In most homes there is an array of appliances – from fridges and freezers to washing machines, dishwashers, vacuum cleaners, ovens, kettles, tumble-dryers – as well as floor care, water heating, heating and ventilation.
In many ways, domestic appliances distinguish the modern labour-saving home from the drudgery of bygone years. They save users time to spend more enjoyably or productively and often do the job much more thoroughly and efficiently than could be achieved by hand.
Over the past decade, AMDEA members have invested millions of pounds to develop environmentally friendly technology in order to improve the efficiency of their appliances, for example:
- an average European washing machine in 2013 used half the amount of energy and water per kg of load compared to 1997
- in refrigeration, today’s best products consume only a quarter of the energy used by a typical refrigerator made in 1990
Alongside such a major contribution to modern living come many responsibilities: reducing energy and water consumption in-use, disposing of appliances when they reach the end of their usable life, and ensuring that public health and safety is safeguarded at all times.
The next generation of appliances are even smarter – with sensors that detect load, dirt, temperature and dryness you can now buy washing machines that can be filled in a hurry and then programmed at your leisure using an app on your smartphone. With internet connectivity appliance, faults can be detected and sometimes even repaired remotely. New ovens and fridges can even tell you what ingredients you need for a recipe (and how much they cost at different supermarkets).
For some years now old appliances have been taken to specialist treatment plants at the end of their life so that their parts can be recycled or re-used. With a growing awareness of the volume of plastic that we are discarding, it is encouraging to know that some washing machine drums are today made from recycled plastic bottles.
Information is now available on-line as well as in instruction booklets, enabling people to take better care of their appliances. New Regulations will set out how manufacturers can make it easier for professional repairers to access spare parts and information about their products. Also to be borne in mine are, of course, the improvements in energy efficiency and water consumption that can make buying a new machine a more sustainable option than repairing an old one.
The next generation of appliances is also safer – international safety standards are continually reviewed and revised to take account of developing technology, as well as experience of how they perform in people’s homes.
AMDEA and its technical experts represent and support the UK domestic appliance industry on all of these crucial issues. At every stage of the development, manufacture, marketing, after-sales service and ultimate disposal and recycling of the product – from cradle to grave – AMDEA is involved.
AMDEA is a member of APPLiA (formerly CECED) the trade association for the home appliance industry in Europe.