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EcoAlign has just put out a new EcoPinion survey, this time about Energy Star. And the findings are not exactly surprising: most Americans want Energy Star to evolve because right now, the brand is losing meaning. While it's highly recognizable among consumers, Energy Star is in need of a make-over so that consumers can be sure they're getting products that not only meet a certain standard, but exceed it. The survey highlighted some of the ways in which Energy Star needs to improve if it wants to stay ahead in the eco-labeling game. The EcoPinion survey notes, "Maintaining a strong Energy Star brand is critical to the collective success of the market and society to improve energy efficiency levels. And given the current stalemate over climate change discussions, it may be the only realistic alternative to achieve large-scale emission reductions in the short-term. The focus shouldn't solely be short term though. The question should be: How will Energy Star evolve three, four or five years from now? It is the flagship brand and barometer for the whole energy-efficiency space."
Indeed Energy Star tends to be most recognized among appliances like refrigerators and washing machines. However, it is used extensively among all electronics, which is an industry starting to give way to other more effective labeling systems. EPEAT, for example, is increasingly well known and trusted as a green rating system for computers (which also covers far more than just energy efficiency), but it is also moving into televisions and other consumer products which have so far been the turf of Energy Star. EPEAT has something Energy Star doesn't, and which the survey revealed users want: Rankings.
The EcoPinion survey found that over 90% of the survey respondents favored a tiered system so that not only could they find Energy Star rated products, but they could then choose the best of the best. With practically every product that applies to the program getting an Energy Star certification, the certification itself has lost meaning and value, and it could be gained back by adding a tiered system.
Other findings from the survey include:
- Women think it is significantly more important than men to buy products and services that have the Energy Star label for bigger home improvement projects or investments.
- Younger respondents, age 18 to 34, were significantly less likely than those age 35 to 55 and older, to say that buying products and services with the Energy Star label is extremely important for bigger home improvement projects or investments.
- Not surprisingly, homeowners are more likely than renters to think the Energy Star label is extremely important when buying products and services for bigger home improvement projects or investments.
The age gap is especially interesting, and worrisome. Younger people are a key demographic that needs to be encouraged toward energy efficiency. If Energy Star isn't working for them and helping them make more efficient purchases, then something needs to happen with the label to get the consumers' attention.
The entire EcoPinion survey is worth a read-through, especially if you're curious about the status of green labeling in consumer products.
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