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Transforming product efficiency policy into system efficiency policy

Panel: 9. Products, appliances, ICT

This is a peer-reviewed paper.

Hans-Paul Siderius, Netherlands Enterprise Agency, The Netherlands
Adriana Diaz, Ecodesign Company, Austria
Roland Brüniger, R. Brüniger AG, Switzerland


Minimum efficiency performance standards (MEPS) and energy labels are amongst the most widely used policy instruments to increase energy efficiency, particularly for energy-using products in the residential and commercial sectors. These policy instruments are effective and cost-efficient. However, policies with a broader scope, such as a focus on systems, could address a larger share of the energy consumption in an integral way and increase energy savings. Policy makers need to consider diverse strategic issues when pushing for this next frontier in energy efficiency policy because of a range of regulatory issues.

This paper explores a methodological approach that can be used to transform product efficiency policy into system efficiency policy and discusses the regulatory challenges. It provides a definition of a system, and presents a classification of systems that is used to analyse options for regulating systems. The relevant elements of the existing regulatory approaches to product efficiency are highlighted and applied to examples of different systems to illustrate and discuss the regulatory challenges.

The paper provides suggestions for overcoming these challenges and map the classes of systems to selected regulatory solutions. Examples from regulatory approaches in the EU (for water pump units), and in the US and Canada (for walk-in coolers and freezers) illustrate possible solutions.

The main conclusion is that verification procedures and test methods in particular need to be more flexible to fit to energy efficiency policies dealing with systems. This paper concludes with recommendations for further development of the system approach in efficiency policy.

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