UK households could save millions of pounds a year if they all switched to the most energy efficient appliances, according to a report from charity Global Action Plan (GAP).(1) Large appliances, such as washing machines and fridges, account for 42% of the electricity used in households.(2) But we’re not always buying the most energy efficient appliances, which could save us hundreds over the lifetime of an appliance. For instance, if all the consumers who bought an A rated fridge freezer in 2011 had bought an A+++ rated one instead, there would be a collective saving of £24 million a year, and £16m if they had bought an A+++ washing machine instead of an A-rated appliance. If the savings were spread proportionately across the UK this would mean an extra £315,000 retained within the Cumbria economy. The Which? fridge freezers energy costs calculator reveals that the best annual running cost for a fridge freezer is £25 and the worst is £87, that’s a potential £620 saved over ten years.(3)
GAP’s latest report reveals that UK households could cut their energy bills by £75 simply by switching to energy efficient domestic appliances – that’s over £16m a year if all Cumbrian households switched.(4)
The report for GAP by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) shows that UK consumers spend £8bn a year powering domestic electrical appliances – around £300 per household, or £67m for the whole of Cumbria.(5)
A major study carried out by for the Government found that electricity demand could be reduced by 26.3 TWh a year by 2030 if consumers purchase the most efficient appliances. This is equivalent to the amount of electricity generated in a year by one and a quarter nuclear power stations at the scale of the planned development at Hinkley Point C.(6)
GAP is calling on the Government to urgently introduce financial incentives to enable consumers to immediately slash bills by boosting uptake of energy efficient appliances. By introducing a scrappage scheme to help consumers replace inefficient appliances, or tax credits when new, more efficient ones are purchased, the Government could put the power back in the hands of consumers to take control of their household bills. Consumers’ bills are currently set to be £63 higher in 2020 than Government projections due to the under-performance of existing policy on electrical appliances.
Cumbria local authorities and community groups should investigate the possibility of establishing a project to give A+++ fridge freezers free of charge to householders living in fuel poverty. SSE ran a free A rated appliance scheme for vulnerable customers between 2011 and 2013 spending around £2.5m per year. Community Projects, such as the Climate Challenge Funded Greenhouse project in Edinburgh can help householders apply for these schemes.(7)
- Watts in the Kitchen, Global Action Plan, April 2013
- Which? 16th April 2013
- Fridge Freezers Lifetime Energy Costs Tool, Which? (accessed 20th May 2014)
- Global Action Plan Press Release 30th April 2014
- Promoting Highly Efficiency Electrical Appliances, IPPR, GAP, April 2014
- Capturing the full electricity efficiency potential of the UK, McKinsey & Co report for DECC 2012
- The Greenhouse Report March 2012.