Energy efficiency as a selling point: National Top Runner Initiative launched in Berlin

On 14 June, the German federal government and representatives from industry, retail, and consumer and environmental organisations kicked off the NTRI. Its goal is to make consumers more aware of how to use electric appliances efficiently. adelphi is leading and coordinating the project. 


Through the NTRI, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) seeks to expand the market share of energy efficient appliances and to create more awareness among consumers about the savings to be gained from trading up for a more energy efficient appliance and from using appliances more efficiently. Critical to its success is the involvement of central stakeholders in the activities of the initiative, as explained by Rainer Baake, State Secretary at the BMWi, in his opening address at the NTRI launch conference, which took place in Berlin on 14 June.

In the run-up to the conference, the NTRI had already had success in mobilising a broad network of supporters: the so-called “Alliance for Product Efficiency”, consisting of the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DIHK), the German Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers’ Association (ZVEI), Bitkom, the German Retail Federation (HDE), The Federation of German Consumer Organisations (vzbv), the Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND), and the Deutsche Unternehmensinitiative Energieeffizienz (DENEFF). State Secretary Rainer Baake and representatives of this alliance signed a joint declaration affirming their engagement for the goals of the NTRI. 

Supporters: Increasing transparency and integrating consumers’ needs

In the course of three workshops, the conference participants discussed concrete approaches for how the goals of the NTRI can be attained. The three groups generally agreed upon the importance of increasing transparency by providing consumers with more information and advisory services in order to support the spread of highly efficient products. They saw great potential in increasing communication between manufacturers and consumers with the goal of consistently integrating consumers’ needs in the further development of products, thus unleashing previously untapped potential savings. In future, a shared exchange between politics, retail, manufacturers, and consumer and environmental protection advocates is to be carried forward as a fixed component of the NTRI in the form of a dialogue series. adelphi will conceptualise and organise this event format.

Educating consumers: New online offers and improved advice

In parallel to the public kick-off, the NTRI’s first offers are being rolled out: Beginning immediately, consumers will be able to quickly and easily search for the most efficient appliances and get information on their energy consumption and costs at In addition, the NTRI Retail Network was founded in May. The network, made up of businesses and retailers’ organisations, seeks to establish an exchange on how sales advice can be further improved with a focus on energy efficiency. In this way, consumers should be able to get improved information on how much money they can save using energy efficient appliances. To that end, network members will discuss planned NTRI activities such as trainings, point-of-sale activities, and advising assistance on the EU label.

adelphi is leading and coordinating the entire NTRI project and is thus also responsible for ensuring regular dialogue and knowledge exchange between all stakeholders. The launch conference was conceptualised and organised in this framework.