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Get insights on energy efficiency in China


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  • 9,571,302 km2
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Policy - Key Information

The Chinese government has given energy efficiency in buildings a high priority. Since the end of 1980s, the central government has formulated and enforced a set of Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) to regulate the energy consumption in buildings. At the same time, the government has also implemented a number of other instruments such as financial incentives (e.g., for energy management in large-scale commercial and public sector buildings), promotion of energy services for energy savings, competition and rewards (e.g. for green buildings ), demonstration projects (e.g. “Double Hundreds Projects” for low energy buildings ) etc.

During the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015) period, the Chinese government sets an ambitious target of saving 3.4 billion GJ through various measures, including a more stringent enforcement of MEPS, green buildings promotion, existing building retrofitting and a heat supply system reform, energy monitoring and management of public buildings, and the adoption of renewable energy use in buildings.

With regard to appliances, China has committed to increase the energy efficiency for several appliances through different measures. Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) were established in 1990 for refrigerators, air conditioners, clothes washers and other appliances. More than 20 mandatory standards now cover most residential and commercial appliances. In addition, the central government has also issued a set of other instruments, for example, voluntary and mandatory labelling schemes, financial incentives (e.g. offering grants for the purchase of energy saving refrigerators), public leadership (e.g. by obliging state agencies and organisations to purchase only energy-efficient appliances), etc.

The policy package in China

Title Status Description


  • Xia, Chun (Author)

References and further reading

  • Fridley, David; Zheng, Nina; Zhou, Nan; Aden, Nathaniel; Lin, Jiang (2008): China Refrigerator Information Label: Specification Development and Potential Impact; Ernest Orlando Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. February 2008. www.bigee.net/s/v14i2c 
  • State Council Office (2007): The circular of establishing institutions of obligatory government procurement of energy efficient products. www.bigee.net/s/bc1rzi
  • State Council (2012). 12th Five Year Plan of Energy Conservation and Emission Reduction. www.bigee.net/s/szi27y 
  • Zeng, Steven; Li, Jiayang; Eide, Anita (2011): Evaluation of the comparative information label in China: An analysis of impact of energy labelling on consumer awareness. eceee 2011 Summer Study.
  • Zhou, Nan (2010): Overview of current Energy efficiency policies in China, 2009. In: Energy Policy 38 (2010) www.bigee.net/s/da8qv8

Policies in China

The following policies in China can be considered as worldwide good practice examples (GPE):

Top Ten
Type: Provision of targeted information
European Union (EU), China, United States
Chinese National Improved Stove Programme
Type: Financial incentives
Regulations for Energy efficiency of building design and operation in new and refurbished buildings
Type: Minimum energy performance standards (MEPS)

Furthermore, bigEE presents here all relevant implemented policies (IP) in China:

Promotion of Energy Performance Contracting
Type: Promotion of energy services for energy savings
Existing Building Retrofit and Heat Metering Reform
Type: Policy roadmap and targets for Ultra-Low-Energy Buildings
Promotion of Energy-Efficient lighting
Type: Financial Incentives for ULEB and deep retrofits
Energy Efficiency Management for Large-scale commercial and public sector (LCP) buildings (especially government office buildings )
Type: Policy roadmap and targets for Ultra-Low-Energy Buildings
Double Hundred (Demonstration) Projects
Type: Provision of information
Green Building Label and Award Scheme
Type: Mandatory energy performance certificates & equipment labels
Building energy efficiency evaluation labelling scheme
Type: Mandatory energy performance certificates & equipment labels
China Energy Label
Type: Mandatory comparative labelling scheme
Subsidy program for energy conservation products
Type: Financial incentives

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