The International Energy Agency’s Implementing Agreement on Energy Efficient End-Use Equipment (4E for short) was set up in 2007 to help governments to design policies to promote manufacturing and trade in energy efficient products. Current members of 4E are: Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, France, Japan, Korea, Netherlands, Switzerland, Sweden, UK and USA.
This body has recently published Achievements of appliance energy efficiency standards and labelling programs, which concludes that evidence from around the world shows that the energy efficiency of major appliances in countries with such standards and programmes is more than treble that which would have been expected from technological improvement alone. These improvements are matched by energy savings and reductions in emissions of CO2.
They also conclude that appliances covered by such schemes are cheaper, arguing that this means that such programmes do not add to costs since manufacturers are able to find new and cheaper ways to improve efficiency and achieve cost reductions. They also state that such legislation encourages innovation, expands markets and creates employment as well as improving air quality and reducing health care costs.
They are even blasé about the rebound effect (where improved energy efficiency encourages people to use more energy), suggesting that this is mainly seen in heating and cooling for low-income households, so it is actually a desirable outcome.
What 4E fail to mention is that if this is such a win-win situation for all then why are the EU countries in this group supporting proposals on the circular economy to extend product lifetimes and so militate against improved energy efficiency?