Reduce the impact of energy consumption on the environment and save money on your power bill by choosing energy efficient appliances for your home.

Your fridge is a particularly important decision because it runs all day every day, all year round, whereas other appliances are used intermittently. Interestingly, the size of the fridge doesn’t have a major impact on its energy consumption. (The same is not true for freezers, however.)

Did you know: A typical fridge manufactured in 1993 uses twice as much energy as a new one. That old fridge keeping the drinks cool is probably costing you more than the drinks inside! – Greenpeace

Washing machines are also important because they affect both electricity and water consumption – up to 1 500 litres a year in some instances.

Most environmental organisations prefer you to avoid tumble dryers altogether, because they are highly inefficient. If you have to have one, make sure your washing machine’s spin cycle goes up to 1 600 to 1 800rpm. This will help dry clothes more before you put them in the tumble dryer, using 20 times less energy than heat-drying them would have and cutting time in the dryer and the cost by half.

What the labels mean

When you’re buying a new appliance, you want to make an informed choice when it comes to energy efficiency. South Africa has an energy rating system aligned to the EU rating, which some imported products also include. They may also carry the American Energy Star label. Energy Star ratings only tell you that an appliance is efficient, but they don’t grade the level of efficiency.

The South African and EU labels both grade the efficiency of the appliance from A to G, with A most efficient, and G least efficient. EU ratings, however, also include A+ to A+++ ratings, which are helpful in determining the most efficient products. (The average rating for many new appliances is A, so it helps to be able to tell the most efficient ones apart.)
When choosing a fridge, for example, don’t just look at the rating, but compare different models’ estimates for how much energy they consume in kWh per annum. This will help you to determine the cost as electricity is billed per kWh. The difference between appliances will give you the potential savings.
You will also see symbols at the bottom of the EU label, or information listed beneath the line on the SA ratings, that compare other relevant criteria. So, for example, fridges, dishwashers and washing machines will also include noise levels in decibels. Washing machines will include the size of the load in kilograms and water consumption, tumble dryers will tell you how many minutes a cycle takes, and fridges and freezers will tell you their capacity. Dishwashers include a rating from A to G for their drying efficiency. These symbols are self-explanatory but worth noting.

Did you know: A laptop uses five times less electricity than a desktop computer.