Scientific analysis of the development of energy consumption and measures to improve product-related energy efficiency

The efficiency of energy-using products has much improved over the last 15 years. Nevertheless, European and national energy and climate targets require major additional energy savings efforts. This project has produced impact assessments of existing measures, delivered estimates of energy savings potentials and made proposals for new measures to reduce the energy consumption of products. It thus supported the German government's National Top Runner Initiative (NTRI), which aims to promote the market penetration of energy-saving products.

In the first part of the project, we assessed impact in terms of energy savings of EU eco-design and energy labelling for six selected product groups. These include boilers and water heaters, lighting, electric motors, household refrigerators and freezers and ventilation systems. Unlike most previous assessments, the study delivered a retrospective account based on actual sales or performance data, wherever possible. The estimates thus shed light on energy saving effects at national level. Overall, they show robust primary energy and CO2 emission savings - but also that the national savings are lower than if we applied the EU-28 projections to Germany. A more ambitious design of ecodesign and energy labelling regulations could generate additional savings between 2020 and 2030.

A second part of the study identified European and national fields of action. We examined policy options and made recommendations for implementation. The focus was on five product groups: air conditioning and ventilation systems, heating systems, taps and shower heads, lighting and TV sets. There were also three cross-sectional topics: Further development of European energy labelling, legal permissibility of national standards for energy-related products (beyond ecodesign and labelling) and reducing electricity consumption through behavioural economic instruments on electricity bills.

Besides the impulses for the National Top Runner Strategy, project findings contributed to the new EU Framework Regulation on Energy Labelling and to the design of revised EU energy labels. In addition, the project supported political processes for a possible European label for taps and shower heads. Last but not least, European labelling approaches have been transferred to national policies for air conditioning and ventilation systems in existing buildings. Here, national label developments have shown that it is possible and sensible to extend energy labelling from products to systems and from new to existing installations: such energy labels for systems can address considerable savings potentials.


© for all labels: Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy



Weiß, U., Werle, M., Fischer, C. (2019): Evolutions of energy labelling: lessons from German energy labels for air-conditioning and ventilation. Proc. eceee Summer Study, Giens. Available under:

Weiß, U., Fischer, C., Baron, Y., Blepp, M., Brischke, L-A., Gensch, C.-O., Hesse, T., Keimeyer, F., Leuser, L., Rüdenauer, I., Schmolck, B., Stratmann, B., Sutter, J., Werle, M., Woywode, A. (2018): Wissenschaftliche Untersuchung der Energieverbrauc


March 2015 – June 2018


Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi)


Öko-Institut e.V.

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