A survey from the Carbon Trust that found buyers don’t trust the efficiency claims of manufacturers has seen a backlash over a lack of real-world data in the Energy Technology List (ETL).
One in three businesses in the survey said there was a lack of “credible information” about the energy efficiency of building services equipment and only 5 per cent said they had confidence in the claims made by manufacturers.
Respondents to the survey of 135 public- and private-sector organisations said poor-quality information about equipment was a “significant barrier” to energy savings. In addition, as many as two-thirds of respondents said they did not calculate the whole-life costs of equipment when making purchasing decisions.
The Carbon Trust reported that almost half of respondents were not aware of the ETL, which details equipment that qualifies for tax breaks through Enhanced Capital Allowances (ECA) because of its energy-saving potential.
Carbon Trust associate director Paul Huggins said: “The case for investing in better energy efficiency often seems blindingly obvious, but making good decisions depends on having good-quality, reliable information. In the past few months, the performance gap between manufacturers’ claims and real-world performance has become a prominent issue.”
He urged end-users to make more use of the ETL, which he said was “a valuable resource” providing a database of “independently tested, energy-saving equipment”.
Manufacturers however, have been critical of the ETL, saying it is neither effective nor achieving its aims of delivering energy efficiency.
David Pepper, managing director of boiler and water heater manufacturer Lochinvar, said: “It is not surprising that many end-users distrust the efficiency claims made by manufacturers, and the ETL is a big part of the problem. The Carbon Trust scheme still relies totally on performance data produced under ideal laboratory conditions using test methods designed to meet CE Mark standards that default to a ‘best case’ scenario.
“Specifiers rely on this data, but it regularly produces results that may be a long way away from what the system produces in the field.”
Mr Pepper urged them instead to use data produced for the Ecodesign Directive, which has been coming into force for a variety of products over the past year.
Mr Pepper said: “The ErPD testing regime is far more rigorous than that used for CE marking, and much closer to performance criteria rather than ideal test house conditions.”