Is efficient sufficient?

Exploring progressive efficiency specifications for appliances and buildings

Dowload the summary from the workshop (pdf).


Welcome to an eceee workshop to develop new policy tools

18 May 2010, 9:30 - 17:00
Bibliothéque Solvay, Brussels

Traditional measures of product efficiency have helped consumers locate the least consumptive among a range of similar products, but have done little to prevent absolute energy consumption from rising over time. Progressive efficiency specifications represent one important approach to counter the trend.

This workshop will discuss how, in practice, progressive energy efficiency specifications for appliances and buildings can be developed into effective policy tools to help turn down energy consumption.

Why progressive efficiency specifications are needed
Energy efficiency has attracted broad support among diverse stakeholders, given its appeal to deliver environmental and financial benefits without creating the sense of sacrifice or inconvenience. However, energy efficiency is specifically and intentionally not about conservation. Instead, efficiency might best be thought of as a measure of relative consumption. Bigger, more powerful and more functional products get to use proportionally more energy or power and still be labelled as energy efficient, as long as they use less energy than other equally big, powerful, and functional products. Thus, efficiency policies have allowed us to slow the rate of growth in absolute energy consumption, but not yet level it out or reduce it except in rare instances. We must therefore challenge the inherent way specifications are designed.

Perhaps the most salient feature of progressive efficiency specifications is that they approach a sufficiency limit on power consumption which will cease to increase, no matter how much larger or more functional the energy-using devices become. This does not prevent the largest or most functional products from being sold; it holds them to progressively tighter efficiency requirements if they want to be labelled as energy efficient or receive a utility rebate.

Chatham House Rule

The workshop will be held under Chatham House Rule. This is understood as “When a meeting, or part thereof, is held under the Chatham House Rule, participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed". (see: ).

Welcome to join!
eceee is inviting our members, policy makers, equipment suppliers, NGOs and others to discuss the topics of sufficiency and progressive energy efficiency. We hope that the workshop will inspire others to work towards the goal of reducing absolute energy consumption. Please register at or download registration form (pdf). Please also see eceee’s web page dedicated to progressive efficiency.

Download programme (pdf)

Download registration form (pdf)