Nearly 7 million televisions are sold in Germany each year, more than 99 per cent of its approximately 40 million households have a fridge - and there are a host of other electrical appliances which use electricity for many hours each day. There is enormous potential to save energy here - if as many households as possible use particularly low-consumption appliances. In order to achieve this, the National Top Runner Initiative (NTRI) is addressed equally at consumers, retailers and manufacturers of efficient appliances. This is the only way in which energy consumption can be reduced on a long-term basis.

In the NTRI context, the German government wants to see energy-efficient and high-quality appliances ("top runners") brought to market more quickly, so that market penetration can be accelerated. This can make a crucial contribution to the success of the energy transition, as low-consumption equipment significantly boosts energy efficiency and cuts energy consumption.

Tips for consumers

Consumers will be given targeted information on energy-efficient products and how these products can be used to save energy. This is to make consumers more aware of the issue of energy efficiency and raise demand for energy-efficient products.

Whether it's a fridge or a washing machine: energy-efficient appliances save cash and help to mitigate climate change. The NTRI's consumer campaign makes it clear that it pays off to buy a modern electrical appliance. A broad range of services and a database help people to find the most energy-efficient equipment. And other hints and tips help consumers to reduce the electricity consumption of their household and electrical appliances.

Support for dealers

The NTRI helps dealers to advertise the added value of energy-efficient products and to promote sales of top runner products.

Good advice from specialist retailers helps customers to understand how energy-efficient products deliver more convenience and pay off. The NTRI offers retailers comprehensive information about the EU energy label, the efficiency of appliances and related benefits. The NTRI's network of dealers can be used by retailers to share information and questions about energy efficiency and to broaden their expertise.

Motivation for manufacturers

Manufacturers also need to do their bit. They need to continuously develop and enhance technology and provide fresh ideas that will help improve energy efficiency. This is crucial as even though a product may seem extremely efficient today, it may be considered a big energy guzzler tomorrow.

Demand for energy-efficient and high-quality equipment is growing. The NTRI uses networking events and the sharing of ideas to motivate manufacturers to (further) develop new energy-efficient products and thus to position themselves on the market. The Initiative also provides information about new rules and developments in the field of energy efficiency.

Further to this, a series of meetings on product efficiency offers consumers, dealers, manufacturers and other stakeholders the chance to engage in dialogue and spark off new developments. Both manufacturers and dealers benefit from this.

Support network

Representatives of all the important stakeholder groups have signalled their support for the NTRI objectives. These groups include the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK), the German Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers' Association (ZVEI), Bitkom, the German Industry Initiative for Energy Efficiency (DENEFF), the German Retail Trade Association (HDE), the Federation of German Consumer Organisations (VZBV) and Bund für Umwelt und Naturschutz Deutschland (Friends of the Earth Germany). The organisations have issued a joint statement, in which they pledge to drive forward the development and sale of energy-efficient products and the energy-efficient use of these products.

This initiative will help to considerably raise energy efficiency and in turn reduce energy consumption, thus making a key contribution to implementing the energy transition. At the end of the day, energy efficiency really pays off.

Part the National Action Plan on Energy Efficiency

The National Top Runner Initiative was launched on 1 January 2016 and is being continuously enhanced in close dialogue with consumers, retailers and manufacturers. The launch event was held on 14 June 2016 at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.

The National Top Runner Initiative is an important element within the Federal Government's National Action Plan on Energy Efficiency (NAPE). The Action Plan seeks to reduce primary energy consumption in Germany by 20 % by 2020 compared with 2008, and by 50 % by 2050.

Further information (in German) can be found here.