The less energy your electrical items use, the less they cost to run. Simple...
To find the most energy efficient ones, just look for the Energy Saving Trust Recommended logo.
Under the Energy Saving Trust Recommended scheme only products that meet strict criteria on energy efficiency can carry the logo.
For example, for fridges they endorse A+ which are more energy efficient than A rated products and the washing machines on their scheme must be AAA - that's A for energy, A for wash quality and A for spin.
The criteria is set by an independent panel and reviewed annually. In addition they test a percentage of their products so you can rest assured that where there's a logo there's a smarter choice.
Products are also endorsed in categories where there isn't a statutory EU energy label like glazing, televisions with integrated digital decoders (IDTVs) and boilers.
The aim is to make it easy. The idea is that whatever the product, whichever the labelling system - all you need to do is look for the Energy Saving Trust Recommended logo. It's like a beacon for money savings.
A guide to choosing consumer electronics:
The UK loves consumer electronic equipment. Every year, we spend over £12 billion on kit like plasma TVs, games consoles and home entertainment equipment, making us the biggest spenders on gadgets in Europe.
The sudden explosion of new technology in recent years has created an insatiable thirst for 24-hour information, communication and entertainment - and, as a result, new demands on our energy supply.
A massive £3.4 billion worth of electricity is currently spent powering consumer electronic and computer products alone in the UK every year - that's more than 30% of the average household electricity bill. Thankfully, there are a few simple things you can do when choosing electronic equipment to save money and energy in your home.
Follow these simple guidelines to keep your gadgets energy efficient:
- Do your research before you shop - There's no need to compromise on functionality to be more energy efficient. Many of the latest and most sophisticated consumer electronics carry the Energy Saving Trust Recommended logo. Find out more about Energy Saving Trust Recommended products.
- Look for the logo - the Energy Saving Trust Recommended logo is a simple and quick way to find the most energy efficient products. You'll find it on a wide range of products from kitchen appliances including washing machines and fridges, heating and lighting to televisions and set top boxes.
- Ask in store - with energy consumption continuing to rise, the running costs and efficiency of a product are important considerations. Sales staff should have a good working knowledge of the features and benefits of each product so be sure to ask them:
a) Whether it is Energy Saving Trust Recommended
b) How much energy the product uses when on standby
c) Whether the product has any special energy efficient features such as automatic standby which powers appliances down if they are not used for a certain amount of time, or screen blanking which allows you to listen to digital radio on your TV without using excess energy
- Look out for integrated appliances - fewer products means less electricity so buying an integrated digital television, which combines a TV with a digital receiver, is good for both your pocket and the environment.
Why energy efficiency matters:
Around 3% of total UK TV energy consumption is from standby alone - so turn it off when you have finished watching and save yourself money.
The new large flat screen TVs can cost over three times as much to run as traditional TVs. This can add up to a surprising £40 to a typical household electricity bill every year. Do your research before you buy to make sure you're getting the most energy efficient model.
In 2009, set-top boxes in the UK are estimated to use more than £150 million worth of electricity. Energy Saving Trust Recommended TVs have a built-in set top box, one of these will could save you around £6 each year compared to a TV with a separate set-top box and will reduce your carbon dioxide emissions.
The latest generation of computer games consoles can draw up to an astonishing 250W of power - the equivalent of having over four 60W traditional light bulbs burning. Switch off your games.
Would you like to know more?
For more information on home energy generation technologies, contact your local Energy Saving Trust Advice Centre free on 0800 512 012, or visit www.energysavingtrust.org.uk.