Full disclosure: ENERGY STAR is one of our clients and we contributed to the upfront research/insight behind this new label.
Shortly after President Obama became President and Secretary Chu became Secretary, I was at an Alliance to Save Energy event at which Mr. Chu made the off-hand announcement that, by golly, we needed a “Super” ENERGY STAR! In his estimation the original program had done such a great job the label was too ubiquitous and, therefore, not as useful to consumers in discerning which products to buy, nor as helpful at prodding manufacturers to exceed being “just good enough.” We needed a new label to designate not just which products are energy efficient, but also which products are most efficient.
And, voila, the new ENERGY STAR Most Efficient label was born.
A few of the blogs that have reported on this have dinged EPA a bit for potentially confusing consumers. And while we at Shelton Group have data that reveals that the ubiquity of the basic label is not the problem for consumers that those in government or manufacturing believe it is — only 18% says it’s on so many products it’s not useful, while 52% say it’s a great tool to identify EE products — we also have data that suggests the Most Efficient label would be embraced by consumers.
In last year’s Eco Pulse survey 46% of Americans said it would be helpful if there were different ENERGY STAR rating levels to differentiate between energy efficient products and those that are most energy efficient. And in our conjoint test on televisions in last year’s Eco Pulse we found that a “Super” ENERGY STAR designation could garner an extra 2% market share at the highest price point we tested. That may not sound like a lot, but 2% in a highly competitive, ginormous category like televisions is a big deal.
Our prediction is that the label will do exactly what it’s supposed to do: spur manufacturers to create even more efficient options so their products can stand out in the market, and move consumers who care about efficiency to make more informed choices.
Kudos to the EPA and to Secretary Chu for pushing the envelope!