Manufacturers and retailers of household appliances, heating or insulation systems play a central role in the market as they offer those products necessary to lower energy consumption. Furthermore manufacturers and retailers play an important role in shaping purchasing decisions. They inform consumers about the characteristics of their products, thus having an important role in "convincing" consumers to take efficiency features into account when deciding between different products. There are some challenges to projects targeting or cooperating with manufacturers and retailers:
- Manufacturers and retailers may be perceived as biased by their customers (e.g. construction companies or end-users).
- Some business sectors (e.g. the construction sector) are traditionally rather conservative and not likely to experiment with new solutions
- In many cases higher production costs for energy efficient products lead to a higher unit price of these products (compared to less efficient alternatives). Since many consumers do not consider the running costs (e.g. for electricity) of an appliance when taking a purchase decision there is still a trend to buy cheap, inefficient equipment.
These challenges can be addressed by considering the following:
- Supplement information from manufacturers and retailers with information provided by independent energy advisers/consultants, who also draw customer attention beyond purchasing also to running cost
- Provide ‘conservative’ sectors with best practice examples of successful experimentation elsewhere