A Guide to Energy Efficiency Markings on White Goods

More than ever-before, consumers are looking for household items which have high performance levels whilst being friendly towards the environment. For most, the easiest way of choosing between appliances is by studying the energy efficiency markings on the product packaging, or asking in-store for advice.

So what do those markings mean and how can you find the best product for your needs which will also be cost effective to run? 

Energy efficiency rating

Most electrical items available to purchase now carry an energy efficiency rating label. This is a rating from A (or A+) through to F, which indicates to the customer how efficient each item is. A rated goods use less energy than their F rated counterparts, which makes them cheaper to run.

A range of household items including kettles, microwaves, cookers and refrigerators all carry the energy efficiency rating. The logo is designed to be easily read by all, and as well as carrying a letter label for the class of energy efficiency offered, products also display their energy consumption in average kWh per year. For items such as refrigerators, which are constantly in use, choosing a model with a low kWh per year consumption rate could help you to save money.

For example, an A rated condenser tumble dryer will cost an average of between £40 and £50 in electricity to run over the course of a year. However, a B or C rated device will use £100 of energy in a year. So you can see that there are significant savings to be made through using a machine with a good energy rating.

It is worth remembering that items are given their category label based on comparison testing across goods of the same size. While an A rated 180 litre fridge freezer could cost approximately £40 to run per year, a larger 525 litre fridge freezer that holds the higher A+ rating would cost more than £50, due to its increased size. You should try not to choose products which are larger than truly required, as this will ultimately cost more money in the long run, even if they possess a higher energy efficiency rating.

Standby modes

Large numbers of items across the home have standby modes. The television, DVD player and computer can all be put into standby rather than being switched off fully, whilst devices like microwaves or games consoles with clock displays or LED lights are constantly using low levels of power even when they are not in use.

New legislation introduced in 2010 prohibits devices from having a standby power usage of more than 1W, which means that in the future this will be less of a concern. Older items already in the home however could be having a significant impact on the energy bill. According to the Energy Saving Trust, an internet router could use £9 worth of electricity in a year, even when not in use.

Choosing items

Generally the best way to understand energy efficiency is to read the information on the label. On most items details are presented in a clear manner meaning that all customers can make the best decision for their home.


Lindsay is a freelance writer with ambitions to travel but lacks the time to actually do it. When she isn’t writing or reading, she enjoys Italian food and Pinterest. In that order.

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