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Review of labeling and adoption of national metric program

INMETRO opens public consultation for ordinance text that reviews and improves the requirements for conformity assessment of air conditioners. Contributions must be submitted in 60 days

Por Felipe Lobo

INMETRO submitted to public consultation the proposal to review and partially improve the Requirements for Conformity Assessment of Air Conditioners, with the establishment of the Seasonal Cooling Performance Index (IDRS) and the determination of other requirements to be fulfilled by the products sold in the domestic market. There are a total of 60 days to send suggestions and critiques relating to the proposed text. Article 3 of the preliminary wording defines that, as of June 30, 2022, “local manufacturers and importers must manufacture or import, for the national market, only air conditioners in accordance with the provisions contained in this Ordinance”. Click here for more.

Kamyla Borges, the coordinator of the energy efficiency initiative at Instituto Clima e Sociedade (iCS), explains a little more about the public consultation, the benefits of the review and the importance of more ambitious goals.

Kamyla, what does INMETRO's proposed review mean, and what can we expect in terms of changes/suggestions during the public consultation? Is there any urgent demand for the sector that was left out?

Kamyla: The proposal submitted to public consultation by INMETRO addresses two important points: the first is the adoption of ISO 16358, which establishes the seasonal methodology for measuring energy efficiency. This change is very positive because this new method allows a more accurate measurement of the performance of air conditioners and, with this, allows a better differentiation between the most efficient and the least efficient options. Consumers will have access to better information and, therefore, will be better equipped to make informed purchase decisions.

The second important point of the proposal is the reclassification of the efficiency classes, which will be done in two stages: the first, in 2022, and another in 2025. These stages are positive because they give industry time to adapt. On the other hand, the proposed energy efficiency levels, especially for the first stage, could be a little more ambitious, not only because the Brazilian market is already able to supply more efficient equipment, but also because they fell short of the best international practices.

2. How important is this result for energy policies in Brazil and how does iCS evaluate such result in the context of the work carried out in recent years?

Kamyla: Even though there is room for improvement, the proposal submitted to public consultation leads to an efficiency gain, mainly because, in Brazil, the consumer is attentive to labeling and, in general, seeks to buy products classified as “A” or “B”, which are the most efficient options. If implemented, this proposal will mean a 63% improvement in minimum efficiency for class A in 2022 and 108% in 2025, when compared to today. Estimates made by IEI Brasil, with the support of Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, show that the adoption of this proposal could result in energy savings of 4.8 GW by 2035, which would correspond to about 5 new natural gas thermoelectric plants of the same size as UTE Santa Cruz, located in Rio de Janeiro.

An important point of this change is that INMETRO's labeling is widely used as a reference for public and corporate purchases. In other words, the new labeling will send a powerful signal to the industry, accelerating transformation in the Brazilian market.

3. How do you see the Brazilian path of energy transition and efficiency? Does the proposal in question contribute in any way to this process?

Kamyla: In Brazil, energy efficiency in general is still not seen by most stakeholders as a priority measure for the energy transition. And in fact, it should be the other way around, especially when we keep in mind the associated economic and productivity benefits. The Kigali project's focus on air conditioning intends to show a successful case, since, ultimately, what the project is doing is transforming an entire market and, thus, ensuring improvements for the consumer and the climate. Another important point is that air conditioning has become the item responsible for most electricity consumption in buildings, and, according to EPE, it is the building sector that weighs the most in the country's electrical demand (consuming 51% of the total electricity generated). At the end of the day, we are promoting concrete measures to reduce electricity demand.

4. How does this result reflect the joint efforts of the organizations that are part of the Kigali Network?

Kamyla: The coordination of the Kigali Project by iCS allowed the construction and strengthening of a network of organizations that work in energy efficiency and dominate the theme of the Kigali Amendment (and its role in mitigating GHG emissions). Today, the project supports IDEC, IEI, PURPOSE and Instituto Escolhas, in addition to the ABC Federal University. The project has also enabled the training of Mitsidi Projetos and specialists in the field.

The Kigali Network has played and continues to play an important role in the progress made with the revision of energy efficiency policies. In the meetings convened by INMETRO, we were the only group to present grounded and technically consistent justifications in favor of advancing energy efficiency, we have had flexibility and agility to participate in public consultation processes and to apply pressure when necessary. In November, we launched a consumer engagement campaign that took advantage of Black Friday, which was very successful. The strong point of the network is that all of its actions are based on a proactive stance, pointing out the issues that require improvement and, at the same time, offering concrete alternatives for solutions. Consider, for example, the case of the Black Friday campaign, at the same time that we urged INMETRO to revise labeling, we had the ranking of the most efficient equipment, prepared by IDEC, and that was an excellent call for the consumer at that time.

5. What can we do in terms of individual and collective engagement to achieve more advanced results in energy efficiency policies? What impact does this issue have on Brazilian society?

Kamyla: We need to change the way we view energy efficiency – it needs to go from merely a perspective of cost to the understanding that it actually represents an asset and generates savings and resources. And that needs to change at the level of the final consumer, who needs to be better informed about the savings that more efficient equipment can generate, all the way up to the business level. One alternative to achieve this goal is to foster new business models in energy efficiency.

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