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Adopting smart energy efficiency policies is an essential strategy for achieving a sustainable future. Scaled up globally, energy efficiency would cost about US$0.02–US$0.05 per kilowatt-hour saved, a fraction of the cost of clean energy from other sources. Appliance and equipment efficiency has enormous potential to reduce energy demand and carbon emissions while lowering energy costs for consumers, businesses, and institutions.

The Super-Efficient Equipment and Appliance Deployment (SEAD) initiative of the Clean Energy Ministerial and the International Partnership for Energy Efficiency Cooperation aim to make it easier for governments and the private sector to capitalize on these opportunities.

Employing current best practices in economies that are participating in SEAD can, by 2030, reduce annual electricity demand by 2,000 terawatt-hours (as much energy as is produced by 650 mid-sized coal-fired power plants) and annual fuel energy demand by 30 million tonnes of oil equivalent. These measures would decrease carbon dioxide emissions by 11 billion metric tons over the next two decades.

Key Accomplishments

As a direct result of cooperative work through the SEAD initiative, Korea and India have either adopted or proposed 13 standards and policies to advance the energy efficiency of lighting, televisions, and ceiling fans.


SEAD partners are working to create a common technical foundation to allow governments to more easily adopt cost-effective appliance efficiency policies and programs. Broader market transformation efforts—including incentives, awards, and procurement programs—seek to further accelerate the global pace of progress for energy-efficient equipment and appliances.

For more information, view the SEAD activities page or fact sheet, or visit

Key Activities

The Super-Efficient Equipment and Appliance Deployment (SEAD) initiative fosters collaboration among its participating governments to strengthen their standards and labeling programs to more quickly keep pace with technology, and to work together on incentives, prizes, and procurement programs that can spur the development of super-efficient devices.

Through its activities, SEAD aims to:

  • Increase partner participation and engagement by providing the knowledge and tools needed to help impact standards and labeling, procurement, and incentives policy change
  • Highlight the benefits and urgency of energy-efficient equipment and appliance policies among participating governments through technical analysis
  • Increase awareness among manufacturers of the value of producing super-efficient appliances and among retailers of the value of stocking such appliances through regional and global awards competitions

Current SEAD activities include the following:

  • Through its AC strategy, SEAD is developing and sharing knowledge and tools to address rapidly growing electricity demand from air conditioners. In India, China, and Brazil alone, electricity demand to power room air conditioners is expected to reach more than 500 terawatt-hours (TWh) per year by 2020. Adoption of efficient and demand-response-ready space cooling is needed to effectively reduce the impact of large-scale peak electricity demand.
  • SEAD is launching a webinar series to convene experts and interested stakeholders to dive deeper on key energy efficiency procurement program best practices in program design, implementation, and evaluation.
  • The fourth round of the SEAD Global Efficiency Medal competition for highly efficient lighting products is underway. Electricity for lighting accounts for about 15% of world electricity consumption. According to the International Energy Agency, the total energy consumed each year by all lighting sources is responsible for 1,900 megatonnes of carbon dioxide emissions—equivalent to 70% of the emissions produced by light passenger vehicles worldwide.
  • Through the SEAD Global Efficiency Medal competitions, super-efficient products are being showcased to increase market share and influence consumer purchasing decisions.
    • The first round of the competition recognized the world’s most energy-efficient televisions. Winning products are 33% to 44% more efficient than TVs with similar technology.
    • The second round of the competition recognized energy-efficient computer displays. Samsung and LG received awards at the fifth Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM5) for manufacturing the world’s most efficient computer monitors, which are 28% to 43% more efficient than comparable monitors.
    • The third round of the competition, for energy-efficient electric motors, will announce winners in October 2014. Motors are ubiquitous in products and equipment, from small kitchen appliances to large industrial systems, and account for a staggering 45% of world electricity consumption.
  • Energy-efficient street lighting is gaining ground in municipalities in Canada, India, and Mexico. 
    • Mexico hosted a workshop for stakeholders that included training on a customized SEAD Street Lighting Tool as part of a national public lighting program. SEAD delivered a training workshop in Canada to facilitate the potential acquisition of more than 100,000 quality and affordable light-emitting diode (LED) street lighting products, and it supported workshops in India on energy-efficient street lighting.
  • SEAD is working with participating governments to develop resources to support effective policies.
    • Altogether in Korea and India, 13 standards or policies that directly advance the energy efficiency of lighting, televisions, and ceiling fans have either been adopted or proposed as a direct result of SEAD recommendations.
    • Mexico is using SEAD analysis to show how the transition to digital TVs can save energy and reduce costs for consumers and the government, as well as to assess the national energy and cost savings realized to date by Mexico’s appliance standards program.
    • SEAD governments are advancing the principle of “test once, sell globally” by engaging with international standardization bodies to encourage the development of regulator-ready standards.
    • SEAD studies showed a large cost-effective savings potential (more than 30%) for room air conditioners, ceiling fans, and displays. These studies have informed SEAD award competitions and other efficiency policies.
    • SEAD is also providing technical assistance to support standards development worldwide, based on the experiences of SEAD governments, including in West Africa, Kenya, the Philippines, Brunei, and Chile.
  • SEAD partners with The Clean Energy Solutions Center to support appliance efficiency programs by providing no-cost expert assistance to help governments design and adopt tailored policies and programs.
Policy opportunities
  • Technical analysis: Raising the efficiency of new equipment sold in Super-Efficient Equipment and Appliance Deployment (SEAD) initiative economies to that of the world's most efficient current standards, and sustaining progress thereafter, could by 2030 save as much as 1,800 terawatt-hours per year of electricity (as much as would be produced by six hundred 500-megawatt power plants) and 21 exajoules per year of primary energy (equivalent to the energy in 3 billion barrels of oil). The appliance efficiency rulemaking regulations SEAD partners put in development between January 2010 and April 2011 alone could achieve nearly 10 percent of these potential electricity savings and about 15 percent of these potential primary energy and financial savings.
  • Standards and labels: Mandatory standards programs remove inefficient appliances and equipment from the market, while labeling programs empower consumers to make informed decisions about products they purchase—saving both energy and consumer dollars. SEAD partners are committed to working collaboratively and independently to accelerate and expand their standards and labeling programs.
  • Awards: Global energy efficiency awards to identify the best-in-class models within consumer product categories (such as televisions, motors, or computer monitors) highlight energy efficiency features in products and can help bring high-efficiency technology to the market sooner. Manufacturers compete to put their best technology forward to win a prize and the rights to the marketing benefits.
  • Procurement: Many countries have policies in place to support government procurement of highly efficient equipment and appliances, but encounter barriers to compliance with these policies. Other countries have procurement guidelines that include low-cost or local-content criteria, but lack energy efficiency standards. Overcoming these barriers requires putting better information and tools in the hands of the officials making procurement decisions and overseeing those programs. Like governments, private companies purchase large quantities of energy-consuming devices and benefit from procurement policies that minimize life-cycle energy costs. Both public and private procurement has potential to generate market-transforming demand for emerging high-efficiency products.
  • Incentives: Many utilities and governments provide financial incentives to consumers and manufacturers in order to promote the purchase of highly efficient appliances. SEAD is exploring ways to provide technical support for the development of such incentive programs and to magnify their impact through international coordination.
Fact Sheet
Participating countries
European Commission
European Commission