Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Rating advice from manufacturers of domestic products could be a waste of energy!

I think it is fair to say that when in school I was not the most studious of pupils and to this day the closest I have ever come to achieving an A+ was when I purchased an energy efficient fridge freezer. Standing in the corner of the kitchen proudly boasting it’s A+++ rating, I felt quite pleased with myself for having chosen my appliance wisely ensuring I was doing my bit to save energy whilst chilling the Sauvignon Blanc. However, today’s report on consumer programme You and Yours, saying that one in five electrical appliances don't deliver the promised energy rating, left me feeling a little hotter under the collar!
One in five electrical appliances are not so energy efficient
The Energy Saving Trust (EST), who are a public body set up to help consumers use less energy, are launching the “Market Watch” project, with funding from the EU, to investigate 20 household appliances and monitor the manufacturers claims of energy efficiency. Tom Lock from the EST explained that this will allow the trust to be the “eyes and ears for the consumer” over the next 3 years. The EST are going to be subjecting these appliances to a range of testing under laboratory conditions by “normalising the behaviour of consumers.” Considering that the Government recently challenged the EST’s claims of how much energy a household could save, by checking the output of consumers who had insulated walls and lofts and followed the Trust’s advice, and the EST then had to revise down their claim, I hoped, that with this new project the EST would test out the appliances in real life households and not under laboratory conditions
Consumers left unsure as to the reliability of energy rating labels
The Association of Manufacturers of Domestic Appliances said the claim that 1 in 5 appliances were not as energy efficient as stated on the energy labels, came from data used on a study between 2009 and 2011. Their industry had spent millions on investing in energy efficient products and encouraging their members to be compliant and they certainly welcomed continued monitoring, but questioned the age and relevancy of the data used in the 1 in 5 claim. The problem arises, as the presenter of the consumer programme so succinctly put it, in consumers beginning to lose faith in what they have been told by the experts on energy efficiency and in advisory labelling around energy ratings.


I carried out a quick normalised behaviour of the consumer at this point and went to put the kettle on for a cup of tea, walking past the washing machine and dishwasher who may now be relegated down to B minus status. This time it should be the manufacturers and those who monitor the labelling of these products who will have to “try harder”. If you have bought an electrical appliance based on its energy rating then let us know – we’re listening!


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