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Buying guides

Energy efficiency

ENERGY EFFICIENCY IN YOUR HOME

When you buy a new home appliance, consider the running costs. New technology advancements and energy efficiency innovations mean you can get the best out of your machine and your budget.

This guide will show you what to look out for when buying a new appliance.

Energy labelling

The European Union requires that certain electrical goods display an EU energy label. The legislation provides information which is specific to each product category.

The labelling scheme covers a range of large electrical appliances including fridges, freezers, washing machines, ovens, televisions and light bulbs. Each label provides a comprehensive summary of the impact on the environment.

It rates products from dark green (most efficient) to red (least efficient). The label also shows annual energy consumption and provides other information which is relevant to that product such as water consumption, noise levels for washing machines and screen size for televisions.

For some appliances (including refrigerators, freezers, fridge freezers, washing machines, tumble dryers, dishwashers, TVs, lighting and light bulbs) energy efficiency is also rated from A+++ - G. As of November 2018 energy efficiency labels will return to A – G grading (removing A+, A++, A+++). Clearer labelling is designed to take into account technological developments.

To find the energy efficiency labelling information on our website product pages, look under key features. When in store, if you can’t find the energy label on the product, please ask one of our Partners.

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).

Washing machines

The labels display how much energy and water the machine typically uses, annual water consumption (in litres), capacity (in kilograms), spin drying efficiency class (rated from A to G) and noise emission (for partial and full loads, in decibels). The labels no longer cover washing performance because all models with a capacity of more than 4kg must achieve an A rating.

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.

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.

Dishwashers

Dishwashers are becoming more energy and water efficient and the EU 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).

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.

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

In 2011, old-fashioned, GLS (tungsten) light bulbs were phased out and energy-saving bulbs (also known as CFL compact fluorescent bulbs) became the alternative for opal and frosted type bulbs

Making the switch from traditional light bulbs to energy-saving equivalents can make your energy bills a lot more manageable. Traditional bulbs with a 40, 60 and 100 wattage have equivalent low-energy versions, which are rated approximately 8W, 10W and 15-20W respectively. By replacing a 40W traditional bulb with an 8W low-energy one, you have immediately cut your use by 20% for that bulb.

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.

Batteries

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

Recycling

Since 2007, 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.

Since 2009, 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.