Are your appliances as green as you think? – 1 December 2009

Research published this week shows that some of the top selling household appliances may not be performing in accordance with claimed standards printed on their energy-efficiency labels. Grimsby Energy Performance Certificate provider Colin Childs from explains: "Many domestic appliances are required to be labelled showing their energy use, energy efficiency and other characteristics. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) tested 24 of the best selling washing machines, 24 ovens and 265 different light bulbs. The tests were simply a snapshot, testing individual appliances against their energy labelling."

Test results included:

• 16 of the 24 washer driers tested did not perform in accordance with all the declarations on their labels.

• 4 of the washer driers tested were unable to dry to the required level – so energy and water measurements could not be compared with the performance declared on the label. This means that even where consumers have bought an apparently energy-efficient appliance, the need to dry clothes for longer may result in higher energy use than suggested on the label.

• 23 of the 24 ovens tested performed in accordance with their energy-efficiency labels.

• Some light bulbs tested had no labels at all despite this being mandatory.

• Three-quarters of Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) performed to all the declarations on their label (correct energy class, brightness and wattage used) whereas 43% of old style incandescent bulbs and 31% of the tungsten halogen bulbs did not perform to all the declarations tested.

• 8% of CFL bulbs labelled A tested as B.

"When people buy energy-efficient appliances, they expect them to perform to the advertised standards," says Colin. "Many people buy energy-efficient products to reduce their carbon footprint and their fuel bill. DEFRA is aiming to revise and extend the A-G energy-efficiency labelling system for more products to help consumers chose the best products on the market. This research highlights the need for these standards to be fully enforced."