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Evaluating the impact of energy labelling and MEPS – a retrospective look at the case of refrigerators in the UK and Australia

Panel: Panel 4: Monitoring and evaluation

Kevin Lane, AEA Energy & Environment
Lloyd Harrington, AEA Energy & Environment
Paul Ryan, AEA Energy & Environment


Refrigerators and freezers in Australia have been subjected to mandatory energy labelling since late 1986. Minimum energy performance standards (MEPS) were introduced in 1999 and were upgraded in 2005 (to match US 2001 levels). The UK, under the European Directive for energy labelling, has required energy labelling for refrigerators and freezers since January 1995 and MEPS, through a separate European Directive, were introduced in September 1999.

Estimating the impact of programmes such as these that operate over very long periods provides special challenges. The existence of the program itself is now part of the base case scenario and it becomes increasingly difficult to estimate the scenario that would have occurred if labelling had not been introduced. Other external factors such as changes in technology and changes in product type (e.g. share of frost free) or attributes (volume) also complicate the analysis as these factors also have an indirect impact on energy consumption.

Initially, data which had been collected on sales weighted trends in appliance efficiency for refrigerators and freezers in Australia was examined. A detailed methodology to assess the impacts of these programmes’ elements was developed and an impact assessment for energy labelling, MEPS 1 and MEPS 2 was undertaken. The impact of MEPS against an existing labelling backdrop was fairly straight forward. However, assessment of the long-term impact of energy labelling proved more difficult and new and innovated approaches were necessary.

Subsequently, the methodology was refined and then applied to the UK market over the period 1995 to 2005. The paper compares and contrasts the results from the analyses in each country.

The methodology now forms a sound basis for further evaluations in other countries to add to the international pool of data. The paper also provides lessons learnt in terms of data requirements and analysis systems that will assist others who wish to replicate the work.


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