Power efficiency classes for households – a comparative feedback approach for speeding up energy efficiency on a household level

  • Dr. Immanuel Stieß
  • Dr. Corinna Fischer
  • Michael Kunkis
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Reducing power consumption is a vital building block for transforming the energy system. In the contribution, we will present insights from an ongoing research project “Power efficiency classes for households” studying how power consumption in households can be sustainably reduced and stabilized over the long term.

The approach uses the concept of efficiency classes to provide a comparative feedback on households’ total power consumption. The power efficiency classes of households are developed as an indicator for households to more easily estimate their total power consumption and better implement specific goals for saving power. The efficiency classes range from 1-7 – like the power label of the European Union –, with 1 being the best possible class, i.e. the lowest power consumption.

On this basis the power efficiency label pools the total power consumption of a household and assigns it a consumption class. A labelling process for particularly frugal households or households achieving a significant reduction in power use that is harmonized with this procedure makes things simple and transparent and thus increases the motivation to attain a better power efficiency class. An energy audit and corresponding power saving packages help households identify saving potentials in order to improve their power efficiency class. This approach is implemented in 100 selected households in cooperation with power companies and manufacturers of appliances in a field test. The aim of this test is to evaluate the households’ sensitization for their own power consumption and the suitability of the various power saving packages.

In the contribution, we will present the power efficiency classes for households and report results from the field test in the participating households. Against this background, we will discuss some implications for implementing and scaling-up sustainable consumption and production (SCP) practices in relation to sustainable energy use, to improve efficiency on a household level and to raise awareness for rebound effects.