Manufacturers' energy claims not trusted

29th February 2016

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David Hollingsworth

Lack of trust in the claims made by manufacturers about the performance of equipment is a significant barrier to organisations' ability to improve energy efficiency, according to the Carbon Trust.

Only 5% of professionals with responsibility for procuring energy consuming equipment for their organisations are very confident in that it will achieve the claimed levels of energy consumption, with almost a quarter (24%) expressing no confidence at all.

The Carbon Trust surveyed 135 procurement professionals in the public and private sector. One in three stated that a lack of credible information about equipment was a significant barrier to improving their organisation’s energy efficiency.

Other barriers included: an inability to make a robust business case for purchasing energy efficient equipment (57%); competing organisational priorities (50%); availability of finance (38%); risk of disruption to operations (35%); and finding good quality suppliers (32%).

The research also found that two-thirds of respondents did not fully take into account the whole life costs of equipment when making purchasing decisions.

Lighting is the most popular purchase, with 90% of organisations having invested in new lighting equipment over the past two years, and 82% expecting further investment in the next 12 months. Other popular categories for expected upcoming purchases include heating, ventilation and air conditioning equipment (56%), boiler equipment (52%), electric motors and drives (47%) and pipework insulation (45%).

The trust noted that some technology categories have grown in popularity in terms of what organisations are planning to purchase in the next 12 months compared to equipment bought over the past two years. These include combined heat and power systems (16% to 24%), heat pumps (18% to 27%) and solar thermal technology (13% to 17%).

Almost half of respondents (45%) said they were not aware of the existence of the Energy Technology List (ETL). The database covers products across 57 technology categories and is managed by the trust on behalf of the energy and climate change department (Decc). It tests and lists products that show top-quartile energy saving performance.

Businesses that purchase products that meet ETL criteria may be eligible for enhanced capital allowances, providing accelerated tax relief, the trust said.

Associate director Paul Huggins, who manages the ETL scheme, said the performance gap between manufacturer claims and real world performance has become a prominent issue in the past few months.

‘Organisations that want to save money on energy bills and cut carbon emissions should think carefully about the total cost of ownership for equipment. The case for investing in better energy efficiency often seems blindingly obvious, but making good decisions depends on having good quality, reliable information,’ he said.


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