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Concern over energy saving product claims

The Carbon Trust has urged businesses to use the Energy Technology List when procuring new equipment after a survey revealed a crisis of confidence in the energy saving credentials of products.

The Carbon Trust has urged businesses to use the Energy Technology List (ETL) when procuring new equipment after a survey revealed a crisis of confidence in the energy saving credentials of products.

The Carbon Trust surveyed 135 procurement managers from the public and private sector on their attitudes towards energy saving equipment, finding that a quarter had no confidence in the energy saving claims of manufacturers. 

Sixty per cent of respondents were from large organisations with over 250 employees, and nearly half had an annual energy spend of over £500,000.

Crisis of confidence

A third of the respondents stated that a lack of credible information on equipment was preventing them from investing in upgrades, while the same amount also reported difficulties in finding quality suppliers. 

The real-world performance of products has been subject to particular scrutiny in recent months following high-profile cases in the media such as the Volkswagen car emissions scandal.  

More than half of respondents stated that it was difficult to make a business case for buying energy saving equipment, while two thirds did not fully take into account the lifetime costs and benefits of new equipment when procuring.

Energy Technology List

According to Paul Huggins, associate director at the Carbon Trust, many of these problems could be overcome by using the Carbon Trust’s Energy Technology List (ETL) to inform procurement. 

Almost half of respondents were unaware of the ETL - an independently assessed list of energy saving technologies which show top quartile performance. 

Products listed in the ETL qualify for the Government’s Enhanced Capital Allowance scheme, allowing businesses to write off the cost of products against taxable profits. 

‘Vast dataset’

Organisations that want to save money on energy bills and cut carbon emissions should think carefully about the total cost of ownership for equipment”, Huggins said. 

“The case for investing in better energy efficiency often seems blindingly obvious, but making good decisions depends on having good quality, reliable information. 

“In the last few months the performance gap between manufacturer claims and real world performance has become a prominent issue. This is why the ETL is such a valuable resource. It provides organisations with a vast database of independently tested energy saving equipment, where you can be confident of getting products that will deliver top quartile performance.”

Popular technologies

Lighting is by far the most popular energy saving technology amongst the respondents, with nine out of ten organisations having invested in it in the last two years. 

Other popular technologies include HVAC equipment, boiler equipment, electric motors and drives, and pipework insulation. There is also an increasing interest in combined heat and power, heat pumps and solar thermal technology.