In-depth and cutting-edge analysis articles written by Bloomberg BNA's Bureau of Environmental News and outside authors on developments related to clean energy and climate change policy and law.

December 29, 2008


Canada Amends Energy Efficiency Rules to Set New Standards, Strengthen Existing Requirements

OTTAWA Natural Resources Canada Dec. 24 published finalized amendments to the Energy Efficiency Regulations to strengthen existing standards and to set minimum standards for additional products.

The amendments introduce new minimum energy performance standards, together with associated reporting and compliance requirements, effective Jan. 1, 2010, for residential wine chillers, commercial clothes washers, floor lamps, ceiling fan lighting modules, traffic and pedestrian signals, and commercial and industrial gas unit heaters.

New efficiency standards for general service lamps take effect Dec. 31, 2012, implementing a 2007 announcement by the Canadian government that it would phase out the use of inefficient incandescent light bulbs by 2012, the department said. The standards for general service lighting will eliminate most common incandescent, A-shaped bulbs by 2012, and will reduce the energy consumed by a typical light bulb by about 30 percent, it said.

In addition, the amendments raise existing minimum energy performance standards for residential gas furnaces, residential dehumidifiers, residential dishwashers, and commercial ice makers. They also will impose new requirements for consumer energy performance labeling for general service lamps, general service incandescent reflector lamps, and compact fluorescent lamps.

Reduced Emissions.

The new and updated standards are expected to reduce annual emissions of a range of air pollutants, including reductions of up to 3,446 metric tons (3,799 tons) of sulfur dioxide, up to 1,002 metric tons (1,105 tons) of nitrogen oxides, and up to 1,155 metric tons (1,273 tons) of particulate matter, Natural Resources Canada said.

When fully implemented, the amendments will reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions by 1.4 million to 1.6 million metric tons, the government said. The total reduction in greenhouse gas emissions attributable to energy efficiency standards implemented since 1995 are expected to reach 25.6 million metric tons (28.2 million tons) per year by 2010, it said.

The changes will contribute to efforts under the Clean Air Regulatory Agenda to meet Canada's Kyoto Protocol target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 6 percent from 1990 levels by the end of 2012, the Natural Resources department said in a regulatory impact analysis statement published with the finalized regulations in the Dec. 24, 2008, issue of the Canada Gazette, Part II.

Standards Harmonized With U.S. Norms.

The updated regulations also better harmonize Canada's energy efficiency standards with those in other jurisdictions, particularly the United States, the government said. They respond to recent standards activities in the United States, including the Energy Policy Act of 2005, the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, and the California Code of Regulations, Title 20: Appliance Efficiency Regulations, the department said.

The minimum energy performance standards for general service lighting are largely harmonized in terms of scope and exclusions with those that come into effect in the United States starting in 2012. The implementation of the [standards] will be harmonized with the proposed timing for California, which is one year in advance of the Energy Independence and Security Act, it said.

While there is a difference in the structure of the standard, Natural Resources Canada's evaluation is that, for the typical light output of lamps currently on the market, the efficacy levels adopted in the United States are equivalent to those in the [Energy Efficiency] Regulations.

Changes From Draft Version.

Natural Resources Canada said the finalized amendments include some changes made in response to comments received after the amendments were published in draft form in the March 29, 2008, issue of the Canada Gazette, Part I.

In several areas, including standards for general service lighting and the new labeling requirements, the regulatory amendments were adjusted to harmonize better with requirements in the United States, it said.

The 75-day comment period that ended June 13, 2008, generated 30 submissions from a total of 26 interested parties, including manufacturers, installers/contractors, designers, industry associations, testing laboratories, certification bodies, utilities, provinces, and the Chinese government, the department said in the regulatory impact analysis statement.

Regulatory changes were deemed necessary because voluntary measures related to the energy efficiency of products in the Canadian marketplace do not guarantee cooperation from all industry participants, particularly regarding imported products, the department said.

Formal Review Requested.

The department noted that it has proposed a formal evaluation, starting in 2009 and continuing into 2010, of Canada's energy efficiency standards and labeling program. The evaluation will likely focus on the program's effects to date to determine the relevance and cost effectiveness of energy efficiency standards and labeling.

The key question is: To what extent were the standards successful in transforming equipment markets such that more energy efficient equipment was introduced faster than would have been likely without the standards? More specific questions would include the following: To what extent were the impacts incremental to normal market improvement? To what extent was the standards development process transparent and inclusive? With respect to labeling and the lamp labeling provisions of these regulations, to what extent has the awareness of Canadians changed regarding the environmental/energy implications of energy efficiency? the government said.