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Stores to Support Energy Campaign
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Home appliance retailers and suppliers have promised to promote sales of energy-efficient products and to highlight the country's energy-efficiency label system this summer.


Wang Ruohong, vice-director of the china energy label center under the China National Institute of Standardization, said yesterday that promoting energy-efficient home appliances had become an urgent task. He was speaking at a ceremony to launch the 2007 National Promotion Campaign of Energy-efficient Home Appliances.


Wang estimated that sales of air conditioners would hit 25 million units this year, bringing tremendous pressure to bear on the nation's already tight electricity supply.


Sixteen domestic and foreign-funded home appliance manufacturers, including Haier, Gree, Frestech and Emerson Climate Technologies, have joined together in a federation to promote energy-efficient products and the energy-efficiency label system, Wang said.


The authorities issued the Management Method of Energy Efficiency Label in August 2004. It took effect on March 1, 2005.


Under the regulation, the government draws up a list of products that have the potential to become more energy efficient.


Manufacturers of the products on the list must include an energy-efficiency label on their products' packaging. The label must also appear on their manuals.


The China Energy Label has five grades of energy efficiency.


Domestic refrigerators and air conditioners were the first two categories of products to meet the standards prescribed by the regulation.


Wang said the National Development and Reform Commission was planning to bring 20 categories of products under the system by 2010.


The categories include home appliances, industrial illumination products, automobiles and office buildings.


Statistics show that a combined 3.7 billion kilowatt-hours worth of electricity have been saved since the energy-efficiency label first appeared in 2005.


Wang predicted that if the use of the labels became common practice, the country would save 2,657 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity (an equivalent of 1.29 billion tons of standard coal) by 2020.


Sun Chengzhi, a manager of Suning Appliances, a leading retailer of home appliances and one of the sponsors of the campaign, said the company had adopted a series of measures to encourage people to buy energy-efficient home appliances at its chain stores this summer.


The measures include teaching people about the energy-efficiency labels, giving discounts to customers who buy energy-efficient appliances and awarding bonuses to clerks who do an exceptionally good job at selling energy-efficient products.


However, Sun said that the comparatively higher price of energy-efficient home appliances had become an obstacle to increasing their market share.


For example, the price of an energy-efficient air conditioner is about 800 yuan to 1,000 yuan (US$100-130) higher than a standard- one.


Sun said one of the campaign's goals is to increase the market share of energy-efficient air-conditioners to 40 percent of the overall air-conditioner market this year from last year's 30 percent.


"We have a lot of work to do to raise people's awareness of energy saving," Sun said.


Cong Haibo, general manger in charge of air conditioners at Guangdong Kelon Electrical Holdings Company's Beijing subsidiary, said the company had increased its investment in developing energy-efficient appliances in recent years.


"An energy-efficient air conditioner will save you more money in the long run, although it is more expensive when you buy it," Cong said.


(China Daily April 19, 2007)


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