Chancellor Gordon Brown has announced a series of measures in his budget to help make homes more environmentally friendly.
He told MPs that he wants consumer electronic goods – such as TVs, DVD players and set-top boxes – to carry labels displaying their energy consumption in the same way that white goods have been.
The Chancellor now wants the Energy Saving Trust to work with shops and manufacturers on a voluntary scheme.
Huge energy savings
Mr Brown said the labelling scheme on white goods has raised the number of A-rated fridges and freezers – which are the most energy-efficient – from 1 per cent in 1997 to 65 per cent last year. By 2010, the annual energy savings from more efficient appliances should be enough to power 750,000 homes.
The Energy Saving Trust estimates that TVs left on standby waste GBP 88 million worth of energy, and set-top boxes on standby eat up another GBP 11million worth of power each year.
The trust hopes the new scheme will mirror the success of its logo, recommending efficient products, on white goods. This currently appears on more than 16,000 products.
Which? Scientific Advisor Dr Andy Woodward said: ‘Energy labels for domestic appliances have certainly focused manufacturers’ attention on efficiency. While there’s always some danger that such specific labels may allow manufacturers to convince consumers to buy inferior products based on a good energy label, in general we’ve started to see an increasing number of appliances offering lower energy consumption.’
Gordon Brown also announced he was giving GBP 5 million towards a pilot project in which energy companies will test ‘smart meters’. These meters show you how much gas and electricity you’re using – and the cost. The aim is to encourage people to cut their consumption.
Consumer group Energywatch has said that smart meters could cut energy use by up to 15 per cent, largely because householders can monitor and curb their spending. This could result in annual savings of up to GBP 100 per household.
The Energy Saving Trust said it was the best budget for the environment for a number of years.