Fostering energy efficiency and keeping people cool in Mexico

The EE4D team has assisted Mexico with a myriad of projects spanning energy efficiency, air conditioning usage and energy, and building codes.


Air Conditioning Electricity Monitoring

During the summer of 2019, EE4D conducted a pioneering direct measurement of residential air conditioners in Sonora, Mexico. While residential air conditioners are the subject of MEPS in Mexico, to date, these regulations have not specifically required the use of an important efficiency technology (variable-speed, or “inverter” units) due to uncertainties about net financial benefits to consumers.

The EE4D measurement helps clarify this picture, and may also be helpful in designing effective financial incentive programs and construction codes to increase insulation.

Mexico Cooling Initiative

The result of FY18 activities is to establish the Mexico Cooling Initiative as an active organizing force in the energy efficiency world in Mexico, focusing priorities and building a stakeholder base.  Three main outputs of that work are:

  • Cooling Fact Book laying out the case for increased action on cooling in Mexico and serving as an easily quotable ‘executive summary’ for proponents of EE in Mexico.
  • Cooling Summit bringing together important stakeholders in Mexico and highlighting main areas for further action.
  • Cooling Community of Practice providing a clearing house of relevant resources and tools in each identified area.

Analysis of Energy Efficiency Component to Bono Solar Project

Bono Solar (Solar Bonds) is an initiative of the Mexican Climate Initiative (ICM) in development over the past two years or so.  Bono Solar is a financing scheme to increase the presence of photovoltaic distributed generation in Mexican homes.  The scheme involves a startup fund for installation of PV in the first year, but finances the program in an ongoing way with net savings to electricity subsidies provided by the government through electricity tariffs (“Revolvencia y Fondo de Arranque”).

Given the potential represented by this innovative program, Berkeley Lab and ICM propose a joint project to perform critical analysis to bolster the opportunity of greater integration of energy efficiency in Bono Solar.


Implementation of high-efficiency equipment will come with an up-front cost, but lower overall energy bills over time.  The first task will consider costs and savings associated with each end use and consider combinations with PV subsidies, differentiated by climate zone (tariff class). The analysis will include lighting, refrigerators and minisplit air conditioners. Parameters to be considered as part of the analysis will include (1) geographical differences and presence of air conditioning, (2) household income, (3) new installations vs. retrofits, and (4) tariff categories.


ICM has published a comprehensive analysis of costs and benefits associated with Bono Solar and launched a pilot that should be under implementation during the period of the energy efficiency analysis.  The main output of the project will be a briefing / annex to that main work and a revised integrated spreadsheet.

Building Codes in Mexico City

With the help of LBNL in 1990s, Mexico developed two national standards through CONAE/CONUEE (Director Odon de Buen Rodríguez):

  • NOM-008-ENER-2001: “Eficiencia energética en edificaciones, envolvente de edificios no residenciales”
  • NOM-020-ENER-2011: “Eficiencia energética en edificaciones, envolvente de edificios para uso habitacional.”

These national building codes are used as a reference in several local and state guidelines, but are not a mandatory requirement for construction in any Mexican locality. During the past mayoral administration of Mexico City, extensive attempts were made at implementation with the participation of CONUEE and international partners, but were not finalized


  • State of Play and Lessons Learned: This task will produce a brief document evaluating the history of building codes implementation efforts to date in Mexico City. 
  • Stakeholder Engagement Forum: Based on the outputs of the State of Play, Berkeley Lab and its partners will organize a workshop to bring together decision makers and implementers at the city with other Mexican institutions and international partners to discuss the priority and mechanics of building code implementation, as well as hurdles and strategies to overcome them.


  • Work Plan: The output of the Stakeholder Engagement Forum will be a work plan with identified leads and milestones towards implementation over the following 12 months.

Residential Sector Air Conditioning Usage Field Study

The Residential Sector Air Conditioning Usage Field Study builds on a foundation of Berkeley Lab’s expertise in end-use demand modeling and energy efficiency standards, as well as long-standing collaborations with Mexico’s Energy Efficiency Commission (CONUEE) and National Electricity and Clean Energy Lab (INEEL).


The Contractor will conduct measurements on a sample of about 20 households in Sonora, Hermosillo using distributed sensor networks for collection of high-resolution cooling usage data. The project will be timed in order to capture the majority of summer months (May-October) in 2019.


This project will provide an as yet unavailable critical dataset in the development of effective energy efficiency programs and policies around air conditioning in Mexico.  The method and use of this data is likely to be relevant and applicable in many other geographical areas where air conditioner use is important.

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