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Topten Energy: Your independent guide to energy efficient appliances

Energy efficient appliances in the home

Energy Saving Trust have been in charge of Topten UK since 2015 – an initiative somewhat unsurprisingly set up to highlight the leading products for energy efficiency. It's all about making the market clearer for consumers looking to make the best choice, with low running costs and environmental considerations in mind.

Stewart Muir from Energy Saving TrustHow are these energy efficient product lists determined, and how often are they updated? Project Manager Stewart Muir (pictured) explained:

“We look at comprehensive market reports and use them to set criteria for what makes a top ten product. To look at washing machines for example, that would be A+++ with A-rated spin efficiency. We also try to take into account including a range of models and costs – it’s very important that Topten is a resource that covers different preferences and budgets, but always points consumers towards an efficient product.  

“The lists have to be updated at least every six months, but we tend to look at the trends here – different product types generally get refreshed at specific times of the year, so we try to work around that.”

A few interesting points of note from the latest round of updates:

  • The efficiency of TVs continues to improve, with many more achieving an A rating, even from the cheaper brands.
  • A lot of washing machines are achieving the top class which is A+++. A+ is currently the lowest out there. This can be confusing for consumers, and it is hoped that the decision to return to an A-G scale will help with this.
  • If you don’t have a heat pump tumble dryer, you’ll likely have a vented or condenser one; this technology can currently only achieve a B class at best. C and D rated models can’t go on the market any more – but there are still lots out there in homes. Heat pump ones can get into the A+++ class, and the price of these is coming down now. There are now a number of heat pump dryers available for under £500.
  • More and more LED bulbs that can replace a 100W incandescent are coming on the market. These may set you back £10-15 but will cost less than £2 a year to run. A D-rated, 100W equivalent halogen costs a couple of quid but may cost around £11 a year to run. Upgrading lighting in the home from incandescent or halogen to a good LED remains a no-brainer.

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Those companies featuring in the countdown must be pretty pleased with themselves – but what happens if a manufacturer questions why its product has not ranked in the top 10? 

Stewart said: “A couple of companies have approached us to get their most up-to-date models included, but no-one has questioned why they're not there as yet. We are definitely open to working with manufacturers, say for example if they've got some data they want to share on efficiency. The market moves very fast and we are keen for manufacturers to give us details of their most efficient models so Topten is always as representative of the market as it can be. There could also be opportunities for us to work together to verify savings.” 

Topten is an international project, with lists compiled in 16 European countries, as well as China, Chile and Argentina. How is the UK comparing to its international counterparts? 

Stewart explained: “There is some work done looking across the consortium at what we all have. One difference is there aren't many A+++ freezers in the UK market, whereas there are a number of models in Europe. Then in warmer countries like Spain, they look at the energy efficiency of air conditioning units – something it's not really worth doing for the UK.” 

The project is funded by the European Commission's Horizon 2020 initiative – which does spark inevitable questions about the impact of the UK's pending exit from the EU on product energy efficiency standards. 

Stewart said: “In terms of energy labelling and eco design, UK products sold in Europe would still have to feature energy labels and meet minimum standards. Whatever happens though, the UK could now take the opportunity to really lead in this area. 

“Regardless of political stance, people can't deny that these initiatives have changed the market for the better. A recent JRC report on energy efficiency showed that the average fridge-freezer and washing machine sold in 2014 now uses 25% less energy than a decade ago. This is a pretty massive improvement.”

Discover top-performing laundry, lightinghome entertainment or kitchen appliances from Topten UK - you can also tweet @Top10Energy. Share your thoughts with us in the comments below, or tweet @EnergySvgTrust.

Gary Hartley is Energy Saving Trust's expert blogger. He has extensive experience researching and writing on a number of topics, with particular expertise in sustainable energy, policy, literature and sport. As well as providing regular blog content, Gary has also been published in numerous magazines and journals.

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A well presented [and logical] article but there is a point I would like to raise. To get a product listed as re: TopTen Energy Efficiency takes money and no matter how large the efficiency improvement [for argument sake let's say a consistent 20% - 35% energy saving] this technology will fall through the cracks. Now if there was a way which a technology could be verified without the need for huge financial investment [I am talking personal investment] the potential for 20% - 35% energy savings in just the UK economy alone would dwarf the financial support needed to prove concept.

As you may have guessed we have totally self funded to date significant and consistant energy savings because we have not been able to elicit support from organisations who set themselves up as the powers that be in efficiency technologies. Now with just the minimum of support to gain traction the technology delivers we could become world beaters, now if anyone is listening!

interesting post, quite similar to what Nexus energy solutions have told me. thats great thanks

Hi, there found your items very informative as a Green Party member not surprised by British public complacent attitude. to switching supply provider. Unfortunately i live in a rented property on Private Estate so i think solar panels would not be allowed. There more concerned with appearance than being practical.

Can u tell me which 6 ltr slow cooker is the most Energy Efficient I looked at energy saving website last night and could not find anything about slow cookers or pressure cookers. Which I am also considering.

Incidentally I live in a Registered Superhome which I internally insulated myself.
We are now paying £5. A month for Gas the house stays around 20 c. Upstairs.
It's a bit cooler downstairs where the floor is not insulated as we live in a 1890 Terraced house. Ten years ago we were paying @£100 a month for gas if we had not done work I shudder to think what it would cost now.....

Hello Arnold,

Unfortunately we do not currently have information available on slow cookers.

We would recommend contacting the Energy Saving Advice Service (ESAS) on 0300 123 1234 for help from our experts - all you pay for is a national rate call. Hours for calling are Monday to Friday from 9am to 8pm.

Alternatively you can email energy-advice@est.org.uk

-
EST Team

Electric heating. Is there any research into the true efficiency of storage radiators? All manufacturers claim their product is highly modern and the best available.

Hi John,

Modern storage heaters are generally more efficient than older models due to better insulation and better controls. Whatever storage heater you have, it’s important to set the controls properly to get the most out of them; there is information on our website and a video on setting controls.

We hope this is useful.


EST Team