Public Consultation on Introduction of Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) and Mandatory Energy Labelling Scheme (MELS) for Variable Refrigerant Flow Air-conditioners

National Environment Agency

National Environment Agency - Resource Conservation Department

Consultation Period: 20 Aug 2019 - 10 Sep 2019
Status: Closed
Detailed Description


The National Environment Agency (NEA) of Singapore is seeking feedback on the introduction of Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) and Mandatory Energy Labelling Scheme (MELS) for Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) air-conditioners. The consultation exercise will start on 20 August 2019 and end on 10 September 2019.


2 Singapore ratified the Paris Agreement and formalised our pledge to reduce our emissions intensity1 by 36% from 2005 levels by 2030, and stabilise our greenhouse gas emissions with the aim of peaking around 2030. Improving energy efficiency across all sectors is our key strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

3 Air-conditioners are energy intensive equipment that are commonly used for space-cooling. To improve the energy efficiency of the household sector, the NEA introduced MELS in 2008 for residential air-conditioners to encourage consumers to choose more energy efficient models. The energy label highlights the relative energy efficiency performance of an air-conditioner, with more ticks indicating higher efficiency. MEPS were subsequently implemented in 2011 to raise the average energy efficiency of air-conditioners in the market. Only models that meet the minimum energy efficiency standards are allowed for sale. This protects consumers from being locked into the high energy costs associated with energy inefficient air-conditioners. MELS and MEPS have helped improve the energy efficiency of air-conditioners sold in Singapore by 28%.

Rationale for the Proposed Introduction of MEPS and MELS for VRF Air-conditioners

4 Building on the success of MELS and MEPS for residential air-conditioners, NEA proposes to extend MELS and MEPS to VRF air-conditioners that are more commonly used in small to medium size buildings used for commercial and industrial applications, as well as landed residences. The energy cost savings from operating a more energy efficient VRF air-conditioner will be more than able to off-set the higher upfront cost of the equipment 

5 The introduction of MELS and MEPS for VRF air-conditioner is aimed at catalysing market transformation towards more efficient models. 

Details of Proposed MEPS and MELS

6 The proposed MEPS and MELS will cover 3-phase VRF air-conditioners of all cooling capacities. When this proposal is adopted, VRF air-conditioners would be required to:

a) Be registered; 

b) Meet MEPS, and

c) Be labelled with an Energy Label

7 VRF air-conditioners would be rated based on the Integrated Energy Efficiency Ratio2 (IEER) to take into consideration of VRF air-conditioner’s part-load performance. MEPS level for VRF air-conditioners is proposed at IEER 4.35

8 VRF air-conditioners would be rated 1-tick to 5-tick, with 5-tick being the most efficient. The energy label and proposed rating system for VRF air-conditioners are shown in Diagram 1 and Table 1 respectively at Annex 1.

Registration and Testing 

9 VRF air-conditioners must be tested based on international test standard, International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) 150423, with test condition T14 and minimally together with 2 cassette type indoor units. Suppliers of VRF air-conditioners must register their products with NEA and produce test reports to demonstrate compliance. Test reports from the following categories of testing laboratories will be accepted:

a) Manufacturers’ in-house testing laboratories;

b) Testing laboratories that are accredited by the Singapore Accreditation Council (SAC) to carry out the test in accordance with the applicable test standards; or

c) Testing laboratories in other countries that are accredited by their local accreditation bodies that have signed a Mutual Recognition Arrangement with SAC to carry out the test in accordance with the applicable test standards.

Verification Testing

10 NEA will from time to time carry out verification testing on registered models to ensure compliance with the MEPS and MELS requirements. All verification testing will be carried out in accordance with the applicable test standards.


11 The proposed MEPS and MELS set out in Paragraphs 6 to 8, if adopted, would take effect from Q4 2020. VRF air-conditioner suppliers which are affected by the proposed MEPS will be given a 1-year grace period to clear existing stocks of VRFs that do not meet the MEPS level.

Future Plans

12 NEA will review the MEPS and MELS for VRF air-conditioners regularly to keep pace with technological improvements. 

Public Consultation

13 This proposal is released for the purpose of consultation. All comments received during the consultation exercise will be reviewed thoroughly and may be incorporated into the final measure. Interested parties can submit their feedback to The consultation exercise will end on 10 September 2019.

14 To ensure that the consultation is productive and focused, respondents are requested to observe these guidelines when providing their feedback:

a) Identify yourself as well as the organisation you represent (if any) so that we may follow up with you to clarify any issues, if necessary

b) Be clear and concise in your comments

c) Focus your comments on the proposal to introduce MEPS and MELS for VRF air-conditioners and how it can be improved

d) As far as possible, substantiate your points with illustrations, examples, data or alternative suggestions

1Emissions intensity refers to greenhouse gas emissions per dollar of GDP, measured in CO2-equivalent per $.

2Based on the Air-Conditioning, Heating Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) Standard 1230, IEER is defined as (0.020*EER 100%) + (0.617*EER 75%) + (0.238*EER 50%) + (0.125*EER 25%), where Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) is defined as ratio of cooling capacity to effective power consumption at a given set of rating conditions.

3ISO 15042: Multiple split-system air conditioners and air to air heat pumps – testing and rating for performance

4T1: Standard cooling capacity rating conditions for moderate climates