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Endesa - Electricity, Gas, People

What does the energy label on household appliances mean?

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People’s environmental awareness has increased over the last few years due to pollution, global warming and even the recent economic crisis. These problems are now global, and are regarded as key issues by all the industrialised countries.

It is for this reason that the energy label has recently been formally reviewed in Europe through Directive 92/75/EEC. In Spain, these European Directives have been converted into Royal Decrees for each type of household appliance.

As a result of the growing demand to save energy through the reduced consumption of household appliances, the European Communities have adopted common measures such as the introduction of the energy label. This trend to label products is also being copied by Latin American governments, which is very encouraging news.

In terms of the domestic consumption of energy, household appliances and lighting represent around 25% of total household energy consumption.

In Spain, an average household consumes about 3,300 kWh per year. Since the 1990s, the energy consumption of Spanish households has increased by 2.5% every year due to the enormous growth in the use of electrical equipment in homes.

The energy label is a document that is attached to the packaging of household appliances. It provides information about the energy and water consumption of the equipment that carries it. In other words, it provides valuable information about the energy efficiency of each appliance, allowing consumers to choose the most suitable for their needs. Household appliances with improved, more efficient operation are generally more expensive because they are the result of a more optimised design. However, various calculations have found that savings in the electricity bill of up to €900 can be achieved.

Using more efficient appliances is also of great benefit to the environment. Reducing energy consumption, and more specifically electricity consumption, allows companies generating electricity to make better use of renewable energy (such as wind, geothermal, solar energy etc.) and significantly reduce the number of plants using fossil fuels that cause so damage to the atmosphere and to nature. If the goal of maximizing energy efficiency is achieved, this will result in the transformation of society into one that is greener and less polluting, since the promotion of efficient electrical energy will be central to the changing of our model of life in all its facets.

A variety of companies and associations dedicated to environmental protection are carrying out an increasing number of social awareness campaigns. These activities are essential for showing, for example, children, young people and even older people, how to improve the economic logistics of their homes, respect the environment and try to promote the production of class A household appliances.

How to understand energy labelling?

Thanks to recent changes to the labels, the interpretation of these has been made considerably easier. In addition, the labels are common to the entire European territory. The written text on the labels has now been replaced with pictograms which simplify and internationalise the meaning of the energy efficiency.

This label is mandatory on appliances such as washing machines, dishwashers, dryers, vacuum cleaners, ovens, air conditioning equipment, refrigerators, light bulbs, etc. But it is worth noting that not all electrical appliances carry this marking. The labels are mandatory only for appliances that generate the highest electricity or water consumption.

First, the labels consist of a colour code that ranges from the least efficient appliances, classified with a G and a red colour, to the most efficient appliances, which are assigned the letter A and identified with the colour green. In addition, specific information is provided on the label depending on the appliance that carries it. For example, you can see the level of noise emitted, measured in decibels, which is also important in terms of the efficiency of the actual task that is carried out with the appliance. For refrigerators, the storage volume of the compartments is also included, and for washing machines information is provided about the load capacity, measured in kilograms, based on a standardised programme for a full load of cotton. In vacuum cleaners, an important piece of information provided is the re-emission of dust, which indicates how much clean air leaves the exhaust, and another is the cleaning performance on carpets.

One of the appliances for which energy efficiency means considerable energy savings is the refrigerator. It is the only appliance that is switched on 24 hours a day, every day of the year. It can consume up to 30.6% of the total energy of a home. It is best to buy a refrigerator which is type A as a minimum, with the best of these being type A+++, which consume less than 24% of the energy of the household and which can mean savings of up to €600. As a consumer, we have to inform ourselves. For example, we need to know that ‘no frost’ refrigerators are even more efficient, since they prevent the formation of frost, which is the main cause of the failure of the refrigerator to cool products because of the insulation created. The ideal option is to buy one with temperature control and special compartments for different foods.

Refrigerator can consume up to 30.6% of the total energy of a home.

Another of the most energy-intensive appliances is the washing machine. It is also one of the appliances that consumes the most water and produces the most noise. We need to know, first, that a washing cycle consists of three parts: washing, rinsing and spinning. The annual cost of washing machines is estimated to be €216.. If we are able to have use of one of the most efficient ecological washing machines, in other words those having a type A+++ energy label, we can achieve savings of up to €57 per year. Even so, it is the responsibility of the user to know that the most efficient wash is one that is performed with a full load. In this way, we save both energy and water, also increasing the useful life of the appliance, which is important in terms of recovering the initial cost of the appliance.

As explained here, the energy label is the first step towards the complete ecological awareness of society. In this link you will find more energy efficiency tips and information about the energy label.