Same Program, More Savings

Nearly every consumer appliance and electronics program developed in the past two decades has left considerable energy savings on the table.  How do I know?  Because until this year, program administrators lacked tools to help steer consumers from appliances and electronics that were merely more efficient than standard models to those that were at the top of the efficiency peak. Enter TopTen USA. The growing nonprofit, whose board is chaired by NEEP founder Sue Coakley, was created to serve that exact function: To help program administrators achieve more savings from any program by adding and promoting higher incentives for the best of the best.  TopTen only looks at widely available products which (in categories covered by ENERGY STAR®) have already received their ENERGY STAR designation.  Within that group, TopTen ranks the ten efficiency winners from among the hundreds of products which have qualified for the ENERGY STAR label. How great are the savings? Considerable. As the chart shows, common products which make the TopTen rankings use about half of the energy consumed by products that just meet ENERGY STAR baselines. Though savings vary within specific product categories, TopTen will only publish a ranking if the savings are worth the consumer’s—and program administrator’s—attention. Consider the TV, a ubiquitous fixture in the American home – last month Northeast Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) released a graphic showing all of the holiday cooking that could be done using the energy that a lot of TVs on the market waste. As you hit the malls for holiday shopping, take a look at the TVs listed on TopTen’s website. In a pilot program in the Northwest, Sears and Kmart have teamed up with NEEA to promote TopTen listed televisions.  The program was already in place and already tiered; program administrators simply created a new incentive for TopTen listed TVs and implementation began within weeks. NEEP sponsors who are already supporting TopTen include Connecticut Light & Power and Efficiency Vermont. Seth Bauer is the Director of Marketing & Communications for TopTen USA.

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