Reliable energy performance test procedures and test facilities are the foundation of successful standards-setting and labeling initiatives.
Countries ensure the integrity of their appliance energy efficiency policies in the marketplace by establishing testing and compliance regimes – reliable systems for accurately measuring and reporting the energy performance of the equipment covered by labels or standards.
CLASP supports countries and testing facilities in energy efficiency testing and compliance by providing technical assistance for the development and revision of test procedures; helping to establish and improve test facilities; supporting the improvement of testing practices and compliance; and supporting the comparability of test procedures regionally or globally.
Elements of successful testing and compliance regimes include test procedures, compliance, enforcement, and sometimes test procedure comparability.
Developing and Revising Test Procedures
Test procedures describe how to measure the energy use of a product, providing an accurate and consistent comparison of energy use among different manufacturers' products. Effective test procedures are characterized by the reflection of typical usage conditions; the repeatability, reproducibility and accuracy of their results; and relative affordability.
Benefits of adopting existing test procedures include a minimal up-front investment; reduced need for high-level technical capacity or access to accredited testing facilities; and knowing the accuracy, benefits, complications, and risks involved.
Improving Testing Practices and Compliance
Countries and manufacturers improve testing practices and compliance by providing support and developing best practices for round robin and check testing. These methods can be applied broadly to industry and independent third-party facilities.
Round robin testing ensures that test facilities are accurately implementing all required test procedures, and therefore providing consistent results. In round robin testing, several facilities test the same sample product and compare results. The conclusions of these tests can identify adjustments a facility must make in its procedures, equipment, or test procedure interpretation to comply with relevant protocols.
Check testing is an audit method to ensure that manufacturers are accurately conveying the energy performance of their products. To perform check testing, a sample of products is taken from a factory or store for independent third-party testing. In some countries, non-compliance can result in financial penalties or legal orders to cease production of the product until reported energy performance is corrected.
Check testing is an important method for identifying incidents of marketplace non-compliance. In the long term, marketplace non-compliance with standards-setting and labeling requirements causes weakened S&L initiatives and lowered energy savings.
Test Procedure Comparability
Test procedure comparability describes the ability to convert among test procedures and resulting energy performance levels across economies. Comparability enables S&L policymakers to better understand how the energy performance levels of national policies compare to similar policies worldwide, which can lead to more stringent policies due to a follow-the-leader effect.
For more information on S&L compliance, read Compliance Counts: A Practitioner's Guidebook on Best Practice Monitoring, Verification, and Enforcement for Appliance Standards & Labeling.