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A Multi-Country Comparative Evaluation of Labeling Research


This paper was to be presented at ECEEE 2005 Summer Study, France, 30 May - 4 June.  Reports on work to date regarding label research. For organizational purposes, the paper splits the available research into four categories:

research to design a label from first principles;

  1. research to inform an a priori label selection;
  2. hybrids of the first two; and 
  3. research to amend an existing label.


Some 73 countries comprising a combined population of 4.9 billion have or are implementing energy efficiency information labels for appliances. Some labels have been designed through research and some have not. This paper presents a comparative evaluation of the market research completed to design new, and evaluate existing, energy information labeling programs in: Australia, China, the European Union (EU), Ghana, India, Mexico, South Africa, Tunisia and the USA. Taking into account the methodological approaches adopted the paper: a) catalogues individual findings; and b) synthesizes common lessons learned across the varied projects. Results that appear to be true regardless of cultural or economic context are emphasized to arrive at "common truths" of labeling design and evaluation research.

The findings provide documentation and evidence of the importance of conducting consumer market research when designing a new energy label or modifying an existing one. Some spectacular actual or potential failures are highlighted when this has not been the case. The paper serves as an inventory of work in the field of information labeling design research as well as a best practice guide for policymakers interested in undertaking evaluations of existing labeling schemes. 
Authors: Christine Egan, CLASP; Paul Waide, International Energy Agency (IEA)

Information from: European Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (eceee)