Equipment / Appliance Efficiency Standards

Policy Description

Equipment / Appliance Efficiency standards comprise of both Minimum Efficiency Performance Standards (MEPS) and Appliance Labelling schemes.

MEPS standards and Appliance labelling schemes are used widely. Typically they are rolled out as follows:

  • Energy performance labelling is required for a range of commonly used appliances (such as refrigerators).
  • MEPS are then introduced, spelling out the minimum energy performance requirements for new appliances.
  • Gradually the range of equipment and appliances subject to labelling and MEPS requirements is increased.
  • The stringency and threshold levels for MEPS and labels are increased after a certain number of years. So, for example, a particular make and model of refrigerator that was rated as 5 star under the former labelling scheme may only be rated as 3 star when the labelling thresholds are raised.

The diagram below, showing refrigerator energy savings from the Australian Equipment Energy Efficiency program, illustrates the typical rollout of equipment efficiency programs as described above.

Historical and projected energy savings by E3 Programs for refrigerators and freezers,Australia; from

Historical and projected energy savings by E3 Programs for refrigerators and freezers,Australia; from

Where it has been used

Labelling schemes are used widely, with the use of MEPS also becoming more prevalent


Equipment and appliance efficiency standards are highly likely to have saved more energy (and carbon emissions) than any other policy. They are widely understood.

When large economies such as the U.S.A. or China raise the thresholds on their MEPS standards the benefits can be felt globally as manufacturers may discontinue making products that fail to comply with the new standards.

Whilst opponents to energy efficiency standards point to the increased costs that this may result in, in fact there is little evidence that improved standards have negative economic impact, and in fact equipment standards are widely regarded as economically efficient policy (reference).


There is some speculation that labelling has little influence on consumer behaviour (reference).


Enforcement of MEPS and labelling standards can create an administrative overhead that is difficult to resource. Poor enforcement reduces the impact and benefit of these programs.

There is often no mechanism for government to directly recoup some of the benefit of improved efficiency standards for the purposes of administrating and regulating the standards.


U.S. Energy information – global links to appliance standards and labelling,

Clasp on-line. Since 1999, CLASP has worked in over 50 countries on 6 continents pursuing every aspect of appliance energy efficiency, from helping structure new policies to evaluating existing programs.

Energy Star (U.S.A)

European energy labelling

China energy label

China Energy Label

Australian Equipment Energy Efficiency


One thought on “Equipment / Appliance Efficiency Standards

  1. Pingback: Policies that have lowered Australia's electricity consumption - part 1 -

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *