When buying new appliances weigh up both the purchase price and the estimated energy use. In many cases, you may actually save money by buying the more expensive, more energy-efficient model.
Ask about special energy-efficient offers. Government grants, low-interest loans or other incentive programs are often offered to encourage consumers to buy energy-efficient appliances. Ask your salesperson or local authority what grants are available in your area.
Read the Energy Guide label. This yellow and black label is required by the FTC to be attached to most new appliances. It states the estimated annual energy consumption of the appliance. This helps you compare the efficiency or annual energy use of different brands and models. Do excercise common sense however, and remember that a huge A++ rated fridge freezer will use more electricity than a much smaller lower rated appliance.
Fridges and freezers account for sizeable portion of a household’s electricity consumption. Ask yourself if you need a huge fridge freezer. Chest freezers are slightly more energy efficient as they maintain cold temparatures when the door is open while vertical standing models tend to loose much cold air when open.
If your fridge is more than 10 years old you should consider replacing it with a newer more energy efficient model. If everyone in the UK upgraded their fridge and freezer to Energy Saving Trust recommended ones, its estimated that we could save over £730 million and the equivalent carbon emissions of more than 500,000 homes.
Remember to send your old appliance for recycling.
Consider turning down the temparature dial on your washing machine as more than 90% of the enegy they use goes into heating the water. Modern detergents are designed to work at temparatures as low as 30 degrees, and we can use 40% less energy washing at that temparature.
Also, if your washing machine is over 10 years old, or rated D or less for energy efficiency, consider trading it in for a newer more energy efficient model, which can use as much as 50% less water than their older counterparts. Visit the ethicalconsumer.org/FreeBuyersGuide.aspx for a list of eco-friendly washing machines.
Only run your dish washer when it is full and select the “eco” mode if it has one. A study by the University of Bonn suggested that a dishwasher used less water and energy than washing up by hand. The study did not take into account the energy and resources that went into the manufacture of the machine. You should consider replacing your dishwasher with a more energy efficient model if it is more than 10 years old, but only if you use it a lot.
Really try to limit the use of your tumble dryer. Instead, dry your clothes outside on a washing line whenever possible. If you do require a tumble dryer consider installing a White Knight gas tumble dryer or a heat pump dryer.
An electric oven can use a large amount of energy. If possible, use your hob as it transfers the heat directly to the food. There are low power electric agas on the market that will plug directly into a normal mains socket. Their power use is minimal.
On the whole, a shower is usually more energy efficient than a bath, however, electric showers tend to use a lot of electricity. In this case a bath may actually be more energy efficient, especially if you have a combi or condesning boiler to heat the water.
A modern electric blanket actually has quite a low power consumption.