Electricity Use in the Home
The use of electricity in the home accounts for approximately one third of the total electricity use in Ireland. While electricity makes our lives more comfortable and convenient, it is becoming increasingly important that we recognise how many things we do in a typical day that adds to our consumption of electricity. Take a look through the following list of appliances used in a typical home and see how many you have, sometimes more than one of them? Is it essential that we have all of these appliances and that we use them all the time? Could we be using them more efficiently?
Your Choice – Energy Labelling
Electrical appliances use a lot less electricity than they did 20 years ago. This can be attributed to the fact that manufacturers have made technological developments that meet the demands of an increasingly discerning market who are better informed by energy labelling. But even today there can be substantial differences in energy consumption between different models. Even small reductions in the amount of electricity consumed daily can add up to significant savings over the lifetime of the appliance which could be as long as 10-15 years. Energy labelling of appliances was first introduced in Ireland in 1995 under EU legislation. The legislation currently covers washers, dryers, combination washer dryers, fridges, freezers, fridge-freezers, dishwashers, ovens and air conditioners as well as lighting.
Appliances are labelled to indicate energy consumption and are rated from A-G, with A being the most efficient. Energy efficient appliances will save you money on your energy bill and are less harmful to the environment. Energy labelling of appliances helps you to make a more informed choice when buying an appliance by allowing you to easily compare the energy consumption of different models. In addition, other performance information allows you to choose the best appliance for your individual needs. The more we choose energy efficient products, the more competitive the market becomes for those products. And so the more that manufacturers are inclined to produce high efficiency products. In this way, exercising your purchasing power and making the smart choice can have a real and significant impact – not only on your own energy bills but also on the types of appliances we will have in the future. The next time you’re buying an appliance, take a good look at the energy label and choose the most efficient one you can. In some instances, the indicative range on labels has been adjusted or adapted as a result of either legislative or market led interventions. These include:
• On the basis of the significant improvements in efficiency of refrigeration appliances since the introduction of energy labelling, the EU introduced a Minimum Standards Directive so that all such appliances are now only in the A – C range.
• On foot of a voluntary agreement among the majority of large appliance manufacturers / suppliers in Europe some years back, most washing machines available in retail outlets will fall in the A – D range.
The Eco Label is available to manufacturers on a voluntary basis and gives a much broader indication of the environmental impact of the appliance throughout its complete lifecycle, so called ‘cradle to grave’, which takes into account manufacture, distribution, use and recyclability. It takes into account the content of hazardous substances and any potential harm or degradation to the natural environment. As much of a products impact is during its manufacture, this can be mitigated by increasing a products durability up to as much as 20 years. If the product has been awarded an Eco Label then the EU’s flower symbol will be featured on the compulsory Energy Label.