More than half of consumers now consider sustainability when buying and using common home appliances, Which? research has found, as the consumer champion unveils the latest Eco Buy products that can save customers up to £120 on their energy bills.
A £180 oven and £470 fridge-freezer are among more than 60 products to be awarded a Which? Eco Buy, as the consumer champion expands its endorsement scheme that recognises products with the least environmental impact to more appliances.
Consumers are increasingly aware of their carbon footprint and in a new Which? survey more than half (56%) said sustainability issues do influence their choice and use of white goods such as washing machines.
Which? introduced Eco Buys in 2020 to help consumers find products that will have less of an impact on the environment. The new endorsement and testing approach – which assesses the repairability, longevity and energy-efficiency of products – was first applied to washing machines and dishwashers, but will now include built-in ovens, fridge-freezers and tumble dryers.
With only the most energy-efficient products earning Eco Buy recommendations, choosing one of these products can help consumers lower their carbon footprint while making significant savings on their energy bills.
Fridges and fridge-freezers are some of the most expensive household appliances, yet millions are thrown away each year by UK households and Which? research suggests there is a 10-year difference between the models with the shortest and longest lifespans. As they run 24 hours a day, fridge-freezers also consume a lot of electricity and can add up to £163 a year to energy bills.
However, an Eco Buy fridge-freezer can cost only £42 a year to run, on average. A £470 Eco Buy Liebherr fridge-freezer costs £41 a year to run – a £120 saving compared to the most energy-hungry fridge-freezer.
Tumble-dryers are another appliance that can increase carbon footprint and add around £100 to energy bills every year. Plans to make energy label ratings tougher could soon mean vented and condenser dryers, which are notoriously inefficient, would be unlikely to qualify for even the lowest rank on the new A to G ranked energy labels, which will replace the A+++ to D ranking.
Which? has changed the way it tests and reviews tumble dryers, and only more energy-efficient heat pump dryers will be eligible for an Eco Buy recommendation. While heat-pump dryers tend to be more expensive to buy, an Eco Buy Samsung tumble dryer only adds £30 to energy bills a year – a £60 saving compared to energy-hungry condenser models, which could cost £90 to run.
Many people also continue to assume eco-friendly appliances can come at a premium cost, the Beko Aeroperfect oven is the cheapest Eco Buy product at just £179 and energy-efficient costing just £44 a year to run – a £16 saving compared to the most inefficient ovens.
The government is set to introduce new rules this summer that will require manufacturers to make spare parts for electrical items such as fridges and washing machines available, to help tackle premature obsolescence and reduce carbon emissions.
Michael Briggs, Head of Sustainability at Which?, said:
“We know consumers want to reduce their carbon footprint and make more sustainable choices, and that is why we are evolving the way we test products, factoring in how long they last and their energy efficiency, to help consumers reduce their environmental impact and save money at the same time.
“The government is set to introduce new regulations this summer that will require manufacturers to make spare parts for some products available, however we believe these rules should also be expanded to cover more appliances such as tumble dryers and ensure the spare parts are available for the lifespan of each product.”
Notes to editor
- Which? surveyed 3,619 UK adults between 30th April and 2nd May 2021. Fieldwork was carried out online by Yonder and data has been weighted to be representative of the UK population (aged 18+).
- Which? surveyed 13,274 Which? members between August and September 2020 to estimate the lifetime of different brands of large home appliances.
- Saving figures based on the annual energy costs of the most inefficient appliance in each product category compared to an Eco Buy product. Using the average energy tariff price of 18.75p per kWh, Which? calculated the annual energy running cost based on independent tests. For fridge-freezers, energy costs were based on how much electricity it would use running 24/7. For tumble dryers, it is based on how much electricity it used drying three loads a week, while the annual energy running cost for ovens is based on the energy used to roast a chicken three times a week.
- Since March 1, new energy labels have been introduced to simplify the way energy efficiency is displayed on electrical items. The A+, A++ and A+++ ratings have been scrapped and the scale resets to A to G. The government is also expected to bring in new regulations this summer that will require spare parts for some appliances to be available for a minimum number of years. More information is available here: https://www.which.co.uk/news/2021/03/what-does-the-new-energy-label-mean-for-you-and-your-home
- On Friday 4th June, Which? is launching a new podcast titled “Which? Investigates” hosted by science presenter and Youtuber Greg Foot. The first 8-episode series will focus on consumer-related sustainability issues such as supermarket packaging and digital obsolescence to help consumers make more sustainable choices that can reduce harm to the environment. Listen to a preview here: https://play.acast.com/s/which-investigates
The latest Eco Buy products:
Hotpoint SH61QW1 – £328
Liebherr CNEL4713 – £471
Blomberg ODN9302X – £530
Beko AeroPerfect BBXIF22100S – £179
Samsung DV80TA020AE/EU – £599
AEG T7DBK841N – £649
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