‘Top Runner Approach’ – Can it work here in the EU?

European regulators are currently considering, especially in the context of implementing the EU’s energy and climate change policy objectives endorsed by the European Council of March 2007, the applicability of a number of potential policy instruments in Europe, including the so-called “top runner approach*” which currently exists in Japan.

*The “Top runner approach” has been introduced in Japan in 1998 when revising the Japanese Energy Conservation Law and consecutive government ordinances. In summary, the Japanese Top Runner uses, as a base value, the value of the product with the highest energy efficiency on the market at the time of establishing standards for such products. Standard values are set taking into account potential technological improvements leading to better energy efficiency. The producer is allowed to conform to the standard by “average fleet”: all products should achieve this level of energy efficiency performance after a certain time frame. In case of non-compliance after expiry of the given transition period, firstly, the manufacturer of the product would be “advised” to ensure the product’s compliance in a “recommendation” issued to him by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI). If the non-compliance continues, the manufacturer will be challenged by a system of marking poor performing products and may potentially be penalised. If penalised, such sanctions would amount up to a maximum of 1 Mio. Yen, that is some 7400 Euro. Orgalime is not aware of any penalties issued to date. Compliant products may be labelled voluntarily under the top runner approach. Therefore, labelling can vary between products belonging to the same targeted product group.

14 October, 2007
Press release

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