As energy efficiency takes an increasingly important role in our lives, we want to make sure we’re making the right choices. But when it comes to choosing energy efficient appliances, sometimes it can be tricky knowing where to begin. It’s worth putting the effort in though, as making the right choice can not only reduce your energy consumption, but save you money on your energy bills too.
So, what exactly should you be looking out for to make sure you’re buying the most energy efficient appliances when you’re next out shopping?
EU energy efficiency labels
If you’ve gone shopping for electrical appliances recently, chances are you’ll have spotted one of these. EU energy efficiency labels are found on a selection of white goods, including:
- Washing machines, washer-dryers and tumble dryers
- Fridges, freezers and fridge-freezers
- Electric ovens
- Energy-saving light bulbs
- Air conditioners
The label is there to give you information about how energy efficient a product is. Product ratings go from D up to A+++, with A+++ being the most energy efficient. The label also includes the annual energy consumption for each product, as well as product-specific information, such as noise levels or water consumption.
All of the products mentioned above should be displayed with an energy efficiency label. If you can’t see one, ask the retailer, as they must provide this information by law.
How are energy efficiency ratings worked out?
There isn’t one specific test that is used across all appliances. Instead, different appliances have their energy efficiency rating calculated using a specific test that’s appropriate for that product.
Washing machines, for example, have their energy efficiency calculated by measuring the kilowatt hours used annually, based on its performance on full and partial 60°C cotton loads and a 40°C partial cotton load.
Fridges and freezers, on the other hand, are tested by comparing their energy consumption with their internal volume, to judge how efficient they are for their size.
Is it really worth paying more for an energy efficient appliance?
When you’re shopping for new appliances you might find yourself asking, is getting a more energy efficient product worth the higher initial price you’ll pay for it? Well, when you consider the long term savings, it’s an easy decision to make.
Take your fridge-freezer, for example. This is something that would be switched on 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It’s one of the biggest contributors to your home energy bill and can account for around 20% of your electricity consumption, so it’s well worth finding a model that’s as efficient as possible. In fact, by upgrading to a more energy efficient fridge-freezer, you could save over £60 a year.
How to get rid of your old electronic appliances
If you’re in the market for a new appliance, you’ll probably need to get rid of your old one. Because of the nature of their materials, you need to dispose of electrical items carefully – you can’t just put them in the bin with your normal household waste.
If your item is still in good working condition, you could try selling it, or donating it to charity. If it’s seen better days however, you might want to just get rid of it.
Under the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Regulations, if you’re buying a new electrical appliance, the retailer you’re buying it from is obliged by law to take your old appliance off you for free, or tell you where you can go to recycle it free of charge. Alternatively, you could ask your local council to pick it up for you, as many will offer free collection services.
Ever wondered which of your appliances is costing you the most? Check out our post – 5 of the most energy-guzzling household appliances.