• iCS - Climate and Society

PBE: new air conditioning classification

Updated: Jul 21

After many studies and effective work by iCS, the Kigali Project and partners, INMETRO has published Ordinance 234. This requires greater rigor in the classification of equipment rated as A, in addition to improving the methodology for the calculation of energy efficiency

On Wednesday, July 1, INMETRO published Ordinance 234, which has made the criteria more rigorous for the classification of equipment rated as A (with the lowest consumption of electric energy) from December 2022. It also changes the methodology for the calculation of energy efficiency to the partial load method and seasonal metrics.

The update is an achievement of civil society, especially for iCS, within the ambit of the Kigali Project, and some of its grantees, such as IDEC, IEI Brasil and Purpose. The partners were also fundamental, including Mitsidi Projetos, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and CLASP.

In this interview, Kamyla Borges, coordinator of the Energy Efficiency Initiative at iCS, explains a little more about the new regulations, the deadlines for the implementation and the next steps.

1. Kamyla, the new regulations that formalize the revision of the Brazilian Labeling Program (PBE) were published on July 1, and are a victory for the INMETRO, Kigali Project and its partners. What are the main advances?

Kamyla Borges: I would like to highlight two advances of Ordinance 234/2020 of INMETRO: it incorporates a new method to calculate energy efficiency that is more accurate, and it revises and updates the minimum efficiencies required for the classification of air conditioners in the classes of labeling of the INMETRO Brazilian Labeling Program.

The new INMETRO label will also display which refrigerant fluid is used in the air conditioner. At the public consultation about the regulations, we argued that this information should be given more clearly because nobody knows, for example, that R-410A fluid is a powerful greenhouse gas. However, it is already a small first step towards informing the consumer about the impact that the product being bought has on the environment and the climate.

2. How does the new ordinance make the classification criteria of an air conditioner rated A more rigorous?

Kamyla Borges: The ordinance establishes two phases for updating the efficiency ranges of the labeling. For example, for a split air conditioner to be classified as "A", the most efficient range, it will have to:

- from December 2022, obtain a minimum efficiency of 5.5 CSPF (Cooling Seasonal Performance Factor), which is 52% higher than currently required;

- from December 2025, have a minimum efficiency of 7.0 CSPF, which is 108% higher than today.

Of course, compared to countries like China, we could have advanced much more. However, in view of the Brazilian reality, it was a satisfactory victory.

3. Although the ordinance establishes two phases, companies can now adopt it immediately on a voluntary basis. What will the next two years be like?

Kamyla Borges: Yes, the INMETRO regulation allows manufacturers to adopt it immediately, on a voluntary basis. Many have already expressed the intention of adopting the new label later this year. Therefore, in the next 2 years, there will be 2 labels. This raises the importance of an extensive campaign to inform the consumer to look for the most up to date label.

4. One of the highlights is the adoption of methods of seasonal performance, understanding a little better the particularities of the climate in Brazil. How does this contribute to the final result of the analysis of the energy efficiency of the AC devices?

Kamyla Borges: The new method to calculate the energy efficiency of air conditioners is based on ISO 16358, and incorporates the fact that, in a country like Brazil, the climates between the regions and between the seasons vary significantly. In other words, this new method, known as "seasonal metrics", is more accurate and better informs the consumer about the specific performance of the equipment. In addition, this method is based on international best practices.

5. How did iCS, through the Kigali project and its grantees, work on these advances? What are the next steps?

Kamyla Borges: The Kigali Project acted directly in the dialogue with INMETRO, PROCEL and the industry. In addition, through the Kigali Project, iCS supported organizations that played a fundamental role in the discussion process of this ordinance. This is the case of IDEC, which played a leading role in pressurizing INMETRO to update the labeling. IEI Brasil actively participated in the technical discussions and supported the work of INMETRO with analyses and studies. Purpose was responsible for the Black Friday campaign. I also need to mention Mitsidi Projetos, which helped with data and technical information.

Other partners also made a difference, such as the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, which provided INMETRO with information about the seasonal metrics. CLASP brought all their international experience to the fore with labeling programs. Uma Gota no Oceano [A Drop in the Ocean] was instrumental in the support of strategic communication. A special mention must also be made to professors Suely Carvalho and Roberto Lamberts, who contributed with invaluable guidance and advice.

The work has not stopped. This entire group remains engaged so that we can see, by the end of the year, the Procel Seal and the minimum standards of energy efficiency for air conditioners also updated with international best practices.

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