Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) conducted a survey in the spring on the Energy Star high efficiency symbol. A presentation based on the survey results was made during NRCan's Energy Star participants meeting held on May 26 in Montreal.

The presentation on "Assigning Value to Energy Star - a Brand for Energy Efficiency" addressed the dilemma of promoting energy-efficient products in an environment where first cost is often the primary motivator over energy savings. The presenter also provided successful case studies on how Energy Star is currently promoted in the U.S. The following are highlights of the presentation.


The environment is rated the third most important issue facing Canada today, at 10 percent, behind health care (24 percent) yet ahead of the economy (9 percent), unemployment (4 percent), and education (3 percent).

Public Attitudes

Eighty-two percent of Canadians describe themselves as being either somewhat, definitely, or extremely personally concerned about the issue of climate change.

Ninety percent felt a responsibility to the next generation to "do all we can to correct climate change."

Electricity Usage

In Canada, appliances (including electronics and computers) account for 14 percent of total energy in the residential sector, a principal source of greenhouse gases.

Energy Star Awareness

Forty percent of Canadians are aware of the Energy Star symbol in aided recall. This is up from pre-Energy Star launch aided awareness of only 26 percent in October 2001. The goal is to move this into the 60-80 percent range.

Awareness of Energy Star is highest among those with intent to buy a product in a labeled category in the next 12 months. Canadians between ages 35 and 54 are most aware of Energy Star, with men generally more aware than women.

Canadians living in urban communities are more likely to be aware of Energy Star than those living in rural areas.

Barriers In The Canadian Market

The most prominent barrier facing the Energy Star campaign in Canada is awareness (including lack of information and understanding).

Other factors include:

  • Affordability - many Canadians believe that the initial higher cost of the Energy Star product would only return small financial savings after 3 or 4 years.

  • Acceptance - unproven products (possibly less durable or more costly to repair) and reluctance to replace still functioning products.

    Canadians also identified a lack of product availability and selection.

    While most Canadians described themselves as sensitive to environmental issues, they noted it was not a major consideration when purchasing products.

    Understanding the concept of energy efficiency was poor and the link between saving money, energy, and the environment was considered a new concept.


    The key drivers that manufacturers should capitalize on include:

  • Energy Star as a global brand;

  • Rising energy prices; and

  • Consumer attitudes to environmental issues.

    The challenge is to effectively communicate the energy efficient/environmentally superior link to influence buying behaviour.

    For more information or to receive a copy of this presentation, contact Caroline Czajko at the Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada (HRAI) office at 800-267-2231 or 905-602-4700, ext. 234, or e-mail

    Publication date: 07/19/2004