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28th January 2021
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Cutting a greener deal for consumers
Huge improvements in appliance performance now mean that replacing an old fridge freezer can bring the same environmental benefit as installing double-glazing according to AMDEA (The Association of Manufacturers of Domestic Appliances). The industry is calling on Government to work with it to encourage consumers to replace their old appliances and use energy saving features - to cut their electricity bills and carbon dioxide emissions.
"Today's new fridge freezer uses just half the power of a new model 20 years ago, and a chest freezer about a third", says Douglas Herbison, Chief Executive of AMDEA. "When you consider that appliances nowadays are also generally bigger that is a remarkable result. The problem is that consumers aren't being encouraged to replace their old appliances through schemes such as the Green Deal, even though the environmental benefits are very significant and changing a fridge freezer is far simpler than, for example, double-glazing your flat."
The industry is also concerned that cuts in the budget for energy efficiency education mean that consumers have an unfocused view of how to save money and energy, and so energy efficiency features on modern appliances are going unused.
The Association has just completed a pilot study with the University of Surrey examining how appliances are used in the home. This suggests that 'green-minded' consumers can be great at switching off phone chargers at night, which can save a small amount of electricity, but have little idea how to achieve far greater electricity savings by checking energy labels when they buy appliances or changing to a low temperature wash.
Professor Matthew Leach, of the Centre for Environmental Strategy, who led the study says: "One household in our study saved almost 60% on the energy used in its existing washing machine, just by switching to a low temperature wash, with still great cleaning results. Cash and carbon savings from changing behaviour can be added to the savings from using more modern appliances to become something really significant."
In conclusion AMDEA's Douglas Herbison proposes: "By working together with Government we can have a greater impact on energy use in the home. Including major appliances in the Green Deal or a similar scheme has the potential of an all round winner. As well as the savings on household bills and greenhouse gas emissions, this could encourage millions of consumers to upgrade their kitchens - providing considerable work for skilled tradesmen and for young people just starting out on their careers."
University of Surrey Pilot Study Key findings:
* Participants keen to switch off lights and phone chargers, avoid standby etc., yet very little understanding of energy labels.
* When their 5 - 10 year old appliances were changed for fairly standard up-to-date (A or A+) models:
- fridge freezer replacement yielded 40% - 60% savings
- dishwashers and washing machines saved 8% - 21%
* Switching to a lower temperature yielded energy savings of:
- 35% and 59% on washing machines
- 19% to 34% on dishwashers
* Reducing the wash temperature and putting in a new replacement washing machine practically halved energy use (-48%)
* An estimated 15 million old fridges, freezers and washing machines (ten or many more years) are still in use in UK homes. (Market Transformation Programme 2007)
* Large appliances that chill, wash, dry or cook comprise approx. 44% total household electricity consumption. (Intertek, 2012, Report R66141, Household Electricity Survey)
* Replacing a 20 year old fridge freezer can save 370kg CO2 and £100 p.a. in electricity ( AMDEA www.t2c.org.uk)
* Replacing a 10 year old fridge freezer saves 243 kg CO2 p.a.(University of Surrey/AMDEA)
* Double glazing a typical flat would save 330 kg CO2 p.a. (www.ggf.org.uk replacing 6.7m 2 of timber single-frame windows with A rated double glazing)
* Since 1990 fridge freezer electricity consumption has reduced by 49% and chest freezer consumption by 65%.
(DECC, Domestic Energy Consumption in the UK, July 2012, Table 3.13)
AMDEA is the UK trade association for manufacturers of large and small domestic appliances; representing over 80% of the domestic appliance industry. Members' products include most of the UK's top selling brands of major white goods, other large and small kitchen appliances, heating, water heating, floor care, waste disposal and ventilation equipment.
The University of Surrey Efficient Household Appliances Study will be available for download at:
19th October 2012