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New Energy Labels 2021 FAQs

Vast improvements in appliance technology, over the decade, have sent the energy efficiency ratings for fridges and washing machines off the scale. Most products were crowded around the very top ratings from A+ to A+++.

The new rating bands have been revised to spread products more evenly across the scale so that the differences are clearer and to create space at the top for further improvements. Products are simply rated A to G – no plusses. E and F on the new scale are still highly efficient.

Initially most products will be classified C to F, meaning E and F are the same highly efficient products only the label has changed.

To highlight silent technology – all products have a new sound rating, classified from A to D.

All washing machines have a new Eco 40-60 setting which provides the best water and energy efficiency and all the measurements on the label are based on this programme. To make energy consumption more relatable to the number of times we run the machine, it is shown per 100 cycles rather than per year; similarly, water consumption is per cycle instead of for the year.

Dishwashers also have an eco-programme and information on the length of cycle, water and energy use are all based on this setting.

Washing machines, washer-dryers, dishwashers, refrigerators, freezers and wine coolers will all display the new labels.

Manufacturers were required to put both the old and new labels in the box during the changeover period, so some appliances may contain both new and old labels. The testing standards for appliances have been updated as part of this change to ensure accurate and consistent comparisons across products. This will result in appliances displaying different energy consumption data, even where the appliance performance is identical to before.

Quite probably, yes. It is estimated that the most popular (frequently purchased) efficient models typically cost just £32 a year in electricity for a washing machine and £41 for a fridge freezer (Energy Saving Trust estimates for AMDEA September 2020). A new fridge freezer typically uses 40% less energy than the average model in use in our homes a decade ago.

Ecodesign is the regulation that stipulates product requirements to increase energy efficiency and minimise environmental impact. The energy label is the tool that illustrates the achievement of these performance requirements to the consumer.

The Ecodesign regulations require all washing machines and dishwashers to have an eco-setting, which provides the best energy and water efficiency. In the interests of resource efficiency there are also new stipulations to cover availability of spare parts and access to repair information for professional repairers.

There is nothing wrong with keeping older appliances running, providing that servicing and repairs are carried out by a professional repairer to ensure your appliances remain safe to use. However, older machines are far less efficient and cost far more to run. Some years ago, AMDEA tested a 20 year old fridge freezer and found replacing it with a modestly efficient model saved the family £100 a year in energy costs.

No. Correctly recycled we can recover 85% of the materials in a freezer and sellers of new large appliances are required to support the collection and ensure the recycling of your old appliances. Your old appliances are broken down into their component parts, of which the majority of the appliance is used to make new items. And, of course, new appliances use less energy and water and are more recyclable, so they are better for the environment.

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