China's top economic planner said Wednesday it would ban sales of energy-wasting air conditioners from June 1 by raising the market threshold based on their energy efficiency.
New standards will evaluate each model according to their coefficient of performance (COP), the efficiency ratio of the amount of heating or cooling provided by a heating or cooling unit to the energy consumed by the system. The higher the COP, the more efficient the system.
For air conditioners with a rated power output of up to 4.5 kilowatts, the most common model for household use, the lowest COP for market entry would be raised to 3.2 from the current 2.6, said the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) in a statement on its website.
The standards vary in accordance with an air conditioner's rated power output. The statement said the average COP level would be raised by 23 percent with the advent of the new standards.
The new system divides air conditioners into three categories with the lowest COP requirement being 3.0, the threshold for market entry. Currently, there are five categories with 2.6 being the lowest, and the top three categories with a COP level of at least 3.0 are deemed energy efficient, compared with the 3.4 level in the new system.
China is the world's biggest producer and market for air conditioners, which consume 100 billion kilowatt hours of electricity each year, and more than a third of the total power used in the peak summer time, according to the statement.
The new standards would result in 3.3 billion kilowatt hours of electricity saved each year, said the NDRC.
At present, more than half of air conditioners in the Chinese market are deemed energy efficient, which the NDRC attributed to government efforts to promote energy efficient home appliances through subsidies.
The NDRC said major producers in China already had the ability to make air conditioners in accordance with the new standards.
The standards were formulated by the NDRC in cooperation with China's quality control and standardization authorities as well as major home appliance producers.
A report, jointly released Wednesday by the China Electronic Chamber of Commerce (CECC) and China's biggest home appliance retailer, Gome Electrical Appliances, said sales of air conditioners in China were expected to reach 35 million units in 2010, fueled by the nation's home sales surge last year.
China sold a total of 937 million square meters of homes in 2009, up 42.1 percent year on year, which would boost air conditioner demand by 8.56 million units, according to the report.
It said energy-efficient air conditioners would become the mainstream in the market as a result of the government's moves to promote energy efficiency.