Topten – Best of Europe. How do best products perform and why aren’t they sold across Europe?

Panel: Panel 6: Products and appliances

Authors:
Eric Bush, Topten International Group (TIG) - Switzerland
Sophie Attali, Topten International Group (TIG) - Paris
Conrad U. Brunner, A+B International, Zurich
Anne Arquit Niederberger, A+B International, USA

Abstract

The web-based Topten system was launched in Switzerland in 2000 with the goal of facilitating Swiss consumers’ access to information on the most energy-efficient products (including performance, price, functions, pictures). Six years later, Topten attracts 1 million visitors annually and enjoys significant media attention. The concept has grown to include market research; a broader range of products, including household appliances, office equipment, consumer electronics, lighting, and cars; and cooperation with large public and private buyers and incentive programs has expanded.

Topten has also grown geographically to include nine national Topten websites in Europe (thanks to an Intelligent Energy – Europe project). The association Topten International Group (TIG) was created in 2006 to support this development and oversee the quality of the Topten concept in the various national implementations – including in the USA and China.

The initial focus of Topten was on technical issues related to testing protocols and the establishment of coherent national Topten systems. Now that a critical mass of countries host functioning Topten systems, Topten is now in a position to better support policy processes and to that end has established Topten “Best of Europe”. This new concept identifies the most energy efficient products in Europe, stating countries where they are marketed (see www.topten.info). It makes explicit and transparent the status quo of efficient technologies on the European market and can thus serve as the European reference on energy efficiency to further negotiate with government and manufacturers.

Thanks to professional dissemination activities, this Topten reference can be used as a basis for environmental policy design, labeling strategies, dissemination programs, mandatory minimum efficiency requirements, and specifications for multinational buyers. “Best of Europe” and TIG offer the opportunity to coordinate a common understanding and empower decision makers to launch new initiatives promoting efficient products. Expanding globally to Topten “Best of the World” can occur as soon as additional countries bring their national Topten systems online.

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