Clean Energy Ministerial Roundtable Highlights Opportunities to Accelerate Market Transformation for Super-Efficient Appliances
In April 2012, the third annual Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) brought minister-level government officials and executives of major appliance manufacturers, other private sector companies, and non-profit organizations to London for a high-level global forum to advance clean energy policies.
The U.S. Department of Energy and the Super-efficient Equipment and Appliance Deployment (SEAD) Initiative invited Christine Egan, CLASP’s Executive Director and CEO, to moderate a CEM roundtable highlighting super-efficient appliances.
The 20 roundtable participants – including U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu – sought to identify innovative ways to accelerate the introduction of super-efficient appliances into the global market and overcome the barriers that impede the deployment of those appliances. The group highlighted major opportunities to promote super-efficient products and transform the market towards higher energy efficiency.
Filling the Information Gap
One major barrier to the deployment of super-efficient appliances is insufficient consumer-friendly information on energy efficiency and life-cycle cost.
Successful marketing and communications strategies are instrumental to influencing consumer behavior and expanding the purchases of super-efficient appliances beyond early adopters. Roundtable participants identified various methods for motivating consumers to purchase super-efficient products, including providing personalized life-cycle cost comparisons at the point of sale and communicating the benefits of super-efficiency in ways that resonate with consumers.
Engagement and involvement from the private sector is also critical; energy providers and information technology developers can develop new business models around the creative and cost-effective supply of robust energy information and analysis to consumers.
Pulling Super-Efficient Products into the Market
SEAD has undertaken several market transformation initiatives, such as the launch of the SEAD Global Efficiency Medal competition to recognize most efficient products and the development of procurement tools to help procurement officials make more sustainable procurement decisions. Through these activities, SEAD member governments have been “pulling” the global market towards more efficient products.
At the roundtable, the SEAD Global Efficiency Medal was highlighted as an example of how to encourage innovation by manufacturers and coordinate financial incentives and in-store promotions through retailers. Other promotional activities linked to the award-winning products are expected to provide future opportunities to motivate purchases of super-efficient products.
Opportunities for Progress: the SEAD Efficient Product Promotion Collaborative
To accelerate the deployment of super-efficient appliances, SEAD member countries have committed to strengthening stakeholder involvement in SEAD activities. The SEAD Efficient Product Promotion Collaborative, a new public-private partnership launched at the CEM, provides a unique platform to host and facilitate collective expertise and resources from public and private stakeholders.
The Collaborative will explore options to strengthen financial incentive programs, informational campaigns, and award programs. Members of this partnership will provide technical expertise and foster information exchange among electric utilities, regulators, policy makers, and other parties to further the scope, benefits, and effectiveness of these programs.