Saudi Arabia: government join forces to implement Energy Efficiency Labels

May 20, 2021

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Through comprehensive use of energy efficiency standards and labels, Saudi Arabia aims to reduce demand for energy consumption over the next 20 years. The Saudi Energy Efficiency Center (SEEC), the entity responsible for the development of energy efficiency and conservation policies targeting all sectors, has formulated energy efficiency labels for air conditioners that have been in enforcement since last September on imported and locally manufactured and beginning of 2014 on units available in showrooms and outlets in the Saudi market.

(SEEC) was created by the Council of Ministers in October 2010, based on a Royal Decree and currently operating under the umbrella of King Abdul Aziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) - in partnership with UNDP as part of its capacity development activities – has teamed up with major players such as ministries and other governmental entities as well main energy companies such as Saudi Aramco, Saudi Electricity Company and the Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC), pooling resources, staff and expertise to provide particular services and solutions, resulting in reduced costs and better quality.

The UNDP Programme aims at supporting the Saudi Energy Efficiency Centre (SEEC) to achieve the Kingdom’s increasingly important goals for energy conservation. As Saudi Arabia continues to diversify its economy beyond oil exports, energy intensity of the economy has grown in key sectors like housing and buildings, consumer appliances, heavy industry, water and transport.

As of late, a major achievement of the policies formulated by (SEEC) and implemented by government entities has been the confiscation and destruction of more than 15,000 air-conditioners by The Ministry of Commerce and Industry. These air-conditioners did not have Energy Efficiency labels and were found in the warehouse of a local company. The Ministry’s inspectors started a crackdown campaign on businesses selling air-conditioners that do not meet the energy efficiency standards set by the Saudi Energy Efficiency Program at SEEC. The Ministry has been sending requests to companies that import air-conditioners urging them to disclose the stock with no energy efficiency labels or they will be confiscated.

This came following tours conducted by supervisory control teams during the last period on stores and warehouses to monitor violators who were given deadlines from the Ministry to disclose their stock. The process of destroying the violating air-conditioners is done according to technical methods staring with emptying them from (Chlorofluorocarbon) or (Freon) so as to preserve the environment and ensure that it is not evaporated in the air. Also, to not leave anything that would negatively impact the site or environment after the damage.

The Ministry of Commerce and Industry officials have confiscated more than 50,000 air-conditioners from stores that didn’t meet the country’s energy saving requirements since inspecting rounds started from the beginning of 2014 and will continue throughout the year. Violating air-conditioners that have been seized and destroyed were of different types, models and sizes. It is worth mentioning that the Ministry has begun their inspecting rounds after it carried out an awareness campaign that illustrated the goal of energy efficiency cards and why companies need to comply with the new regulations.

The rules demand commercial buildings to put an Energy Efficiency Labels on the air conditioners, with a star rating for its energy use. Different types of units can have different ratings, a minimum of four stars for split conditioners and three stars for “window type” conditioners. The energy efficiency campaign began on the 1st of January and on its first day 3,000 air-conditioners were confiscated, on the second day 10,000 and by the fourth the total reached 15,433 units.

Saudi Arabia’s total energy consumption per capita is more than 3 times higher than the world average, at 6.5 toe/capita in 2011 compared with the world average of 1.9 toe.

Saudi Arabia is expected to invest over SR330 billion in new projects in the power sector between now and 2020, increasing the Kingdom’s electricity generation capacity to 80 gigawatts in order to meet the country’s future needs.