What can consumers tell us about EPA’s “ENERGYSTAR” energy efficiency label?

DEFG’s EcoPinion consumer surveys are focused on energy and the environment. The latest EcoPinion report is on consumer perceptions of EPA’s “Energy Star” brand for energy efficiency.  (Energy Star Web Site.) DEFG would like to generate greater awareness and a dialog relating to customer communications. The opportunities for energy efficiency are huge, but businesses need to encourage consumer adoption of energy efficiency technologies through effective engagement.

EPA’s Energy Star is one of the few credible brands in the energy efficiency space and there is a lot riding on its continued success. One might say that the nation’s short-term energy efficiency and climate change goals depend on consumer acceptance of this mark or brand. Our seventh EcoPinion survey confirms that consumers have high awareness and good acceptance of the Energy Star label. However, our analysis shows that there are steps that need to be taken to maintain the viability and improve the brand, including challenges pointing to a more segmented approach to positioning and messaging.  Americans strongly support the evolution of the brand. There should be a tiered approach (such as gold and platinum levels) to distinguish higher levels of energy efficiency.  People want and expect this to occur.

Voluntary customer adoption of highly energy efficient devices is one part of our energy future, and it cannot come without labels that consumer can rely on to make good choices about tradeoffs between today’s investments and tomorrow’s energy bills.

Commentary by Jennifer Kaplan, The Inspired Economist: “What Do Consumers Really Think of Energy Star?”

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