt) of CO2/year by 2010 and 642 TWh of electricity by 2010. In terms of greenhouse gas emissions, this would be the equivalent of removing over 100 million cars from developed countries roads.

More importantly, these savings can be achieved at a negative cost to society. The extra costs of more efficient appliances are offset by savings in running costs over the life of the appliance. In the US, each tonne of CO2 avoided in this way in 2020 will save consumers $65; while in Europe, each tonne of CO2 avoided will save consumers _ 169 (reflecting higher electricity costs and currently lower efficiency standards in Europe).

For example, the energy efficiency of room air conditioners is a significant issue for China. During the transition away from HCFCs to protect the ozone layer, industries have a major opportunity to further improve the energy efficiency gains and economic gains at consumer level as well as at national level and at the same time derive climate benefits.

Potential reductions in power requirements for air conditioner units derived from technology transfer from developed countries would therefore have significant effects. For example, based on one study, these could result in reductions in total power generation of between 15 per cent and 38 per cent in the next 15 years in China , that is of up to 260 TWh – equivalent to the output from about 50 power plants – with corresponding reductions in CO2 emissions. To achieve the full potential of these energy saving measures, considerable market transformation is needed in China to facilitate the conversion to energy efficient air conditioners.

The rapid growth of information and communication technologies (ICT) in the home is the neglected appliances for targeting energy conservation. These devices, many of which consume power when switched off (in stand-by mode), are responsible for a large share of the projected residential energy demand and greenhouse gas emissions. Technical options exist to improve the energy performance of home ICT if innovative efficiency policy standards are set. International collaboration and co-operation is becoming increasingly important in appliance policy and technology development. This is a remarkable opportunity for governments and private sector for technology innovation and technology cooperation between developed and developing countries

Greater transparency and comparability in appliance energy performance standards,

test procedures and labeling would bring benefits for producers, consumers and


UNEP is committed to assist in ensuring developing countries expedite their compliance with the HCFC phase-out through cost-effective, ozone and climate friendly refrigerants  and at the same time  improving technologies to ensure emission reduction and energy efficiency. UNEP would facilitate the technology cooperation between the countries.

Chinese saying goes: “A crisis is an opportunity riding the dangerous wind”

The world is in the middle of  crisis , however  the workshops like these would overcome the dangerous winds and  would establishment an effective cooperation between the industries on technologies and policies so that they can seize the opportunity to get economic and environmental gains. UNEP sees this workshop as an important contribution to this process.

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