I recently heard about the website TopTenUSA.org. The goal of the website is to list the top ten energy efficient products in the following categories: TV's, Refrigerators, Computers, Dishwashers, Freezers, Cars, and Clothes Washers. The problem is that I don't think the information provided to the consumer is all that useful. Overall, I think there could be a lot of improvement.
I posted my thoughts on the Home Energy Pros forum:
I saw this (TopTenUSA) earlier today and while I was excited at first, I'm not so excited after actually looking at the site. Take 2 examples:
Dishwashers - Out of a ranking of 10, there are only 2 manufacturers, Bosch and Asko, and many of the descriptions say "multiple models". It lists how much water each dishwasher uses per cycle, but how do we know the load size is the same?
TVs - Out of a ranking of 10, they rank three different sizes, from 46" to 60". YOU CANT COMPARE THE ENERGY CONSUMPTION OF THREE DIFFERENT SIZES BECAUSE YOU ARENT EQUALIZING THE DATA.
After looking at the site again, maybe they are normalizing the data, but I still don't think it is helpful for buyers to compare a 46" to a 60" based on energy consumption. In the real world, buyers either want either a 46" or a 60". Energy efficiency is usually only one facet of the decision. Don't even get me started on the section on cars.
I know it's more difficult, but to truly be effective, the user needs to be able to sort the the different products by feature. For instance, a matrix where you have the manufacturer in the first column, and then the different features in the remaining columns (i.e. size, capacity, energy consumption, performance, price, etc.). The fact of the matter is, almost all customer make purchasing decisions based on quality and price, energy savings come in a distant third. I would like to see TopTenUSA.org to take real purchasing decisions into account when ranking and categorizing appliances.
I don't criticize because I'm an angry person, I criticize in hopes that it will spur improvement. The public is inundated with "Green" and "Energy Efficient" marketing claims all day long, but the hard part is separating the truly efficient from the Green Washing when making real purchasing decisions. TopTenUSA may be on the right path, but users need to have a lot more functionality to be effective.
But hey, this is just my opinion, take a look at the site and leave your thoughts in the comments! What would your ideal energy efficient product website look like?