Ghana is operating a Mandatory Appliance Standards and Labelling regime under which importers and retailers of Room Air Conditioners and Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFL) are required to import and sell ONLY products that meet minimum efficiency and performance standards approved by the Ghana Standards Board.
The Energy Efficiency Standards and Labels Programme is designed to ensure that only appliances that meet minimum energy efficiency standards enter the Ghanaian market. In accordance with the provisions of the Energy Efficiency Standards and Labelling (Non-ducted Air Conditioners and Self Ballasted Fluorescent Lamps)Regulations, 2005 (LI1815) appliance manufacturers who export to Ghana and retailers who sell in Ghana are obliged to display a label which indicates the energy efficiency rating of the product before the first retail sale.
It is an offence under LI1815 to import, display for sale or sell Air Conditioners and Compact Fluorescent Lamps in Ghana unless they meet the minimum performance standards and are properly labelled.
Air Conditioner Standards
Room Air Conditioners are high energy consuming appliances. They usually last for 10 – 15 years and cost the consumer much more in electricity than the purchase price of the appliance. Because of this it is more useful to consider the Life Cycle cost of appliances before making purchase decisions.
The Life Cycle Cost of an appliance is the Purchase Price plus the cost of operation and maintenance throughout the useful life of the appliance. Many consumers in Ghana, purchase air conditioners and other high energy consuming appliances, without considering the cost of use of the appliance. Many manufacturers export products which are substandard to Ghana and many Ghanaian consumers patronize them without an idea of how much it will cost them to operate the appliances.
The minimum energy efficiency standard for air conditioners to be acceptable in Ghana is an Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) of 2.8 watts of cooling per watt of electricity input. This is equivalent to 9.55BTU/Watt. (The imperial unit measure of energy efficiency used in the United States and Canada). Air Conditioners with EER of 3.5 and above are available on the market.
The higher the EER the more efficient the product. The Energy Guide label affixed to the product provides important information on the model, manufacturer, and energy efficiency star rating (a one-star to five –star energy efficiency rating in which the ascending number of stars represents a higher energy efficiency ratio), estimated annual energy consumption, cooling output and type of refrigerant.
Consumers are advised to purchase ONLY labelled Air Conditioners and must look out for units with higher Energy Efficiency Ratios as they are more energy efficient and cost less to operate.
Compact Flourescent Lamps (CFL)
In April 2003 the Government of Ghana removed import duties and VAT on Compact Fluorescent Lamps, commonly called Energy Saving Lamps to make them affordable to the general public as a measure to save energy and reduce electricity cost paid by consumers. To further protect consumers against fake, sub-standard and unreliable Compact Fluorescent Lamps, some of which have found their way onto the Ghanaian market, the Energy Foundation, the Energy Commission and the Ghana Standard Board have also introduced a Performance and Efficiency Standard for Compact.
Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs)
Under the new standard, CFLs should have a minimum service life of 6,000 hours. The lamps should also have a minimum efficacy of 33 lumens per watt. This means the lamp should provide a minimum of 33 lumens of light per each watt of electricity consumed. The Energy Guide label also provides the consumer with information on the lamp’s wattage, average rated life in hours, and an estimate of the lamp’s energy consumption for a year, as well as the lamp’s energy efficiency star rating.
What Consumers must know
- Remember the more stars on the label the more energy efficient the product.
- Always look for the Efficiency Label.
- If a product is not labeled, it is probably not good.
Ghanaian consumers now have the information to make a well informed and energy efficient decision when buying Air conditioners and CFLs.