Residential use accounts for 14 percent of global energy consumption. Appliance standards alone could achieve 17 percent energy reductions in the residential sector. Although appliance efficiency standards and labeling programs (AES&L) aim to influence consumer behavior, consumers and civil society often play a limited role in the design, implementation, and monitoring of these programs. This report considers the contribution that civil society organizations can make at each stage of an appliance efficiency standards and labeling program (AES&L), based on experiences in 10 developed and developing countries.
A significant proportion of global energy use takes place within our homes. The appliances we rely on to wash our dishes, refrigerate our food, clean our clothes, and cool and heat our homes account for nearly 14 percent of global energy consumption. As the ranks of the global middle class continue to swell, household appliance purchases are bound to rise.
Mandatory efficiency standards, coupled with labels that describe energy performance, enable consumers to save energy and reduce expenses, without drastically changing their lifestyles. Within the major economies worldwide, standards programs alone could save 1500 Terawatt hours of energy by 2030 and save consumers US$1.5 trillion.
The value of standards and labeling programs is especially notable in countries like India, where economic growth is fueling consumer electronic sales. India’s residential sector already accounts for more than a third of its final energy consumption. Improving the efficiency of household appliances could secure impressive energy savings.
Despite the many benefits of appliance standards and labeling programs, many countries have not yet unleashed their full potential. Civil society—the intended beneficiary of standards and labeling programs—is often overlooked in the design, implementation, and enforcement of these programs. Experience shows that failure to fully engage this key constituency limits program impacts.
This report, Robust, Recognizable, and Legitimate, considers the contribution that civil society organizations can make at each stage of an appliance efficiency standards and labeling program. Based on experiences in 10 developed and developing countries, it shows that civil society organizations bring a vital consumer perspective to standards and labeling programs, which can speed uptake and boost consumer awareness. Examples from the 10 countries demonstrate that civil society engagement throughout the entire life cycle of a standards and labeling program can make programs more robust, recognizable, and legitimate. The report offers insights for India and other countries as they aim to broaden their own standards and labeling programs.