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Blog Post 5 October 2021

Applying energy efficiency principles in your new kitchen

Are you thinking about a new kitchen? If so, it might also be the time to consider replacing some of your old appliances.

Energy efficiency in home appliances has pushed forward significantly over the last few years. Replacing older appliances with newer, more energy efficient versions can help make sure your kitchen starts life with high performing products that also lower your energy bills and reduce your household carbon emissions.

How efficient are your appliances?

The difference in running costs between old and new appliances can be significant. But first things first; it may be a good idea to do your own ‘energy audit’ and see just how well what you’ve got now is performing.

A cheap, plug-in energy meter and thermometer should do the trick. A fridge, for example, should be around 3-5 degrees Celsius (older ones are sometimes found to be operating outside this range, and with high energy use), and you can plug an energy meter in any appliance with a socket to measure how much electricity they’re using.

Check the label

When you’re buying a new appliance for your home, whether it’s a new fridge, oven, dishwasher or washing machine, look out for its energy label. The energy label tells you how much energy that appliance uses, compared to similar products. This can help you find that the one that uses the least amount of energy.

Appliances are tested for how much energy they use during typical use. This gives them a rating on a scale of A to G, with A being the most efficient product of its class, and G being the least efficient. Some appliances use an older scale, from A+++ to G, with A+++ being the most efficient.

But there’s more to consider than the label rating alone. Products are rated by both product and size category, typically a larger appliance will cost you more to run than a smaller model. It’s important to consider what your needs are likely to be before making a purchase. Many appliances also have ‘eco’ or low energy modes, so once you’ve installed your new appliance, opt for these modes frequently to save more energy.

Go straight to the best

The quickest route to see the true ‘best of the best’ in energy efficiency is by visiting the Topten UK site. Energy Saving Trust is the UK partner for the EU-wide initiative that was set up to highlight the leading products for energy efficiency in every product category.

You can search through four categories – heating and cooling, televisions, refrigeration, and washing – to compare products by overall energy rating, annual energy consumption (in kWh/year), cost to run the appliance over a year, and more.

Cold comforts

Some of the biggest savings can be found in refrigeration. No surprise, perhaps, as fridges and freezers are working round the clock. There’s a big difference between the categories – and choosing a higher rated fridge freezer can have a significant impact on your running costs.

For example, choosing a D-rated fridge freezer over a G-rated unit will save you about £420 (650kgCO2e) in energy bills over the 17-year lifetime of the product.

While getting the latest ‘look’ is important, it’s also worth considering whether a particular style or size of appliance might prove to be more expensive over the longer term. You can compare the total energy consumption of appliances by looking for their yearly energy consumption in kWh/annum – it’s displayed under the rating scale on the energy label.

Options for washing and drying

It’s also worth thinking about whether a particular appliance is needed at all. Clothes can often be dried outside, negating the need for a tumble dryer. But if you really must have all the mod cons, there are savings to be made here, too.

Tumble dryers currently still use the old energy label scale of A+++ to G. Choosing an A+++ rated one over an A-rated could save you around £375 (570kgCO2e) over its 13-year lifetime. It’s worth checking to see if you could buy one that has a sensor to alert you to when your clothes are dry enough – saving you from wasting energy by over drying your laundry!

Dishwashers have switched to the new A to G energy rating scale. The most efficient products on the market currently have a D rating. These cost almost £11 less per year to run than the lowest rated dishwashers you can buy of the same size, and they use less water.

The same applies when considering replacing your washing machine. If a replacement is required, factoring in water efficiency is a sustainable move and a thrifty one, too.

Other kitchen considerations

Opting for energy efficient lighting could be a smart idea. Halogen bulbs are no longer sold in shops, since 1 October 2021, so now might be a good time to replace any old halogen bulbs with energy efficient LEDs.

If you replace all the bulbs in your home with LED lights, you could reduce your carbon dioxide emissions by up to 40kg a year – equivalent to the CO2 emitted by driving your car around 140 miles.

Last updated: 4 October 2021