Pants on fire: bogus energy-saving product awards


Vilnis_Vesma_2015eThe “Pants on Fire” award recognises bad science in adverts for supposed energy-saving products. Nominations will be announced at the energy CPD event “Practical experience of energy management” on 16 June, writes Vilnis Vesma in this sponsored post.

Bogus energy-saving products have become a scourge but can be hard to identify with certainty. However, I reckon that any product which displays four or more of the following twelve hallmarks can safely be avoided: (1) failure to adhere to the known laws of science; (2) implausible percentage claims; (3) extreme ease of installation; (4) being aggressively dismissive of established test methods or expertise; (5) relying on strange indirect methods of measuring savings; (6) having secret ingredients or operating principles; (7) emphasising patents; (8) relying heavily on testimonials; (9) literature plastered with ISO9001 and other certification logos; (10) dense academic research reports; (11) name-dropping (NASA, Oxford University); and of course (12) pincer-movement sales tactics where you find your chief executive has been nobbled on the golf course.

Of all these, violation of the known laws of science is the only certain sign, but who can remember their school science? If you need it I provide a free on-line basic science course. Designed for complete beginners and limited to the context of energy, it can be done in bite-sized instalments but only takes two to three hours to complete.

Meanwhile I do what I can to disrupt the purveyors of dodgy solutions. For example I have inaugurated the “Pants on Fire” awards to draw attention to scientific falsehoods in adverts. Nominations will be announced in the closing session of a conference I am organising for energy managers in Birmingham on 16 June. The event, entitled Practical Experience of Energy Management, features ten talks with question-and-answer sessions, over half of which are being presented by end users. It covers solid basics like boilers, air conditioning, fans, compressors and heavy transport among other things, providing 7.5 hours of CPD contact time and a good opportunity to meet other practitioners and learn about measures that actually work.

Useful links:

Free on-line basic science course:

Energy training and conferences:

Related posts

Vilnis Vesma: Bogus products; too good to be true part 1

Vilnis Vesma: Bogus products; too good to be true part 2

How to waste energy: Motor driven equipment

How to waste energy: Motor transport

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  1. Dear Mr Vesma

    It will be great if you can share your contact details. We are a UAE based company looking for your kind of services and or input in our present queries.


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