Who runs Topten UK?
In the UK, Topten is brought to you by the Energy Saving Trust. We help people to save energy every day; through our impartial advice, commitment to undertaking research and work with businesses and governments, we are influential in driving behaviour change and inspiring new energy efficiency programmes and policies.
We are part of an international consortium of 21 partner organisations developing and maintaining national Topten websites. The consortium is led by the Topten International Group, which was formed in Switzerland in 2000. Since then, 19 European national Topten sites have been established, as well as sites in China and South America.
What is Topten and its aims?
Topten provides consumers with at-a-glance, best-in-class listings for a variety of energy-using products, including fridges, washing machines, TVs, lighting and small household appliances.
Topten is a global initiative consisting of a family of national websites that allow consumers to view and compare the most efficient energy-using products available on their country.
By showcasing the best performing models, Topten provides a platform for manufacturers to demonstrate market leadership in using the most energy-saving technology across their product ranges.
Topten also monitors market transformation for each product by compiling data on the models available in each energy label class and makes this information available to consumers.
Topten UK is part of the Topten ACT project. This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 649647.
Why is market transformation important?
In the context of energy efficiency of energy-using products, market transformation refers to wholesale technological change to reduce the energy demand of such products.
Across the 27 EU member states, household electricity consumption represents 29% of total electricity consumption. In the UK, the amount of electricity we use to heat and light our homes and to power our domestic appliances has more than doubled since the 1970s. This not only costs us a lot more money, but also generates more than a quarter of all the UK’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.
Gradual technological change is making appliances more energy efficient but the pace of change is not enough to keep up with our ever-increasing demand for electricity. Moreover, for many product categories, the best energy-saving technology can be limited to a small number of models. Often only high-end models benefit from the best available energy-saving innovations.
For example, in late 2012, only 11 refrigerator models were on sale in the UK that qualified for the most efficient A+++ rating, compared with 1,291 models in the third A+ label class.
Refrigerators: Number of models per energy efficiency class, November 2012
We know that market transformation is taking place when more and more products on sale qualify for the highest energy efficiency label and the number of less efficient models is decreasing.
How can we help make market transformation happen?
A number of things will help make market transformation happen, including regulation for minimum energy efficiency requirements, energy labelling and consumer demand for highly efficient products.
The introduction of the EU Energy Label has created an incentive for manufacturers to use the best available technology (BAT) in their products. For example, two years ago the first TVs complying with the then newly announced A Class of the EU Energy Label emerged on the market. Now the first A++ class models are available, which use almost 50% less energy than the most energy efficient TVs previously available.
The EU Eco-Design Directive for Energy-related Products was introduced to set minimum energy efficiency standards for all energy-related products where technological innovations can make a significant difference to the amount of energy used during operation. The measures introduced as part of this directive are estimated to reduce energy consumption across the 27 EU member states by about 10% by 2020. This would contribute 50% to the 2020 target to cut energy use in the EU by one fifth.
Manufacturers also listen to their customers. It’s therefore important for consumers to demand more products that are highly energy efficient by default – to help them save money and be environmentally friendly. When more consumers buy for the most energy efficient products this is a powerful incentive for manufacturers to produce more models that feature the best available energy-saving technology.
How are the Topten listings compiled?
Common to all Topten websites is a rigorous selection methodology for each product group based on existing EU regulation and international energy measurement standards. Product information provided by manufacturers is independently verified by the national Topten teams and selection criteria are published on the website.
Topten product listings are compiled by looking at the market for a specific product category, such as fridge-freezers or TVs. Each product category is split into sub-categories by size or capacity. These can range from several hundred to more than 1,000 models across the different brands available.
The ten or so best performing models from each sub-category are then selected by filtering the overall list. To qualify for the listing, models have to comply with a set of rigorous selection criteria developed by the Topten partner organisations across Europe.
The main selection factor is the Energy Efficiency Index (EEI) rating of the model. The EEI considers energy consumption and typical usage patterns for the specific product and is intended to allow comparison of different technologies used across individual models,
while removing the impact of a number of factors such as the size of the appliance and specific product features and functions. The closer the value of EEI is to zero, the more efficient the appliance.
Manufacturers are required to provide this type of information to the regulatory authorities in compliance with the EU Energy Labelling and Energy-related Products Directives. Once the best performing models have been identified, the Topten team verifies the product declaration for each model.
The sole responsibility for the content of this website lies with the authors. It does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the European Union. Neither the EASME nor the European Commission are responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained therein.
Whilst we endeavour to ensure that the information on this website is correct, we do not warrant its completeness or accuracy. To the extent that the website and the information and services on the website are provided free of charge, we will not be liable for any loss or damage of any nature resulting from the use of the information provided.
 The Energy Efficiency Index of the best performing model on the European market improved from 0.3 to 0.16. However, the best performing model on sale in the UK were 5 A++ rated models (December 2012). http://www.Topten.eu/uploads/File/Newsletters/Topten%20Focus%20TVs%20June%2012.pdf, June 2012