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Putting product energy saving claims to the test

At a time of increased awareness towards sustainability issues and rising energy bills, more and more people are starting to factor the energy saving capabilities of products into their purchasing decisions. In fact Energy Saving Trust figures indicate that the UK alone could save nearly £970 million a year* by switching to more energy efficient products, including fridges, freezers, tumble dryers, washing machines and dishwashers.

But in some cases much of the potential savings are lost through misleading energy saving claims on energy using products. MarketWatch, a Europe-wide campaign working with the Energy Saving Trust, aims to put a stop to these misleading claims by identifying where and how savings are lost, in a bid to ensure European consumers get the best deal on energy using products.

Across Europe we currently have Ecodesign and energy labelling rules in place that require many products to stick to energy consumption limits, as well as other environmental criteria, but it’s important to properly and robustly enforce standards through surveillance activity. It is estimated that the Ecodesign Directive alone could save Europe €90 billion a year by 2020, that’s around €280 (£235) for every household in the EU.

Through MarketWatch we will carry out visits to 110 shops and 110 internet stores three times over during the project (660 in total), and there will be 100 simplified and 20 full lab product tests. All these results and findings, applicable across ten EU countries including the UK, will be shared with industry and consumers to help pinpoint problem areas so we can move forward and get the best deal for everyone.

The aims are to ensure a level playing field for manufacturers and traders when they sell their products, and, more importantly, help reduce household energy bills through the products’ claims being realised.

We welcome the involvement of like-minded organisations. If you want to get involved, drop an email to Tom Lock:

*Calculated by the 2012 stock for wet and cold appliances upgrading to the two highest energy bandings in each product category (note each category has different bandings. A-rated may not be the highest category). Calculations used average energy label energy consumption rates and an average electricity price of 15.32p/kWh.    

Tom Lock is Certification Manager at the Energy Saving Trust. He is an internationally recognised expert in the fields of environmental product standards and standard setting, labelling, energy use, monitoring and testing.

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