ETL-logoUK: Customers don’t trust manufacturers’ efficiency claims and almost half have never heard of the UK’s Energy Technology List, a new report claims.

While companies have spent thousands of pounds in qualifying their products for the government’s Energy Technology List (ETL), a recent survey conducted by the Carbon Trust revealed that 45% of the 135 professionals surveyed across the public and private sector were not aware of its existence.

The ETL is a UK government scheme managed by the Carbon Trust on behalf of the Department for Energy and Climate Change. It independently tests and lists products that show top quartile energy saving performance. Product selected from the ETL list may be eligible for enhanced capital allowances, providing accelerated tax relief.

The world’s largest database of its kind, the ETL currently includes products across 57 technology categories. Over the lifetime of the ETL the Carbon Trust has assessed almost 60,000 products against scheme criteria.

“In the last few months the performance gap between manufacturer claims and real world performance has become a prominent issue,”  commented Paul Huggins, an associate director at the Carbon Trust who manages the ETL scheme. “This is why the ETL is such a valuable resource. It provides organisations with a vast database of independently tested energy saving equipment, where you can be confident of getting products that will deliver top quartile performance.”

The survey reveals that just 5% of those with responsibility for procuring energy consuming equipment for their organisations are very confident in the energy saving claims made by manufacturers, with a quarter (24%) not confident at all. One in three stated that a lack of credible information about equipment was a significant barrier to improving their organisation’s energy efficiency.

There was still an element of short-termism, with two-thirds of respondents not fully taking into account the whole life costs of equipment when making purchasing decisions.

Lighting is by some distance the most popular purchase, with nine out of ten organisations having invested in it over the past two years and 82% expecting further investment in the next 12 months. HVAC equipment was the second most popular investment at 56%.

The survey also found that the most significant barriers to improving an organisation’s energy efficiency are: making a business case for purchasing energy efficient equipment (57%); competing organisational priorities (50%); availability of finance (38%); risk of disruption to operations (35%); lack of credible information about products (33%); and finding good quality suppliers (32%).

“Organisations that want to save money on energy bills and cut carbon emissions should think carefully about the total cost of ownership for equipment,” said Paul Huggins. “The case for investing in better energy efficiency often seems blindingly obvious, but making good decisions depends on having good quality, reliable information.”