From 1 April 2021, the National Environment Agency (NEA) will introduce energy efficiency requirements for variable refrigerant flow (VRF) air-conditioners. VRF air-conditioners sold in Singapore must be registered with NEA, meet minimum energy performance standards and carry Energy Labels. VRF air-conditioners are common cooling systems used in small to medium sized buildings and landed residences. These requirements will improve the energy efficiency of VRF air-conditioners and contribute to Singapore’s efforts to fight climate change.

MELS and MEPS for VRF air-conditioners

From 1 April 2021, VRF air-conditioners sold in Singapore must comply with the Mandatory Energy Labelling Scheme (MELS) and Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS). See Annex A for requirements.

The introduction of MELS and MEPS for VRF air-conditioners will help catalyse market transformation towards more efficient models. Besides reducing their carbon footprint, owners of VRF air-conditioners will also benefit from the lower operating cost of more energy efficient equipment.

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the manufacturing sector that wish to replace their existing air-conditioners with more energy efficient models, like VRF air-conditioners (rated four-ticks and above) or single/multi-split systems (rated four-ticks and above), can apply to NEA to tap on the Energy Efficiency Fund (E2F) to co-fund up to 50 per cent of the replacement project’s qualifying cost.

NEA will review the energy efficiency standards over time in order to keep pace with technological improvements.

NEA introduced MELS in 2008 to encourage consumers to choose more energy efficient models of electrical appliances such as refrigerators, air-conditioners and televisions. MEPS was introduced in 2011 to raise the average energy efficiency of the electrical appliances in the market. The energy efficiency of residential air-conditioners has improved by 42 per cent since the introduction of MELS and MEPS.

VRF air-conditioners installed for an office building
VRF air-conditioners installed for an office building

For more information, please contact us at 1800-CALL NEA (1800-2255 632) or submit your enquiries electronically via the Online Feedback Form or myENV mobile application.


Details of Requirement – MEPS and MELS for VRF air-conditioners

Scope of MEPS and MELS for VRF air-conditioners

Effective from 1 April 2021, the proposed MEPS and MELS will cover 3-phase VRF air-conditioners of all cooling capacities. VRF air-conditioners are required to:

a)         be registered;
b)         meet MEPS, and
c)         be labelled with an Energy Label

VRF air-conditioners will be rated based on the Integrated Energy Efficiency Ratio (IEER) [1] to take into consideration of VRF air-conditioner’s part-load performance. MEPS level for VRF air-conditioners is proposed at IEER 4.35.

VRF air-conditioners will be rated one-tick to five-ticks, with five-ticks being the most efficient. The Energy Label and rating system for VRF air-conditioners are as shown in Diagram 1 and Table 1.

Example of Energy label for VRF Air-conditioner
Diagram 1: Example of Energy label for VRF Air-conditioner

Tick rating VRF efficiency, IEER
5 – tick IEER 6.15 and above
4 – tick IEER 5.70 to < IEER 6.15
3 – tick IEER 5.25 to < IEER 5.70
2 – tick IEER 4.80 to < IEER 5.25
1 – tick IEER 4.35 to < IEER 4.80

Table 1: Energy rating system for VRF air-conditioners

[1] Based 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.

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