Buying guides

Energy efficiency

ENERGY EFFICIENCY IN YOUR HOME

When you buy a new home appliance, consider how its running costs can help you save on energy bills. Improvements and innovation in energy efficiency mean you can get the best out of your machine and your budget.

This guide will show you what energy efficiency features to look out for when buying your next appliance

Energy Labels

Energy labels have been around for over 25 years, helping you choose products that can save money on running costs and reduce energy consumption.

Regulations for European consumers - including non-EU countries - require an EU energy label to be displayed on certain electrical goods. Each label provides an energy rating for the appliance as well as relevant information on how much water or electricity it uses and how much noise it creates.

 

Updates to energy label ratings

From 1 March 2021, the labels will be updated on products online and in our shops with:

  • traffic light colours and simplified rating scale of A-G without pluses 
  • icons to represent more energy efficient features and functions
  • consistent units for measuring energy and water consumption or noise emissions
  • QR code to scan and access further product information from your device.
washing machines energy label

OLD LABEL

washing machines energy label

NEW LABEL

New labels will be included when you buy:

  • household refrigerators and freezers
  • washing machines and washer dryers
  • dishwashers
  • TVs and electronic displays
  • lighting products (from September 2021)

Other products like air conditioners, tumble dryers, space and water heaters will have the new labels introduced when new or revised UK regulations come into force. 
Ovens and cookers will not be included in the new rating scale.

 

The simplified label encourages better technology

The new rating on appliances may be lower in comparison to the old rating scale, but it’s simply been recalibrated to make room for further improvements in energy efficiency.


Appliance and lighting manufacturers have been developing better technology since the labels were introduced in 1994.  With over 90% of today’s products being rated A+++, the system of pluses could no longer show advancements clearly as newer products were released.


Not only does the updated scale make it simpler to understand a product’s energy consumption, it also encourages manufacturers to continue building more efficient appliances to save resources and the environment.

Most of the products we sell have had an A rating or higher on the old rating system, and we will continue to stock the best appliances for energy efficiency as they come onto the market. If you bought an appliance between June 2020 and March 2021, both the old and updated labels were included in the packaging. 

Electricity usage

A major step towards your household becoming more energy efficient is identifying what items are using the most electricity.

You can purchase an electricity monitor that lets you see how much energy is being consumed and where. You can then review how often you use particular machines and set energy caps or targets. An energy monitor is different from a smart meter, which sends information about your energy usage to your energy provider.

As part of our Smart home range, you can buy a thermostat that can be controlled from your smartphone at home or on the go. With devices from Nest, Hive and Netatmo you’ll see how much heat you use every day so you can track and manage your energy use. With some brands you can also track and control your lighting, hot water and other appliances.

Refrigerators, freezers and fridge freezers

Refrigeration appliances are one of the biggest energy consumers in your home because they are left running all the time. This makes investing in an energy-efficient fridge, freezer or fridge even more viable because it can help cut your energy bills. For example, some brands feature a holiday mode, which uses less energy to maintain the internal temperature.

The labels show information on storage volume (in litres), frozen storage volume (in litres) and noise level (in decibels).

From the 1 March 2021 the energy label will also include the following:

1 - New energy efficiency scale

2 / 3 - New icon for chilled and unfrozen compartments

4 - New icon for noise emissions and more detail of noise emission classes 

fridge freezer energy label

Washing machines

Many of our washing machines come with energy efficiency features such as, lower temperatures, the ability to set the amount of energy your machine uses, as well as energy consumption tracking - so you know how much you have used. Investing in a washing machine with a higher maximum spin (1600rpm), will also ensure less time and energy is spent drying your clothes, towels and sheets.

From the 1 March 2021 the energy label will also include the following:

1 - New energy efficiency scale

2 - Energy consumption is now listed per 100 washes

- Added information on capacity and duration of 'Eco 40-60' programmes 

4 - Water consumption now listed (per litre)

- Noise emissions only include spinning (not washing) -  but more information on noise emission classes now available

washing machines energy label

Tumble dryers

On the labels you’ll see displayed symbols which show annual energy consumption (in kWh), the type of dryer, the cycle time (of the standard cotton program, with a full load, in minutes), its capacity (in kg) and the noise emission (in decibels).

The running cost of your tumble dryer will depend on how long the machine is drying for and how hard it has to work.

Investing in a heat pump condenser model may help you to use less energy too. This new technology re-circulates warm air used in the dryer rather than allowing it to escape – hot, humid air from the dryer is passed through a heat-pump for re-using. This method means that the dryer avoids the need for ducting and conserves much of its heat, using up to 50% less energy.

Laundry balls also help to reduce the drying time and reduce the creases in your clothes. Free from harsh chemicals and excess packaging, the reusable Ecozone tumble drying cubes not only help to reduce your energy bill, but they are environmentally friendly too.

Washing Dryers

Consider investing in a model with the highest spin speed you can afford, this will save you money in the long run as your laundry will have less moisture in it as it goes into the drying cycle, so it will dry faster. Use sensor drying (if available) rather than a timed cycle, that way you won't be using more energy than required.

For maximum efficiency when using a washing and drying cycle, remove some items from the drum after the wash, and do an additional second drying cycle - this is because the drying programme will have a smaller capacity than the washing programme. Also, clothes bundled into a ball will take a long time to dry, and that will increase the cost of drying. Fix this by loosening your clothes before drying them.

From the 1 March 2021 the energy label will also include the following:

- New energy efficiency scale (IV washing and drying and washing)

2 / 3 - Energy consumption is now listed as per 100 washes (2 (washing and drying) and 3 (washing))

- A rated capacity now listed for a wash & dry cycle as well as for a washing cycle 

5 - Water consumption now listed for a wash & dry cycle as well as for a washing cycle

6 - Noise emissions classes now included for spinning

7 - Details now included for duration of wash & dry cycle as well as for washing cycle

washing dryers energy label

Dishwashers

Dishwashers are becoming more energy and water efficient and the energy label provides a good indication of how much energy and water a model typically uses.

The energy efficiency of the dishwasher is displayed in kilowatt hours per year. The label also shows figures for annual water consumption (litres), drying efficiency (A to G rating), capacity (in place setting) and noise emission (decibels).

From the 1 March 2021 the energy label will also include the following:

1 - New energy efficiency scale

- Energy consumption for an energy efficient ('Eco') setting is now listed as per 100 cycles

3 - Water consumption for an energy efficient ('Eco') setting is now listed in litres 

4 - Duration of an energy efficient ('Eco') setting is now listed

5 - New icon for noise emissions and more detail on noise emission class 

Dishwasher energy label

TVs

TV energy consumption still makes up a significant share of UK household energy bills.

As a general rule, the bigger the TV the more energy it is likely to use, with some screens more efficient than others.

If saving energy is the most important thing to you, then consider choosing a smaller TV — this can be just as important as choosing one with a good energy rating.

From the 1 March 2021 the energy label will also include the following:

1 - New energy efficiency scale

2 / 3 - Energy consumption is now detailed per 1,000 hours of use for both Standard Dynamic Range (SDR) (2) and High Dynamic Range (HDR) (3)

4 - Screen size now also includes resolution level (in pixels) 

Detail of power (in watts) has been removed. 

Detail on hard switches has been removed.

Televisions energy label

Electric ovens & hobs

Energy efficiency gradings for electric ovens are the responsibility of the appliance manufacturers and their work is monitored by Trading Standards.

Standard tests are carried out by heating a brick, and efficiency gradings of A+++ - G applied, with A+++ being the most efficient.

An energy label is available for each cavity of an integrated electric oven because of the difference in size.

Also featured on the label are pictograms which highlight selected performances and characteristics including energy source of the oven (electric), usable volume of the cavity in litres and the energy consumption per cycle for the heating function (s) of the cavity on a standard load expressed in kWh/cycle.

Although energy efficiency labels are currently unavailable for hobs, induction hobs feature cooking zones which automatically recognise the pan size for heat efficient cooking. They also have an energy consumption display so you know just how much energy you’re using.

Lighting & light bulbs

Halogen is being phased out in most light bulb types (excluding specialist bulbs), due to being energy inefficient. Make the switch from Halogen to LED bulbs, which are energy-efficient and long-lasting.  All of our lights which require LED have a recommended bulb type on the product page. LED bulbs use up to 90% less energy than traditional bulb sources which significantly reduces waste and saves money. They are also proven to last longer than a traditional Halogen bulb, with a standard lifetime of up to 15,000 hours which is eight times longer than Halogen.

For more information on the different types of bulbs available, as well as tips on safety and disposal, read our Bulbs, Switches and Dimmers buying guide.

Kettles & coffee machines

Currently there is no energy label to display the running costs of kettles and coffee machines.

Kettles use similar amounts of energy to boil up to a litre of water, yet they differ in energy efficiency.

Boiling hot water taps are becoming more popular — despite being more expensive to install, they have advantages over kettles. You only use the water you need and the tanks are well insulated to provide instant boiling water, rather than quickly losing heat like a kettle.

Generally, coffee machines use a small amount of energy which makes the cost of brewing a single espresso less than a penny. Many brands have incorporated their own energy-saving innovations to help cut costs even further. Like kettles, the most time-efficient coffee machines are more energy efficient.

 

Tip

To save energy and money, only boil only the amount of hot water you need, descale your kettle regularly (especially in hard water areas) and buy a kettle that features a low minimum fill level and over-boil time.

Telephones

Although landline telephones use a low amount of energy when they are not being used, they can gradually go on to consume a great deal of electricity over the year.

Telephones now feature either integrated or external compatible devices which can help to save on your energy bills.

As an example, Gigaset telephones use energy efficient power supplies via ECO Mode. This function decreases the transmitting power of the base station by up to 80%. Additionally, ECO Mode Plus is radiation-free and switches transmitting power off completely whenever your phone is in idle mode.

Wine Storage

Wine cabinets do cost slightly more than a regular refrigerator to run. Storing lots of bottles will help maintain the desired temperature as opposed to the appliance being left half empty.

Don’t position your wine cabinet in direct sunlight as this could cause the interior to heat up and drive up the energy consumption.

From the 1 March 2021 the energy label will also include the following:

1 - New energy efficiency scale

2 - New icon for wine bottles

3 - New icon for noise emissions and more details of noise emission classes 

Wine storage energy label

Batteries

Rechargeable batteries can be reused hundreds of times, saving you a lot of money in the long term

Recycling

The UK’s waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) regulation has allowed members of the public to deposit old electrical and electronic items, free of charge.

These regulations also require those who manufacture, import or produce one tonne of batteries, or those who place products containing batteries onto the UK market, to be responsible for the collection, treatment and recycling of the waste batteries. To find out more, read our guide on electronic recycling.

If you’re replacing a home appliance and want to find out about disposal of your old appliance, visit our home appliances installation page > Link to new mobile home appliance installation page

CFL and LED bulbs should be recycled at your nearest recycling bank, which will be found at www.recycle-more.co.uk

Quiet Mark

During the night off-peak energy prices are reduced, but everyday appliances like your washing machine can be too noisy, disturbing you and possibly your neighbours.

If you're looking for an appliance that can save you money and work discreetly without disrupting the tranquillity of your home, just look out for the Quiet Mark. We sell a range of appliances that have been awarded with this certification, including products from AEG, Miele, Dyson, KitchenAid and Bose.