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7 Aug 2020

'Ambitious' new energy efficiency standards post Brexit could benefit UK consumers

Consumer energy bills and household carbon emissions could fall if new standards are introduced

Consumers are being asked their views on tougher climate-friendly standards for electrical appliances currently being developed by the UK Government in collaboration with businesses.

The government's call for evidence is asking for feedback on plans to tackle energy wastage and carbon emissions.

These energy standards are currently based on EU regulations, and the UK Government claims it wants to take the opportunity to set more 'ambitious' rules after the end of the post-Brexit transition period, which ends on 31 December 2020.

Post-Brexit trade deals - how will they affect the consumer?

What might the new standards require?

The government has put a range of topics up for discussion, including potentially requiring smart appliances to automatically adapt their energy usage in response to demands, such as the price of electricity, which could save consumers money.

It's also looking into making household gadgets easier for consumers to repair, and other requirements to make products more resource efficient.

This includes a spotlight on improving the energy efficiency of ovens and hobs, of which 5m are sold in the UK annually. Analysis suggests that if the UK raised minimum energy performance for ovens by one energy class, from A to A+, it could save up to 300,000 tons of carbon dioxide being released each year.

Improvements to energy labels are also proposed to help consumers make more informed choices. Areas under discussion include displaying lifetime energy costs at point of purchase for a product, plus additional information on the cost of running a product, how easily it can be repaired, reused and recycled, and how durable it is.

Natalie Hitchins, Which? head of home products and services, said: 'The chance to update and adapt energy product labelling to better suit consumers and wider UK needs could lead to improved overall standards for energy efficiency, as well as more environmentally sound options.'

Check out our energy-efficiency advice on fridge freezers, vacuum cleaners, kettles and washing machines.

How do I know how energy efficient appliances are?

Many appliance have energy labels which can help you decide which ones are the cheapest to run.

However, our testing has found that even models that have the same energy label can cost different amounts to run each year. In fact, the EU's vacuum cleaners energy label was annulled in 2019 after a successful appeal by Dyson, who argued the dust pick-up tests (which helped inform the ratings) didn't reflect real-life usage conditions.

Look out for the the green Which? Energy Saver recommendation on reviews as it shows the model pairs superb performance with low energy use, so you can be sure a product not only does it's job well, but also saves on energy costs.

Find Energy Saver products by heading over to our kitchen appliance reviews.