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Delivering digital Energy Labelling solutions to enable consumer action on purchasing energy efficient appliances

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - Digi-Label (Delivering digital Energy Labelling solutions to enable consumer action on purchasing energy efficient appliances)

Reporting period: 2017-10-01 to 2019-03-31

Digi-Label is a three year project, running from April 2016 to March 2019, co-funded by the European Union Horizon 2020 programme. The overall aim of the project is to make the EU Energy Label easier to understand and more readily available in-store and online. It will do this by developing digital tools that give consumers more and better data on the energy consumption of appliances by making comparisons between appliances possible. This information will be made accessible at the point of purchase in partnership with retailers and manufacturers, both in-store and online. The results of the testing will be analyzed and made available to relevant stakeholders as a policy advice.

The overall aim of the project is to support consumer purchase decisions leading them to buy to most efficient appliances that meet their needs and thus increase market share of the most efficient appliances in terms of volume sales. Through this the domestic energy use associated with appliances will begin to reduce as will the contribution towards climate change. Moreover an increased market share in the most efficient appliances is anticipated to have a knock on effect on market transformation with supply and demand becoming more in favour of efficient appliances.

The overall objectives of the project are as follows:
1. Develop digital tools and solutions that enable the delivery of enhanced and improved information on the energy consumption of appliances to consumers in-store – directly, at the point of purchase in partnership with retailers and manufacturers.
2. Design and pilot a customer engagement approach that demonstrates the positive impact digital tools and solutions can have on their customers’ purchasing decisions in partnership with a front runner retailer.
3. Refine and roll-out the approach to a larger sample of consumers in partnership with at least 10 manufacturers and 50 retailers in 5 countries.
4. Monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of the pilot and roll-out activities
5. Extrapolate and demonstrate the market potential and impact that will be achieved when the project results are adopted by policymakers and wider industry such as manufacturers and retailers.
The PocketWatt tool developed under the project has been designed to complement the product information available to consumers from the Energy Label and Product fiche but to present this information in a more consumer friendly and easily accessible way. The development of the tool has been underpinned by comprehensive literature reviews and research into consumer understanding of the Energy Label, best practice in app development and key feedback from retailers and manufacturers. The tool itself has been tested in a number of retail environments with a comprehensive data collection and evaluation process to allow the consortium to analyse the impact of the tool not only for the duration of the project but also going forward should the tool be widely rolled out.

Overall the tool and the content provided were perceived very positively by consumers, it is estimated that 75% of consumers that utilised the tool were influenced by the information provided and went on to or planned to purchase a more efficiency appliance. It can be seen therefore that not only are consumers open to receiving information about the efficiency of appliances and include this as a consideration in their purchase decision; it also highlights that there is still room to educate consumers on this topic. This is an important factor for future projects to consider, that given information in an easy to understand and accessible way the majority of consumers can be influenced to make a better purchase decision.

Manufacturers were also positively engaged with the project, of those contacted 65% went on the provide product data for the tool. This is encouraging not only for the future requirements of data provision for the EPREL database but also indicates manufacturers willingness to engaged in and support consumer messaging around energy efficient products. For future projects and research therefore it would seem that manufactures can be counted on the proactively engage and support new initiatives.

It is estimated that in total the project influenced approximately 500,000 consumers purchase decisions and reached 3 million stakeholders in total (made up of consumers and industry/policy stakeholders). This reflects not only the interest of stakeholder in increasing consumer knowledge in energy efficient products and the energy label but also indicates an interest in the media to disseminate information about projects focussing on this topic.
The Digilabel project is closely aligned not only with the Energy Labelling Directive but in particular with the rescale of the Energy Label which will incorporate a QR code element and the impending launch of the European Product Registry Database (EPREL). Throughout the project the consortium has maintained a close relationship with DG ENER providing shared experiences in the development of PocketWatt and EPREL and also holding a seat on the relevant EPREL stakeholder forums. Through this sharing of information the consortium has already advised the commission on the need for the EPREL database to include a field for the intended country of sale for products. Without this inclusion any tool developed to take data directly from EPREL will have limited usefulness to consumers where they could be directed to products not available in/designed for their country.

Further PocketWatt has been designed with the intention of an inevitable link to the EPREL database and it is through close negotiations with DGENER that we have been able to confirm this offering.The central PocketWatt web tool will continue to be hosted and maintained by Solstice until at least March 2021. The tool will maintain its own separate database of products in the back end used to run the functionality of the tool itself, this database will be maintained via a link with the EPREL database Open Data Portal (ODP). The ODP will be updated from the live EPREL database periodically, from here Solstice will export out the required technical product data and import this directly into the PocketWatt database. A field mapping exercise has already taken place such that the xml export from the ODP can be directly imported into PocketWatt. Links to the PocketWatt tool will be available from the relevant pages of the Europa website.

In terms of ongoing retailer access to the PocketWatt tool, the code to embed the widget will still be available for retailers to utilise beyond the life of the project as well as basic technical support; however, implementation and administration support will not be available unless resourced. As such project partners are considering a range of commercial offerings which could be made available to those retailers who wish to continue implementing the tool and those organisations who expressed an interest in implementation but could not within the lifetime of the project. This could include for example a supported online and/or in store implementation, supported promotional materials and activities in relation to the tool, integration of guidance into existing training services, a white label version of the tool or the integration of PocketWatt’s functions and features into an organisations own app or tool.
Project Brand - B2B
Project Brand - B2C
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