Energy efficiency. Kilowatt hours. EEI. Class A+++. What does it all actually mean?
As a consumer, do I want to become intensely involved with this issue? Probably rather not – it is not sexy enough - but the environment and my children’s future are nevertheless important to me. And that is why I want to do something.
Preferably without much effort or cost. So what am I to do? I try and navigate through the jungle of electronic devices by comparing features, size, colour and price. With appliances I look at the EU label, depending on that and if it is not significantly more expensive, I buy the appliance with the highest efficiency level, A+++.
A good decision. But probably not the best. The fact is, even among the highest efficiency class A+++, there are huge differences in the energy consumption of appliances or other electronic goods. If you then calculate the 'ClearCost' – i.e. the current purchase price + energy consumption over product life x energy costs – you will in many product categories find differences of several hundreds to thousands euros between appliances available on the market and those in your home, which in case of refrigerators are mostly at least eight years old.
This means that a purchase price of 100 euros more, can very quickly pay for itself in the first twelve months. And what’s more, in about 30% of cases, the most energy-efficient appliance is actually not more expensive, but sometimes even the cheaper option.
These are all facts the consumer is unaware of. Purchase decisions are made based on the available information and clear information about energy consumption costs is difficult to find, both offline and online. But if you go out on the street and ask passers by or look at representative studies, it becomes clear that consumers are highly receptive to save energy. Given better and more readily available information, a huge part of them would opt for the more energy-efficient appliance. We call this a 'better than good' decision.
Although consumer awareness of energy-efficiency is more pronounced in Europe, in the USA there are major utility companies which recognized the situation a time ago and now make this transparency of information available to their customers to facilitate more educated purchasing decisions on white and brown goods. Initial discussions indicate that energy providers in Europe will follow suit before long.
Just imagine – if every German consumer who plans on buying a refrigerator in 2016 were to opt for the most energy-efficient appliance, it would save so much energy that you would be able to shut down two coal-fired power plants within the same year. If this were to happen every year, we would be shutting down two coal-fired power plants year upon year.
Now that really would be better than good. The right click can make the difference.
Enervee, March 10