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Energy labels let you compare products to find the most energy efficient ones, helping you to save energy and money. You can find them on products – from washing machines to light bulbs – and on houses, in the form of Energy Performance Certificates.
European Energy Label
The European Energy Label shows how efficiently a product uses energy.
New products labels are being introduced that will rate appliances on a scale from dark green (most efficient) to red (least efficient).
The ratings generally go from A to G. However you may also see higher categories appear in the green bands of A+, A++ and A+++ as products become more energy efficient.
For the most efficient product, look for the darkest green band.
You can also look at the amount of energy that the product uses in an hour (kWh). The lower this number is, the less energy the product uses.
Over the lifetime of an inefficient product you could waste £100 in running costs compared to a more efficient model, even if the most energy efficient products may not be the cheapest to buy.
The European Energy Label is compulsory on these products:
- household fridges and freezers
- washing machines, tumble dryers and washer-dryers
- air conditioners
- electric ovens
- light bulbs
- televisions (from December 2011)
The new labels on televisions are being introduced on a voluntary basis from 20 December 2010. From December 2011 all new television sets must carry an energy efficiency label.
More products will have the European Energy Label in the future, including boilers and vacuum cleaners.
Energy Saving Trust Recommended
The Energy Saving Trust Recommended scheme is voluntary and shows you a product is very energy efficient.
The wide range of products covered includes:
- appliances like washing machines and fridges
- light fittings
- boilers and hot water cylinders
The scheme is managed by the Energy Saving Trust.
The European Ecolabel is given to products that are less harmful to the environment than other similar products – and this includes using less energy.
You can find out more by reading ‘European Ecolabel’.
There are several different TCO labels. All of them show that IT equipment is energy efficient and made with fewer harmful chemicals.
All equipment must:
- contain fewer materials that can be a risk to the environment and human health – certain substances, like lead, are banned
- be energy efficient
- be easily recyclable – for example, by making different plastics easy to separate out
- be produced in a way that reduces its impact on the environment
- give a spare part guarantee to encourage a longer life for the product
- be produced by a manufacturer that actively works to improve workers’ conditions
Some of the labels also tell you a product has very good picture quality, low noise levels, and low electrical and magnetic fields. For a full explanation, see ‘What the different TCO labels mean’, below.
The EU (European) Energy Star scheme is voluntary. It shows that office equipment has reached energy efficiency standards set by the EU, both when being used and in standby mode.
The logo appears on some types of office equipment, like:
- fax machines
Energy Performance Certificates
All homes bought, sold or rented have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).
- information on a home's current energy use and carbon dioxide emissions
- an estimate of how energy efficient a home could be if you put in place energy saving measures, like fitting loft insulation
- a report with suggested ways to reduce energy use and carbon dioxide emissions
Homes are rated from A (the most efficient) to G (the least efficient), with the average efficiency grade to date being D. All homes are measured using the same calculations, so it’s easy to compare the energy efficiency of different properties.