Providing energy certification testing for the Energy Labeling Program
Energy standards and energy labeling are currently among the globally recognized strategies to promote the use of energy efficient household electrical products. At the helm of this very successful government program which has been going on since 1993 are the Department of Energy and the Department of Trade and Industry.
A very critical component of the energy standards and labeling program is the testing of product samples to verify claims on energy ratings such as energy consumption and energy efficiency.
Recognizing this, the DOE through the assistance of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) DOE has set up in the late 80's a Fuels and Appliance Testing Laboratory (FATL) which would serve as a neutral test house. FATL was later renamed to Lighting and Appliance Testing Laboratory or LATL. It is located at the University of the Philippines (Diliman) Commonwealth property, right beside the Philippine National Oil Company Energy Research and Development Center and within a few minutes of walking from the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute.
LATL, the first of its kind in the country and in the ASEAN region, was established through the assistance of many international donors, namely, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), GTZ, World Bank, USAID and Global Environment Facility.
LATL, at present, is capable of conducting energy performance tests on electrical household appliances such as room air conditioners and refrigerators and lighting products such as fluorescent lamps and ballasts. It has an in-house calibration laboratory which also provides services to the appliance and lighting industry. It is also capable of conducting tests on energy saving devices that applies to household electrical products.
Recognition Award. In 1999, the DOE-FATL and DTI-BPS Product Certification Group were among the government units conferred with the PAGASA Award. The concerned DOE-DTI team was cited by the Philippine Civil Service Commission for its dedication, commitment and hard work in the development and implementation of the energy-labeling program for room air conditioners. The impact of the Aircon program to the country in terms of energy savings as well as its being a model for the ASEAN countries were the major considerations for the award.
In June 2003, DOE receives its certificate of laboratory accreditation for testing compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) from the Bureau of Product Standards. This Accreditation, LATL has shown capability to meet ISO/IEC Standards of performance, competence, and professionalism in the testing of CFLs. This is a very significant development as it will boost the confidence in the services offered by the laboratory in testing the performance of lighting systems.
From the Philippine experience, the existence of a neutral testing laboratory, such as the LATL, is a major factor for the successful implementation of an energy standards and labeling program. For one, it is through a neutral testing laboratory that challenges among competing manufacturers and importers are satisfactorily resolved.
Consumer Empowerment through Energy Efficiency Standards and Labeling
Energy efficiency standards and labeling is about protecting consumer right to making an informed purchase decision. It is also about protecting consumers from buying appliances and equipment that use excessive electricity relative to other brands and models. It is about helping consumers cope up with the high cost of electricity by empowering them to choose the appliance model that provides the same amount of performance at a lower electricity consumption.
From 1993, the government has required all window type room air conditioners sold in the market to meet a certain level of energy efficiency in an effort to weed out inefficient units in the market. The government has also required this type of appliance to carry an energy label to help the energy conscious consumers choose the right size for their cooling needs as well as to choose the model that could provide lower electricity consumption.
Following the success of the aircon program, the energy labeling of the more popular sizes of refrigerators was put on stream toward the end of 1999.
In the year 2001, the government expanded the program to cover as well the split type of room air conditioner. During the same period, consultations with the concerned private sector have been held to pave the way for the implementation of energy standards and labeling for two lighting products namely, the fluorescent lamp ballast and the compact fluorescent lamps.
This initiative will directly benefit the masses, particularly the lower income group whose electricity bill is mainly due to lighting. Before the end of 2006, the consumers would be able to find ballast products in the market with labels indicating power consumption ratings. On the other hand, the compact fluorescent lamps would have labels showing the light output rating, the wattage rating, the efficacy and average life rating.
In general, energy efficiency standards and labeling provides significant benefits not only to the consumers but to the country as well. By requiring the manufacturers to declare the performance and energy consumption of their product, the government in effect, is encouraging the production of better quality products which helps the economy as it makes our local products more competitive in the open market. The program also has prevented the country from being a dumping ground for imported inefficient products. From the energy point of view, the energy savings generated from the use of the more energy efficient products translated to a potential savings equivalent as well as less importation of fuel products.
From the environment point of view, the program has significantly contributed to lower emissions/reduced pollution from the power generating plants as a result of lower electricity consumption.
LATL aims for Laboratory Competence
Throughout the world, many countries now rely on a process called Laboratory Accreditation as means of evaluating the competence of laboratories to perform specific types of testing, measurement and calibration. In the Philippines, the government agency mandated to carry out this task is the Department of Trade and Industry through its Bureau of Product Standards Laboratory Accreditation Scheme (BPS-LAS).
Laboratory accreditation uses a protocol to determine technical competence. The criteria and procedures are based on an international standard called ISO/IEC 17025 (formerly known as Guide 25) which is used in evaluating laboratories. Laboratory accreditation bodies use this standard specifically to assess factors relevant to a laboratory’s ability to produce precise, accurate test and calibration data, including the following;
- technical competency of staff
- validity and appropriateness of test methods
- traceability of measurements and calibration to national standards
- suitability, calibration and maintenance of test equipment
- testing environment
- sampling, handling and transportation of test items
- quality assurance of test and calibration data