Promoting highly efficient air conditioners in the ASEAN region to reduce energy consumption

The ASEAN SHINE initiative led to the adoption of ASEAN-level and national-level policies for the promotion of highly efficient air conditioners. Due to its success, the initiative expanded to include efficient lighting. Together, this will contribute to reducing ASEAN’s annual energy consumption by 24,173 GWh and greenhouse gas emissions by 13.9 million tonnes by 2020.


Air conditioners (ACs) represent close to 50% of household electricity consumption in ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations). Currently, the market share of ACs with an
energy efficiency ratio (EER) at or above 3.2 (which is China’s EER for Minimum Energy Performance Standard/MEPS) is only around 25%. Assuming all ASEAN countries adopt a MEPS of 3.2, the electricity consumption of residential sector would be reduced by 5,373 GWh per annum, corresponding to a reduction of 2.7 million tonnes of CO2 emissions per annum.


The ASEAN SHINE project sought to phase out energy inefficient ACs and increase the market share of more highly efficient ACs within the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) region. This led to a reduction in electricity consumption and GHG emissions, as well as an enhanced regional market integration through harmonised standards. The specific project objectives included:
• Harmonising standards for testing methods;
• Developing a regional policy roadmap;
• Developing national policy and regulatory roadmaps for an increase of minimum energy performance standards;
• Building capacity of testing laboratories;
• Building capacity of local AC manufacturers (SMEs);
• Changing consumer purchasing attitudes in favour of more highly efficient ACs.


• National standard-making bodies
• Ministries in charge of energy (involved as project associates)
• Three national public laboratories and six private laboratories
• 20 small and medium-sized AC manufacturers
• 800 sales persons
• 3-4 consumer organisations in each ASEAN country


Establishing an ASEAN-Level Roadmap for MEPS
The first key challenge was the harmonisation of standards for testing methods, which was overcome through the establishment of a regional Technical Working Group (TWG) composed of representatives from national standard making bodies and testing laboratories. Based on TWG’s recommendations, ASEAN Member States adopted ISO 5151:2010 as a unified standard. Policymakers were then engaged to adopt policies that would align to and increase MEPS over time. With technical assistance from the project partners, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and Collaborative Labelling and Appliances Standards Program (CLASP), the ASEAN energy ministers in October 2015 adopted the Regional Policy Roadmap (RPR). RPR set long-term goals which serve as a reference for the development of National Policy Roadmaps (NPRs). UNEP and International Copper Association (ICA) facilitated the development of NPRs in eight countries (Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam), which were later endorsed by the energy ministers in the second half of 2016.

Building Capacity on New Harmonised Standards
Following the adoption of these new standards for the testing method (ISO 5151:2010), capacity building for five testing laboratories was organised in Bangkok, at the Electrical and Electronics Institute of Thailand. With the progressive increase of MEPS as a result of the implementation of the national policy roadmaps, the capacity of local AC manufacturers (SMEs) was built to design more highly efficient ACs. Two workshops were organised, attended by over 80 participants from 15 manufacturers. Software was also developed to help engineers design heat exchangers with higher efficiency for the ACs.

Creating Market Demand
In order to increase the awareness of consumers regarding the economic benefits of more highly efficient ACs, a mobile phone app (AC SELECT) was developed and promoted via sales persons in retail stores. Exceeding the target, 2 500 sales personnel were trained and now play a key role in educating consumers. The app allows a consumer to calculate the total purchase and operating cost of two AC models, showing the money saved over five years opting for a more efficient AC.


Expanding to Other Household Appliances
The project continued to harmonise energy efficiency standards for other household appliances, as agreed upon and described in the “Strategic framework for the harmonisation of energy efficiency standards for household appliances in ASEAN”, for which ACs constitute the first phase. In early 2016, ASEAN SHINE became a private public partnership between UNEP and ICA in support of “United for Efficiency and Sustainable Energy for All”. This new initiative included other technologies (lighting, refrigerators, etc.) and was endorsed by ASEAN energy ministers (AMEM) as a dialogue partner. LED lamps have a small but fast growing market share in ASEAN countries. However, linear fluorescent lamps still have a huge market share with stable annual sales, and there are significant differences in MEPS levels across the countries. A market transformation through implementation and enforcement of MEPS would reduce electricity consumption by 18.8 TWh, corresponding to a reduction of GHG emissions by 11.2 million tonnes CO2 per year.

Creating Country Chapters
The cornerstone of the extension and scaling-up mechanism for this project is the EU-ASEAN Energy Efficiency Standards Harmonisation Initiative. It was organised regionally (regional policy roadmap) with country chapters (NPRs) assembling all strategic stakeholders in each of eight targeted ASEAN countries. The regional/national policy roadmaps remain in place beyond the project’s life, ensuring its long-term sustainability strategy.

Conducting Awareness Campaigns
The project conducted consumer awareness campaigns. Through the involvement of governments and the private sector (AC manufacturers, retail chains), financial sustainability is secured to keep the awareness campaigns going. The trained 2 500 sales personnel across ASEAN countries will continue educating consumers on more efficient ACs by using the ‘AC SELECT’ app.

Creating the Right Conditions
The adoption of a single standard in ASEAN for the testing of AC energy performance (ISO 5151:2010) opened opportunities for regional cooperation in terms of market verification. ASEAN SHINE supported this effort by building the capacity of testing laboratories in ASEAN on ISO/IEC 17025 on laboratory testing and compliance competence. Technical staff from five testing laboratories attended the training courses at the Electrical and Electronics Institute of Thailand (August 2015). With the future increase in demand for more highly efficient ACs, it is critical to ensure that local AC manufacturers can compete. ASEAN SHINE therefore conducted training for AC manufacturers. Two software programmes were developed to assist AC manufacturers in the design of ACs with higher efficiency.


Harmonised Standard for All ASEAN Countries
ASEAN countries have agreed to adopt a single harmonised standard for the testing method related to the energy performance of ACs, based on the international standard ISO 5151:2010. This achievement was an important milestone not only for the project, but also for the ASEAN market integration. The new harmonised standard removes technical barriers to trade, reduces the cost of compliance for AC manufacturers/exporters and builds the foundation for ASEAN countries to have a coordinated approach to promote more highly efficient air conditioners. It also paves the way for the future harmonisation of standards for other electrical products.

Establishment of a Regional Policy Roadmap

The project facilitated ASEAN policymakers to work together to develop a regional policy roadmap for the promotion of more highly efficient air conditioners, adopted by AMEM in October 2015. This roadmap set aspirational goals for the region and serves as a basis to develop harmonised policies in ASEAN countries, sharing experience and best practice.

Direct Scaling up to Efficient Lighting

ASEAN SHINE proved to be effective in setting appropriate policy and regulatory mechanisms, and working with stakeholders throughout the value chain (testing labs, suppliers, consumers), and was duly recognised by the energy ministers (in a joint ministerial statement at the 34th ASEAN Energy Ministers Meeting/AMEM in September 2016) as a key programme to help ASEAN countries achieve their goals of promoting sustainable energy. ASEAN SHINE initiative also expanded its scope to include efficient lighting in early 2016, partnering with the en.lighten programme, which is implemented by UNEP and funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and Australian Government.