Top Ten Energy Efficient Products?

I recently heard about the website  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 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?

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Great and what you guys are doing may not have impact immdiately but surely it will pay off to our man kind. Power to you guys. Also may i get more idea on the DC operated aircondition , if it is dependable and like how often the batteries need to be replace ? etc ... Also if anyone can comment on 2,400 BTU with 2.0 TR when talking about capacity of an aircon ??? Thank you to all!
I honestly think is a really great site. * It cuts through the ubiquitous Energy Star labels which don't go very far. * It's simple and straightforward for "normal" people * It's (mostly) real-world stuff, not boutique products * Price information is available (and sortable!) You can't confuse busy people with too much information; "top ten medium-sized tvs" is just fine as far as I'm concerned. They rank it in watts used per square inch illuminated. It cuts through the "yeah, but... except... unless..." details that non-energy geeks don't care one bit about. It steers people towards something that is efficient. I have no problem with it at all. :) Give people a 20-column sortable/searchable/filterable matrix and they'll shut down and get whatever is on sale at wal-mart. For people who really do care about that, the can go to and get a spreadsheet. Now if stores would just start slapping topten labels on things it might motivate people a bit more. Energy Star is well and good but it's often too permissive. What % of dehumidifiers are "energy star?" Something huge, IIRC. Give me a top ten list any day!
ckmapawatt's picture
Eric, that's fair. I just think they can do a better job by taking into account that most people buying new products don't make purchasing decisions solely on energy efficiency alone. Although you're right, this is a good start. I guess it is pretty hard to give customers an apples-apples energy comparison when there is so many different variations in products.
"I just think they can do a better job by taking into account that most people buying new products don’t make purchasing decisions solely on energy efficiency alone." What do you propose? I see your point about the dishwashers, for example, I guess. If they all happen to be from one or two manufacturers, well, get moving, Maytag! More info on the capacity may well be worthwhile for the consumer. But I think that if there was a large variation in the market, they'd have split it into high/low capacity models, as they did with clothes washers. My anecdotal experience from the list: I saw Samsung TVs at the top of the list, and ended up getting a Samsung based on that, albeit a slightly "higher" model - which, sadly, turned out to have a higher energy use as well. So yeah, I decided on features & price as well as energy, but in the end it struck a balance, and I was pushed in a good direction by the list.
ckmapawatt's picture
Maybe allow users to sort by brands or compare brands? Going back to the dishwasher example, what if a user is going to buy his dishwasher from the Home Depot or Lowes store right by their house because they have a coupon and they only want to compare dishwashwers that are at those stores? As the site is now, I only see it as an initial point of reference. My goal is to continue to press them to add more features so it becomes more and more useful to users.
I think it's a lot to ask them to keep track of what store X has in stock nearby ... now, if Lowes (or whoever) would clearly rank their models in-store, that might be nice... :) Hm, but they have partnered w/ other sites for that kind of thing. "Find it near you" turns up ... Lowes. Maybe an enhancement of that to get to "search for all 10 of these models nearby" would be a step in the right direction. If you pre-pick the store, though, it's a lot to keep track of. At some point it might be better to pressure the -stores- to prominently display their current "top ten."

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