Many consumers buy A-rated appliances in the belief that they are more efficient, focusing on the rating rather then looking at the energy the devices use in total but, according to Brendan Boardman at the UK’s Environmental Change Institute, the ratings can be misleading.
Energy labels are based on relative values (kWh/litre) which means that large appliances with relatively high energy requirements can achieve an A-rating.
“This encourages manufacturers to make bigger appliances because it is easier to get an A-rating for a large device than a small one,” says Boardman.
The Association of Manufacturers of Domestic Appliances (AMDEA) admits the labels could be more helpful. Associate Executive at AMDEA, Anne Nistad says: “We do have concerns about the labelling scheme today as it is not providing sufficient guidance to consumers.”
Boardman adds: “In 1995 before any labels were introduced, nobody thought the energy consumption of different models of appliances varied. Now people understand that, but they need to become even more sophisticated and start thinking about actual consumption.”
AMDEA is currently in talks with Brussels over plans to overhaul the system but whether this will be a simple revision or a totally new label is undecided.
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