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What Is the SEAD Initiative?

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The Super-efficient Equipment and Appliance Deployment (SEAD) Initiative is a voluntary collaboration among governments working to promote the manufacture, purchase, and use of energy-efficient appliances, lighting, and equipment worldwide. SEAD is an initiative under the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) and a task of the International Partnership for Energy Efficiency Cooperation (IPEEC).

What is SEAD?

At its core, SEAD is about governments working together to save energy, turning knowledge into action to advance global market transformation for energy efficient products.

SEAD's 18 participating governments collaborate to accelerate and strengthen the design and implementation of appliance energy efficiency policies and related measures. The SEAD Initiative supports this effort by:

  • Providing knowledge and tools that help impact policy change
  • Raising awareness about the importance of increasing the efficiency of common appliances and equipment
  • Identifying and highlighting technologies that will save energy
  • Providing technical expertise and best practices to stakeholders

Product energy efficiency policies and programs are proven, cost-effective methods for lowering energy costs for consumers and increasing the resiliency of economies. They are often the lowest-cost tool for achieving significant emission reductions.

If all SEAD governments were to adopt current policy best practices for product energy efficiency standards, 2,000 TWh of annual electricity could be saved in 2030, equal to the energy generated by 650 mid-sized power plants.

Collectively, these measures would decrease CO2 emissions over the next two decades by 11 billion tonnes, seven times more than the annual emissions of all road vehicles in the United States.

Why does SEAD matter?

The Problem: Worldwide electricity consumption is expected to grow 60 percent by 2030, driven in part by the increasing use of equipment, appliances, lighting, and other devices. New products and technologies are expanding access to modern conveniences and increasing quality of life across the globe. However, the associated growth in energy demand poses a challenge for governments trying to satisfy existing demand while continuing to address air pollution and combat global climate change.

Many countries face electric grid overloads, power outages, and declining air quality, and all of us are facing the consequences of a changing climate. The need for more efficient appliances is greater than ever.

The Solution: Energy-efficient equipment and appliances benefit both consumers and governments. Increasing efficiency lowers energy costs, enhances energy security, helps expand access to energy services, and reduces harmful emissions.

SEAD promotes the manufacture, purchase, and use of more energy-efficient products by supporting the design and implementation of energy efficiency policies and programs for common appliances, equipment, lighting, and other electronic devices.

How does SEAD work?

SEAD develops tools, conducts technical analyses, and provides member governments with access to high-quality research and expertise around a variety of product areas and market transformation activities. The Initiative convenes regular working groups focused on specific policy areas, and facilitates cooperation among member governments to leverage existing resources and maximize policy impacts.

Additional opportunities for international collaboration are provided by the SEAD Policy Exchange Forum, as well as through SEAD’s partnerships with other multilateral organizations.

SEAD also provides direct technical assistance to support the development of best practice appliance energy efficiency policies and programs around the world. In addition to the ongoing support provided to member governments, SEAD has supported policy and program development in West Africa, Kenya, the Philippines, Brunei, and Southeast Asia.

Who is SEAD?

SEAD member governments include Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, the European Commission, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, Sweden, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States. The U.S. Department of Energy and India's Bureau of Energy Efficiency co-lead the Initiative. CLASP and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) work together to provide technical assistance, strategic advice, and management support to SEAD leadership bodies, and to coordinate and facilitate government participation in the Initiative.

SEAD was first announced in December 2009 by former U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, accompanied by former Indian Environmental Minister Jairam Ramesh, at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change conference of the parties in Copenhagen, Denmark. SEAD became a task within IPEEC in January 2010 and was launched as a CEM initiative in July 2010. SEAD participating governments provide significant in-kind and financial contributions to the Initiative, including generous support from the U.S. Department of State.