Environmental issues have undeniably come to the fore in recent years. Topics such as carbon emissions, waste reduction and energy conservation are now a central part of the political and commercial agenda in every country. Whilst this trend has created its own unique set of financial pressures for businesses and householders alike, it also represents a major opportunity for companies to develop products and services that can help.
VPhase, part of the Energetix Group, has developed an energy-saving device for domestic premises, which uses the concept of voltage optimisation to significantly reduce electricity costs for householders. By “smoothing” fluctuations and lowering output voltage moderately, the VPhase unit delivers typical cost savings of 17% on fridges and freezers, and 15% on lighting. All of this is achieved using a compact device that can be installed at minimal cost and requires no change in consumer behaviour.
Although voltage optimisation has been used in industrial settings for many years, adapting the technology for use in the home is a significant development. VPhase has made significant inroads in bringing the product to market in the UK, and has teamed with British Gas and Scottish and Southern Energy to offer the technology to their customers. Moreover, VPhase has recently begun selling the VPhase unit directly to householders and the trade.
Given the success of the unit in the UK, VPhase naturally wished to explore opportunities for introducing the device to the European market. Business-to-business market research specialist B2B International was commissioned to conduct a Europe-wide market assessment exercise, designed to appraise the size and nature of the opportunity for selling the product more widely. The research used a combination of extensive desk research and in-depth expert interviews with parties responsible for marketing and distributing energy efficiency products right across the continent.
Results found that there was significant groundswell amongst consumers for taking energy efficiency measures in their homes and that the promise of pain-free, consistent savings in both electricity use and CO2 emissions was especially valuable. The research also revealed that Northern European countries, with higher relative electricity costs, greater average consumption of electricity, and supportive governmental incentives for adopting energy efficiency measures, were especially attractive for launching the product.
B2B International’s research manager Oliver Truman, who directed the project, believes that the positive reaction to VPhase is indicative of a wider shift in attitudes towards environmental products: “We found that it wasn’t just publicly-funded energy efficiency bodies that showed enthusiasm for the product. The commercial sector, particularly large utility companies, have embraced the energy efficiency agenda whole-heartedly and were keen to learn more about what the VPhase product could do. So long as the energy-saving benefits of a product like VPhase are proven and well-communicated, consumers can rationally see the virtues of making an investment in energy efficiency”.
Lee Juby, CEO of VPhase, said: “The principles of voltage optimisation have been delivering energy savings to industrial and commercial buildings for many years. VPhase brings these savings to the home. I am looking forward to rolling out VPhase to many millions of customers across Europe”.