Thai Voluntary Energy Labels Improve Efficiency
Labelling schemes can highlight the energy efficiency of household appliances and may help to raise consumer awareness about energy consumption and encourage a shift in the market towards energy efficient technology, improving the average energy efficiency of appliances. As shown in Thailand, voluntary energy labeling schemes can work effectively when they are supported by high profile publicity campaigns to increase public awareness of energy labels and energy efficiency. Despite its voluntary nature, a large number of manufacturers participate in the scheme, and by October 1997 energy savings achieved by the programme had exceeded targets for refrigerators and air-conditioners.
Energy-efficiency labels are informative labels affixed to manufactured products to describe the product?s energy performance. Greater awareness of products' energy efficiency through such labeling schemes enable consumers to make more informed purchasing decisions and will contribute to developing a stronger market for energy efficient products.
Labelling schemes do not necessarily have to be legislated. Voluntary energy efficiency labeling can be effective if they are combined with high profile awareness campaigns that demonstrate the benefits of energy efficient appliances both to purchasers and manufacturers.
Appliance energy labelling in Thailand is operated by the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT), and participation in the programme is voluntary. The energy-labeling project has been approved by the Thai Government and is incorporated into EGAT's Demand-Side Management (DSM) Program.
Thailand's voluntary energy-labelling scheme applies to refrigerators, refrigerator-freezers, air conditioners, ballasts for fluorescent lighting, and electric motors. The Thai refrigerator label, for example, shows energy consumption as kWh/year, while the air conditioner label displays power efficiency. The label also shows consumers the average energy consumption per year (kWh/year) and the average electricity bill per year (Baht/year) for the model of the appliance in question. The labels for ballasts and motors are simpler, endorsing the best available technologies.
EGAT has secured the participation of the 5 local refrigerator manufacturers and 55 local air conditioner manufacturers. By October 1997 energy savings achieved by the programme had exceeded targets. The average energy use of single-door refrigerators participating in the programme had decreased from 435 kWh/yr in 1995 to 389 kWh/yr in 1998, and the energy consumed by refrigerators at peak times had decreased by 39 MW and 297 Gwh. Similarly, energy consumed by air-conditioners had decreased by 13 MW and 297 GWh. This translates into C02 reductions 177 000 t and 102 000 t respectively.
The Thai experience with voluntary labelling programs may be particularly relevant for newly industrialized or developing countries.