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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Interim findings of an evaluation of the U.S. EnergyGuide label

  • Author(s): Egan, Christine
  • Payne, Christopher T.
  • Thorne, Jennifer
  • et al.

The United States has labeled appliances with the EnergyGuide labels since 1980. Consensus is growing that this label is confusing to consumers and has little impact on purchase decisions. Many researchers have documented that alternative labeling approaches are effective in other countries. The authors comprehensively evaluated the U.S. appliance labeling program for white goods, heating and cooling equipment, and water heaters, with emphasis on products sold through retail outlets. To date, our research has included consumer focus groups and semi-structured interviews with various market actors to assess how best to communicate energy information. With consumers and retail sales staff, five graphical designs were tested a European-style, letter based graphic; an Australian-style star-based graphic; a speedometer-style graphic; a thermometer-style graphic; and the current U.S. style. With manufacturers and contractors, we did not directly test alternate designs. Instead, we asked their opinion of and experience with the current EnergyGuide labeling program.

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