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The website www.topten.info presents and compares the most efficient products (best available technologies) of a type. Each website provides the energy consumption of the product, the life-cycle costs, and other key attributes as well as a typical inefficient alternative. The target group are consumers. They can easily compare products and find the energy-efficient and cost-effective appliance.
TopTen is an international programme promoting energy-efficient electrical appliances and other products. It operates mainly through a website, on which consumers and other buyers can find the most efficient products of a type.
National sites cover 19 countries, including 17 European countries, China and the USA. Each country site presents the most energy-efficient products in that market, in categories including office equipment, lighting and household appliances. Each of the national TopTen sites is accessible through the common portal www.topten.info.
The website provides the energy consumption and cost and key attributes of the around ten most energy-efficient products as well as a typical inefficient alternative. The tool is easy to use and simplifies the buying decision. Consumers can easily find the most energy- and cost-efficient appliance to meet their needs and see the savings they can make. Separate Topten Pro pages provide advice for professional buyers, including procurement guidelines and sample tender documents.
Product details are tailored to each category but the key criteria are energy efficiency, other impacts on the environment, human health and quality. Details are updated every six months to create a dynamic benchmark. (Bush et al. 2009).
Additional information provides advice and encourages consumers to save energy by showing how it causes climate change and what consumers can do to reduce their impact. A TopTen game has started in several countries to reward the entrant with the greatest energy savings.TopTen is neutral, rigorous and transparent. It is not influenced by manufacturers or retailers and the selection methodology for each sub-category is explained online. It makes the current status of energy efficiency explicit in each national market and can be used as a reference in negotiations between government and manufacturers.The various TopTen activities reinforce each other to encourage and accelerate the design, marketing and buying of super-efficient appliances and equipment.TopTen has had an impact on the market: it is a market shifter, a facilitator, an educational tool, a decision making aid. The website is used as a basis for environmental policy design, labelling strategies, dissemination programmes, minimum energy efficiency requirements and specifications for multinational buyers (Bush et al., 2009). Hits and visitors to the website and the number of newsletter subscribers are increasing. The 2009 European TopTen evaluation reported the following website coverage and resonance:
The Government of Canada designed a rating system for various appliances including refrigerators, clothes washers etc. Although it is possible to look only for Energy Star rated products, one cannot sort the results on the basis of low energy consumption or low energy costs. Thus, at least compared to the TopTen-platform, the Canadian rating system is less handy and less customer-friendly (see:).
In a joint effort Australia’s and New Zealand’s administrations also developed a website on which consumers can quite easily identify the most energy-efficient products of respective product categories (see:). The website sust-it.net, based in the UK, is an interesting case as it provides information on various products and product categories and, moreover, offers links to retailers (sust-it NA).
TopTen was designed to stimulate the demand and supply of energy-efficient and environmentally friendly equipment by providing credible, up-to-date information on the most efficient products available in national markets. The project aims to encourage consumers to demand energy-efficient products by raising awareness with quick and easy access to independent product information tailored to people’s needs (Bush et al. 2007). It also aims to involve retailers and large buyers, and to create multinational pressure to push manufacturers towards greater energy efficiency across their range of products.
It is a sub-national policy.
The technological focus are appliances.
The programme has supported research and development and the creation of instruments such as energy labels, minimum energy performance standards, rebate programmes, information campaigns, white certificates, technology and cooperative procurement. TopTen policy recommendations relate, for example, to appropriate levels for mandatory and voluntary minimum energy performance standards or the design of financial incentive schemes (Attali et al. 2009).
Country-specific websites cover only nationally available products and meet local language requirements.
The product list is updated regularly (every 6 month) to ensure that the most current products are always reflected on the site and to create a dynamic benchmark. National pages show the most efficient products soon after they become available.
Each national TopTen system has pieced together its own mosaic of funding sources, but the main finance came from the “Intelligent Energy Europe” initiative.
Topten relies on declarations of existing labels and schemes, for which some tests are undertaken by authorities.
The most important steps are illustrated in the next figure.
The programme consists of the following steps:
Co-operation of countries
Project partners from Europe, the USA and China developed the websites, working with the TopTen International Group, a non-profit association created to coordinate the programme internationally. Its goal is to increase influence on energy efficiency standards, to safeguard the quality and independence of TopTen projects, to speed up exchange of experiences and data and to provide access to tools and web systems for national TopTen organisations.
Responsible for the design and implementation is the Topten International Group Paris, France
An ex-post evaluation exists.
Product details are tailored to each category but the key criteria are energy efficiency, other impacts on the environment, human health and quality.
There are only some limited data available concerning the policy impact. Therefore no detailed information on the energy and cost savings can be provided here. We hope that we can add some further information in future.
TopTen is a “soft measure” that does not have easily definable “hard” data on energy savings achieved. TopTen has calculated potential savings of approximately 120 GWh per year for the European Union. This assumes approximately 1.2 million website visitors, 300kWh typical electricity consumption per product per year and a saving of 33% for each visitor.
Core budgets in Europe have typically been in the range of EUR 100 to 250 thousand per country per year. Each national TopTen system has pieced together its own mosaic of funding sources, but the main finance came from the “Intelligent Energy Europe” initiative. It allocated a budget of €1,711,516 for the duration of the project (22.12.2008-22.12.2011). The European Commission contributed 75 %, the other 25 % being funding from national partners and governments (Bush et al. 2009; TopTen,info undated).