Power to the people

Be energy efficient, make a difference

By Claire Marchand

On the one hand, energy efficiency is a new way of life that requires behavioural changes on the consumer’s part. On the other, the pressure is on the manufacturers of electrical equipment and devices to produce goods that consume as little energy as possible.

A restaurant decorated with LED lighting The use of LEDs in commercial buildings helps reduce energy consumption (Photo: LED RetroFit)

More appliances, less consumption

Consumers are more aware than ever of the necessity to be energy efficient. Since the beginning of the century, energy ratings have provided guidance to people, particularly when selecting new appliances or multimedia equipment.

The use of energy-saving compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and now LED lighting instead of incandescent bulbs has made a difference. Smart meters also help households monitor and make the best of their energy consumption, for example by choosing off-peak hours to do the laundry or the washing-up.

More than a label affixed on an appliance

In parallel with consumer education, huge progress has been made in recent years in the development and manufacture of appliances and equipment that consume much less energy than was the case when energy saving wasn’t a pressing issue. Today’s appliances often consume less than half of the electricity they would have used in the past, despite the new products’ many added features.

Major benefits for all

Improving the energy efficiency of household appliances and equipment saves money, reduces emissions and can also improve productivity. Many countries have developed, or are developing, strategies for energy savings and emissions reduction from appliances and are passing legislation to that effect.

Energy efficiency through IEC Standards...

Standards can serve as the basis for regulations and legislation in the energy efficiency field. The IEC has a whole catalogue of International Standards that deal not only with safety requirements for appliances and equipment, but also provide metrics and testing specifications to achieve optimum energy consumption.

Manufacturers of appliances and equipment for domestic use can rely on IEC International Standards to develop state-of-the-art products that meet the strictest safety and energy-efficiency requirements. Going a step further, they can rely on the IECEE, the IEC System of Conformity Assessment Schemes for Electrotechnical Equipment and Components, to have their products tested and certified.

...and certification

IECEE has been testing and certifying appliances and equipment for many years, focusing on product safety, quality and overall performance. A few years ago, IECEE also introduced a product category specific to energy efficiency.

IECEE has identified a number of IEC International Standards for a variety of appliances – from refrigerators, washing machines and tumble dryers to vacuum cleaners, irons, coffee makers, fans and microwave ovens, to name but a few – that serve as a basis for testing the products’ energy efficiency performance.

IEC International Standards and conformity assessment work are instrumental in promoting energy efficiency at all levels.


IECEE, the IEC System for Conformity Assessment Schemes for Electrotechnical Equipment and Components, is a multilateral certification system based on IEC International Standards. Its Members use the principle of mutual recognition (reciprocal acceptance) of test results to obtain certification or approval at national levels around the world.

The IECEE Schemes address the safety, quality, efficiency and overall performance of components, devices and equipment for homes, offices, workshops, health facilities among others. In all, IECEE covers 23 categories of electrical and electronic equipment and testing services.

CB Scheme

A CB Test Certificate is a global passport for products to be accepted in all IECEE member countries. It is so well known that global acceptance is a reality, even in countries that are not part of the IECEE community. “One test, one international certificate” opens the doors of the global market.

The IECEE CB Scheme provides the assurance that tested and certified products meet the strictest safety, reliability and performance in compliance with the relevant IEC International Standards. It helps reduce costs and time to market, eliminates duplicate or multiple testing and offers a high level of confidence for manufacturers, retailers and consumers alike.


The CB-FCS Scheme for Mutual Recognition of Conformity Assessment Certificates for Electrotechnical Equipment and Components is an extension of the IECEE CB Scheme in that it also includes an audit of the manufacturer’s quality system as well as factory surveillance/inspection visits. This is interesting for manufacturers who need to provide proof that products manufactured in a given factory offer a consistent level of quality over time.

More information: www.iecee.org

A restaurant decorated with LED lighting The use of LEDs in commercial buildings helps reduce energy consumption (Photo: LED RetroFit)
Smart meter Customers using smart meters are more in control of their energy usage (Photo: Centrica)
Ecofriendly appliance A great many appliances today have eco-friendly programmes