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Consumers expect products to be durable, safe, easy to use, and perform as advertised.

Boy Selecting Eco Program on Washing Machine

On average, home appliances are only replaced every ten to twenty years, meaning manufacturers must leverage innovation and big data to incentivize consumers into upgrading their products. A key driver has been the addition of consumer platforms and features that cultivate consumer interest and encourage the purchase of newer models. For many home appliance manufacturers, this has meant the introduction of the ‘eco mode’.

The ‘eco mode’ is popular with consumers because it promises the twin attributes of ensuring efficacy while decreasing running costs. The boast of an ‘eco mode’ on an appliance that, for example, “reduces energy”, takes “less time”, or has a “cold water cycle”, is a justification for increased overall value.

Many eco-buttons focus on energy efficacy. The use of energy efficient products can greatly reduce household costs, in large part due to the ENERGY STARTM program. Household appliances make up 13% of the total energy costs in a home. The effectiveness of ‘eco mode’ domestic appliances can be seen in household refrigerators. Since 2000, they have contributed to a reduction of up to 60% in domestic energy usage.

Do Consumers Use the Eco Button?

The problem is: many end-consumers admit that, while they have a product with an eco-button, they don’t use it. Why?

Complaints from end-consumers often center around the ineffective performance of the eco-button program. If consumer expectations are not being reached by the eco-button, they will cease to use it. Most categories of household appliance have received complaints, for example:

  • Television sets – reduced power setting rendering them barely visible
  • Clothes dryers – leaving clothes not fully dry
  • Dishwashers – unclean dishes, food residue and very wet plates

End-consumers rightly argue that power savings are lost if the cycle must be run multiple times. This also increases frustration among consumers and wastes time.

Choosing the Right Product

Not all ‘eco modes’ are equal and not all ‘eco modes’ fail to meet consumer expectations. Many brands have had great success in creating products that match promises and exceed expectations. To help promote better performance during the ‘eco mode’, ENERGY STARTM has recently started to include minimum performance parameters among the specifications for some appliance types.

The effect of poor performance by a household appliance can mean more to a manufacturer than one unhappy customer. Word will spread quickly about a television set you can’t watch or a dishwasher that doesn’t wash, and this will inform the decisions of other consumers. The reputation of a manufacturer can be severely damaged if it does not ensure performance is maintained alongside the marketing gains of introducing an eco-button.

SGS Solutions: Performance Testing

SGS offers bespoke performance testing programs to allow manufacturers to independently test their household appliances. Using our set performance testing parameters and product benchmarking as a guide, manufacturers can define the parameters of the test, ensuring the products are tested in the way they want.

Utilizing our independent third-party performance testing services gives manufacturers the confidence to know they are supplying high-quality products that meet expectations on performance and protect reputations.

For further information on SGS Performance Testing services, please contact:

Douglas Czerwonka
Global Technical Manager
CRS Electrical & Electronics
SGS North America Inc.
Suwanee Laboratory
t: +1 201 508 3000