Former US president Ronald Reagan liked to use the above phrase when describing his philosophy on international arms control. It also had relevance in the recent “Saving More Energy Through Compliance” conference organized by the International Energy Association’s Efficient End-use Electrical Equipment (4E) group. The 3-day meeting in London was focused on monitoring, verification, and enforcement (MVE) of energy efficiency programs and was attended by well over 100 interested stakeholders (including Mr. Green) from all parts of the world.
Surprisingly, MVE hasn’t been discussed much in the many product stakeholder meetings that I’ve attended over the years. It always seemed to be part of the product’s energy efficiency program that was covered at some later date and place. But recent non-compliance product exposés have changed all that (see Mr. Green’s Blog: Stealing the Star) and the heat is now on some agencies to tighten up (and in some cases, begin defining) MVE procedures, including changing from self-certification to requiring independent testing for initial acceptance (some agencies have required this from the beginning), monitoring product performance over time, random product verification testing, and enforcement with sharp penalties.
For proof of this, one needs only to look at actions taken last week by the US Department of Energy (DoE). The DoE announced 27 new proposed penalties against companies that are selling products in the US without certifying that they comply with energy efficiency or conservation standards. Companies affected in the DoE’s action include General Electric, Daewoo, and Sanyo. Additionally, over the past year, the Department’s appliance standards enforcement efforts have removed 66 products from the market that failed to meet federal energy efficiency standards and initiated 75 enforcement investigations and actions.
So, this conference was very timely, and in some cases overdue. Key action items included developing a way to share product test and verification information among worldwide agencies and harmonizing test methods and efficiency program vocabulary.
Mandatory efficiency programs have always been touted as a way to “level the playing field” for product manufacturers. But without verification, it’s easy for a company to sell an inferior, energy-wasting product with energy efficiency claims, hurting other compliant manufacturers and ultimately, the consumer.
For a copy of the DoE’s enforcement effort release, go to: http://www.energy.gov/news/9483.htm