CLEAR-X collective purchase scheme launches a new wave of home energy efficiency
With energy bills soaring and inflation on the increase across Europe, finding ways to save and generate energy is more important than ever. The CLEAR-X project funded by EU-Horizon 2020 is making this happen by running several collective purchase schemes for energy efficient products and renewable energy technology in the home. As well as saving money, consumers will become an active part of Europe’s transition to renewable energy and help decrease its reliance on fossil fuels.
Collective purchasing empowers consumers
Collective, or group, purchase schemes bring together a critical mass of potential customers so they have greater bargaining power to negotiate better prices and conditions with suppliers.
The CLEAR-X scheme builds on previously successful multi-country projects which ran 17 collective purchase campaigns, delivered 29,000 renewable energy installations, and led to an estimated annual production of 246 GWh of renewable energy. This latest phase of the project is benefiting up to 38,000 additional consumers in Lithuania, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Portugal, North Macedonia, Slovakia and Slovenia.
CLEAR-X is just one example of collective purchasing schemes which are transforming consumer energy choices across Europe. Euroconsumers BeXt awards this week will be discussing collective purchases, including CLEAR-X and Altroconsumo’s long running Abbassa La Bolletta (Lower your bill) group purchase programme. Now the 7th edition is underway with more than 80,000 subscribers and 6,500 new energy contracts. Since 2013 the campaign has reached 600,000 consumers and triggered 168,000 contracts.
CLEAR-X makes low-cost home energy efficiency a reality
Making investments in technology and new efficient products can be daunting, and with so many brands claiming green credentials it’s not easy to choose the best option.
Applying consumer organisations’ practical experience in product testing and behavior change to make it simpler for people to transition to renewable energy sources and more efficient products.
Consumers who sign up will not only get a specially negotiated lower group price but will be guided through the whole process of purchase, installation and advice after installation. They are offered only the best products on the market based on extensive quality-testing by ICRT (an international consortium of consumer testing organisations) and the specific needs and preferences of consumers in the different countries.
Heat pump tumble dryer collective purchase opens in Slovenia
This month saw the launch of the first CLEAR-X schemes in Slovenia where consumers will be able to take part in the collective purchase scheme of a heat-pump based tumble dryer run by leading Slovenian consumer organisation ZPS.
Dryers running on a heat pump use a lot less energy than conventional machines. An online calculator created by ZPS shows savings of approximately €80 per year and over 100 kg of carbon – an amount of CO2 that would take 8 trees a year to absorb. As part of the lab-based product testing, the heat-pump tumble dryers were also assessed for ease of use, noise and condensation levels.
The extensive lab-testing means only the highest quality products are offered to consumers, at a competitive price negotiated by ZPS in advance. Consumers also benefit from free delivery and the ongoing assistance of ZPS if anything did go wrong once it was installed.
Two more collective purchase schemes are set to follow soon after the launch in Slovenia. October 2023 will see a scheme for solar photovoltaic panels in Slovakia, followed by one in Lithuania in November.
Early next year, more schemes will be launched including Air-to-air heat pumps for air conditioning and Photovoltaic Panels in Cyprus, heat pumps for water heating in Slovakia and Air-to-air heat pumps for air cooling in North Macedonia and Bulgaria.
Solar power for the energy crisis
As well as innovative new products like heat-pump based tumble dryers, CLEAR-X offer purchase schemes for air conditioners based on more eco-friendly air-to-air heat pumps, water heating heat pumps and solar panels.
Solar panels are particularly important as generating energy this way cushions consumers from the volatile prices of imported gas and helps to build up Europe’s energy security.
CLEAR-X is also working hard at the policy level to propose changes to planning laws where they might be holding back progress on installing solar panels, for example on apartment blocks.
Practical tools for consumers at a time of energy crisis
In these times of energy crisis, everyone should be able to contribute to generating renewable energy and in reducing the amount of energy they use. But finding the right way to do this is not easy, collective purchase schemes guided by trusted and knowledgeable consumer organisaitons on the ground have a vital role to play in getting the best quality and most energy positive products into consumers’ homes. Deco Proteste as part of Euroconsumers is proud to work with a consortium of consumer groups to make this a reality across the continent.
There are nine organisations taking part in the CLEAR-X project. Seven are national consumer organisations: ALCO (Lithuania), BNAAC (Bulgaria), CCA (Cyprus), DECO Proteste (Portugal), OPM (North Macedonia), SOS (Slovakia), ZPS (Slovenia). The others are: BEUC the European umbrella network of consumer organisations, and ICRT, an international consortium of consumer organisations for research and testing of consumer products and services.