Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


TOPTEN ACT Report Summary

Project ID: 649647
Funded under: H2020-EU.3.3.7.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - TOPTEN ACT (Enabling consumer action towards top energy-efficient products)

Reporting period: 2015-03-01 to 2016-08-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

A number of challenges prevent consumers from buying top energy-efficient products.
• On the market, there is too much choice (consumers are faced with a myriad of models from which to choose) and at the same time too little choice (few options of ‘good’ products make consumers less prone to purchase them). Topten websites recommend a handful (ten on average) of top energy-efficient products for each category and sub-category considered and aims at informing consumers of where to find those products (which retailers offer them).
• To fight against confusing information and promotion material, Topten provides consumers with clear recommendations on how to choose energy-efficient products, including the interpretation of energy labels and information showing that efficient products are not necessarily more expensive: purchase price and expected running costs over the lifetime compared to standard, non-energy-efficient products. It appears clearly that in most cases the energy-efficient product is not only environmentally sound, but also more economic in the long run.
• Consumers particularly need clear information about energy-efficient products when legislation undergoes major changes (as will soon happen with the EU energy label); or if energy-efficiency programmes occur in a stop-and-go fashion (due to e.g. public budget constraints). In this context, Topten, which continuously provides up-to-date and relevant information to consumers, becomes increasingly important.
Topten Act aims at transforming the European market of energy-using products towards higher energy efficiency by addressing non-technical market barriers. It builds on the concept that it is ultimately consumer action (the purchase of top energy-efficient products) that will determine market transformation. With this as basis, and the experience gathered from previous European Topten projects implemented since 2006, Topten Act has developed a comprehensive strategy covering all key market actors, with three objectives mutually reinforcing each other:
1. To increase consumer purchases of top energy-efficient products in Europe: Topten Act identifies the top energy-efficient products in 16 European countries, and pushes this information to consumers through tailored national websites and targeted communications activities.
2. To increase the availability and visibility of top energy-efficient products on EU markets: Consumer demand for top energy-efficient products improves Topten Act’s ability to: 1) work with manufacturers to help them steer production lines towards more energy-efficient products; 2) support retailers to display and promote energy-efficient products in their shops.
3. To increase large buyers’ knowledge of and demand for top energy-efficient products in Europe (both public and private entities): Large buyers have the ability to steer the market towards more energy-efficient products. Topten Act approaches them with information on products of their interest (e.g. office equipment, vehicles) and offers direct advice in preparing calls for tenders that include energy efficiency criteria.
Topten Act analyses the energy efficiency (and other environmental issues, such as e.g. water consumption, noise, mercury content and level of pollutants where relevant) of equipment responsible for most residential electricity consumption.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

The Topten approach has been in place in partner countries since many years. Topten has several means of action and the bulk of the work is undertaken on a daily basis, at the national level: Analysing markets and products at the national level, close to the consumers;

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

"Topten Act websites reach consumers in 16 European countries with a combined population of 447 million citizens. The various European regions are well covered by the project: East, West, North, South / from producing-importing countries / with consumers more or less sensitive to environmental issues, with different purchasing behaviours.
Topten covers a wide range of activities, from detailed market and technical studies to dissemination to various target groups including the general public. This versatility offers many keys for evaluation. A city modifies its procurement policy; a utility decides on a rebate programme; policy makers favour ambitious regulations; NGOs communicate on energy savings in homes in order to link individual behaviour and climate change issues; retailers choose to adopt energy efficient positioning and revise their product range; manufacturers develop new efficient models and strongly market them; consumers' demand for efficient models grow – Though these decisions depend on the strategies stakeholders decide to adopt, Topten may weigh, more or less explicitly, in all of these decisions transforming markets.
Within the market transformation toolbox, Topten is considered as a "soft measure", a measure that definitely impacts the market on crucial aspects: it is a market shifter, a facilitator, an education tool, a decision-making aid. The resulting number of saved kWh can be best quantified in the framework of a structured and comprehensive evaluation project.
Several evaluation studies have been carried out in order to evaluate Topten’s multiple impacts. These studies confirm that the estimate of 300 kWh savings per unique visitor on the Topten websites is a very reasonable and conservative one, when considering all together the impacts on manufacturers, retailers, policy markers, consumers and professional buyers.
When the European Topten websites gather 2 Mio visitors a year, it means 600 GWh final energy savings are triggered each year.
For 2014, given the number of visitors, savings were as high as the residential electricity consumption of the city of Lisbon in a year
In the details, and considering only the impacts on visitors generating saved kWh, an evaluation is being carried out based on a visitor study. The previous evaluation was based on the following calculation (these December 2014 figures will soon be updated):
• Responses to a Topten online survey showed that 383 Topten visitors bought 399 Topten-listed products, saving a total of 1 804 kWh of final energy per survey respondent over the lifetime of the products (12.85 years on average). Each product purchased by respondents was compared to an average model in its category to derive these figures.
• A conversion factor of 2.5 was used to calculate primary energy savings (1,804 kWh*2.5) = 4,511 kWh primary energy savings per survey respondent (spread over the products’ lifetime).
• To extrapolate from the sample of respondents to all website visitors, a (very conservative) correction factor of 0.05 was introduced. In other words, we assumed that only one in 20 visitors to Topten websites behaved like the sample replying to the survey, likely a more motivated group of consumers (19 in 20 did not buy anything) → 4,511 * 0.05 = 225.5 kWh/visitor of primary energy savings (spread over the products’ lifetime).
• The expected total annual savings are: 2 million visitors/year * 225.5 kWh/visitor = 451.1 GWh primary energy savings per year.
• To calculate GWh of final annual electricity savings, we divide by 2.5 (conversion factor from primary to final energy), → 451.1 / 2.5 = 180.44 GWh of annual electricity saved"

Related information

Record Number: 196240 / Last updated on: 2017-03-28
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