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FAQ - PRODUCT RATINGS

Consumers   |   Manufacturers   |   Retailers  |   GO TO HOME RATINGS FAQ

 

Q:  Why make energy labels for products?

A:  Consumers want to know more about the products they buy.  Energy use drives operating cost for many appliances. Yet for years there has been no source of this information available for the vast majority of popular electrical appliance product categories. EPA’s EnergyStar program only covers a fraction of the household or office electronics a family or business purchases in a year.  Before you buy, you want to know how much energy products will use, how much you should expect to pay for that, where your products come from, and how well they work.  With that information, we believe consumers will make better choices about their products –purchasing more energy efficient appliances that will save them money and reduce the country’s energy consumption.  Whether you’re concerned about reducing your energy bills, local air pollution, or carbon emissions, we hope you will find our labels informative and useful in making purchasing decisions.

 

 

Q:  How did you come up with your process?

A:  We spent two years perfecting our 10 Step methodology.  By consulting with leading experts in energy usage, lifecycle analysis, resource use, government, environmental science and consumer education, we have developed the best, most comprehensive rating system available.

 

 

Q:  Who pays you to rate products?

A:  Retailers who sell the appliances we evaluate. These retailers want to provide a service to their customers and help them make educated choices about their purchases.  Retailers sell a selection of brands and having one rating system across an entire category of shelf products simplifies the shopping process.  We also sell subscriptions to consumers and businesses that access the data online.  Our company is independent and our data is certified to ensure there is no potential for conflict of interest that could undermine the fairness of results.

 

 

Q:  How do you update your process?    ( TOP )

A:  We regularly solicit stakeholder opinions from the public, business and environmental groups to gather their input and ensure our methodology incorporates the latest thinking.  If you have comments or suggestions, please let us know.

 

 

Q:  How does your label compare to other labels out there?

A:  We use the best available data to create ratings across entire product categories that shoppers can use to make better decisions. For many products, we do the testing at our own independent labs. For other products we use independent third party lab tested results. When independent lab results are unavailable, we provide the best available information so consumers can still make informed decisions, and always disclose the data source.  We don’t consolidate all data into subjective grades; we provide actual data on the aspects you care most about – energy cost per year, energy usage, and other environmental performance issues so you can see how the product measures up against its competitors in those categories.  Like a nutrition label, we let you decide what’s important to you – whether you’re an “energy cost saver” or an “environmental warrior” you can choose the product that matches your priorities, without having us impose our values on you.

 

 

Q:  Why don’t you just give out one grade for each product?

A:  People have different priorities when buying a product, and we want you to be able to get the information that is most important to you. So we don’t consolidate all data into subjective grades; we provide actual data on the aspects you care most about – energy cost per year, energy usage, and other environmental performance issues allowing you to see how the product measures up against its competitors in those categories.  Like a nutrition label, we let you decide what’s important to you – whether you’re an “energy cost saver” or an “environmental warrior” you can choose the product that matches your priorities, without having us impose our values on you.

 

 

Q:  How can I trust your ratings and data?

A:  We believe that the integrity of our ratings is our biggest asset.  That’s why we’ve instituted policies throughout our company that protect the data, ensure our lab’s independence, and eliminate manufacturers’ ability to influence the results.  First, whenever possible we use independent third-party laboratory data to create our ratings. Since this data is not always available, some products’ ratings are based on the best available information – and the source of this data is always disclosed at the bottom of Savenia Labs Energy Rating labels and on our smartphone website. We also use a color-coding system on our labels to help shoppers quickly identify independent lab tested data. Independent data labels are dark green, while other data sources are off white. Second, we do not accept product donations or discounts – all of the products we buy come straight off a store shelf – and we release our results publicly without manufacturers’ preclearance. Third, we work with top experts in the field like the world’s leading CALCE Electronics Lifecycle Testing Laboratory at the University of Maryland.  We use real-life usage data for testing and analysis based on actual user surveys – so we factor in how you use the product and not theoretical assumptions..

 

 

Q:  How do you rate the top products?   ( TOP )

A:   The top product in each data category (i.e. annual energy use) is rated 100. The top 25% of products on any single criterion are highlighted in green on our mobile website so you can easily find those products rated 75 to 100.  We measure the top 25% using a ‘compared to best in category method’.  So if the top-performing product for energy consumption uses 100-kilowatt hours per year and is rated 100, any unit that uses between 100 and 125-kilowatt hours per year would attain our top 25% rating.  The rest would be rated on a scale of 0-100 as a ratio of their energy usage to the top performer.

 

 

Q:  Where can I find your labels?

A:  Our labels can be found in our partner retail locations. To see all participating retail locations please check our website.  You can also get ratings and more information online through your smartphone at www.savenialabs.com.  If there is no participating retailer close to you – let your favorite retailer know you’d like to see Savenia Labs Energy Ratings in the store.

 

 

Q:  Do you provide product information online?

A:  Yes.  We provide significant product information for free on our mobile website optimized for smartphones at www.savenialabs.com.  If you’d like to see more results about the products we’ve tested, you can subscribe for a small fee and see many premium features including category rankings – how a product measures up against its peers and much more.  Savenia Labs Energy Rating labels in stores are outfitted with QR codes to make it easy for you to navigate our mobile site while shopping.

 

 

Q:  How often are your labels updated?

A:  We maintain a dynamic database – as products change or a new product becomes more popular, we update our database to reflect the most recent accurate data.  Since our labels are printed on site with location specific information, in store displays are changed frequently.   All online data reflects the most recent data from our labs.

 

 

Q:  Are your labels the same across the country?   ( TOP )

A:  No.  While energy usage and product composition is the same across the country, energy price data, CO2 emissions data, and distance from manufacturing location all depend on where the product is ultimately used so our system incorporates these local data sources.

 

 

Q:  Are you a nonprofit?

A:  We are a for-profit company with a mission – to independently test and report on the environmental impact of products, and work to ensure that the provision of this information contributes to wider awareness, better-informed consumers and sound purchasing decisions.  We aim to empower individuals and businesses with information so they can decide how best to integrate sustainable approaches into their daily lives.  Our mission is front and center, and this is ingrained in our company’s bylaws, which stipulate that our business decisions must take stakeholders such as our community, society and the environment into account, in addition to profit.  Our company’s social and environmental commitments are audited to ensure that they are rigorous.  We decided to organize as a socially responsible for-profit because of the agility this status gives our company.  We can more easily form business partnerships and scale our model – and that ultimately helps us achieve our goals of educating consumers and improving the environmental performance of the products we review.

 

 

Q:  Who conducts your lab testing?

A:   Savenia Labs tests many product categories at the University of Maryland’s Center for Advanced LifeCycle Engineering (CALCE), the world’s premier electronic products and systems research center focused on electronics reliability. We also utilize data from verified independent 3rd party laboratories that meet our strict criteria. When independent lab results are unavailable, we provide the best available information so consumers can still make informed decisions and we prominently disclose these data sources on every label. Savenia Labs also works with other top class experts in various scientific disciplines to bring the latest thinking to our work.

 

 

Q:  How do you decide what products to test? What’s coming next?

A:  We want to test products that consumers see most commonly on the shelves or online and help them choose the best. Our goal is to make our labels a win-win-win for consumers, retailers, and forward thinking manufacturers.  We look to all three to provide guidance on what products to test next.  If you have a suggestion, please let us know by emailing info@savenialabs.com.

 

 

Q:  How many years have you been doing this?   ( TOP )

A:   Savenia Labs was founded in 2009 and spent two years perfecting its methodology.  We launched our in-store labels in fall 2011. In 2012, we expanded to stores across 3 states and plan to expand far beyond in the near future.

 

 

Q:  Where is Savenia Labs located?

A:  Savenia Labs is located in the city of Bethesda, Montgomery County Maryland.  Montgomery County is next door to the nation’s capital and home to over 250 biotech companies and the National Institutes of Health, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the Food and Drug Administration. Our partner lab is located in College Park, Maryland at the University of Maryland.

 

 

Q:  How do I report an error in the data?

A:  While we consistently strive to provide the most accurate, up to date information, it is possible that there is an error in some of our data.  If you believe you’ve found an error, please let us know by contacting us at info@savenialabs.com.  We appreciate your support. 

 

 

Q:  Do you include the environmental impact of manufacturing products and shipment to retail locations?

A:  For the products we have tested, energy consumption from using the product over its lifetime accounts for the vast majority (80-90%) of the energy usage required to manufacture, ship, and use the product.  This represents the greatest potential for energy conservation and we report those numbers so consumers can make an educated decision on how best to reduce their energy bills.  We provide independent 3rd party ratings on the manufacturers’ climate change activities and also an estimate on shipping mileage for several product categories on our mobile website if these are areas that are important to you.

 

 

Q:  Do you include other greenhouse gases in your global warming impact?   ( TOP )

A:  Yes – when we report greenhouse gases we include all the major greenhouse gases and report them as carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e).  This gives an accurate picture of the climate change impact of a product’s energy consumption.

 

 

Q:  How accurate is your energy data?

A:  Our energy data is accurate to +/- 2.5%. 


For Manufacturers


Q:  I have additional data I would like Savenia Labs to review about our products that could help your evaluation.

A:  We will consider any data you feel could be important to our evaluation. Please send details to info@savenialabs.com.

 

 

Q:  How do I get you to review my product?

A:  Please contact Savenia Labs for more information.

 

 

Q:  What if I want to directly print your label onto my product’s packaging?   ( TOP )

A:  Please contact Savenia Labs for more information.

 

 

Q:  How do I increase my product’s scores on your label?

A:  Our label captures the raw data from our testing laboratory. Any manufacturer can improve their score by making their product more energy efficient while maintaining performance, using recycled and renewable packaging materials, and improving their environmental policies and corporate footprint.

 

For Retailers


Q:  What’s the benefit of putting Savenia labels in my stores?

A:  Our labels help improve your business in three ways: increased sales, enhanced customer loyalty, and improved social responsibility.  First, when shoppers are better informed with product information they really want, they are more likely to place your store at the top of the list when considering a new appliance purchase. Energy cost information speaks to shoppers of all ages – whether they are looking to save money or do something for the environment.  Your store becomes a browsing, learning, and buying one-stop shop in a single customer visit – a big advantage over the store across the street without our labels.  Second, our labels enhance your store’s reputation as a straight talking, all about the customer store, giving your customers a reason to come back for all their shopping needs.  Finally, by giving your customers and your suppliers the information to act more sustainably, you are doing a good deed for the planet.

 

 

Q:  Who makes the labels?

A:  Savenia Labs provides the labels to retailers to cover the products they have on their shelves and to take account of regional environmental impact factors where the store is located.

 

 

Q:  How do I get your labels in my store?   ( TOP )

A:  Contact Savenia Labs at info@SaveniaLabs.com.

 

Others


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Q:  I found an error in the data. How do I report it?

A:  Savenia Labs is dedicated to accuracy, and we appreciate notification of any inaccuracy. You can easily report problems or errors, or make suggestions by contacting us at info@SaveniaLabs.com.

 

 

Q:  Have a question that’s not answered here?

A:  If you don’t find an answer to your question here, you can submit it to us at info@savenialabs.com.