Old freezers and fridges are usually the biggest money-and energy-spenders in our homes after heating, so having a greener kitchen can really make a difference.
AMDEA’s (Association of Manufacturers of Domestic Electrical Appliances) Time to Change website shows that 15.4 million appliances (fridges and washing machines) that are at least 10 years’ old are still being used by households across the UK wasting energy and water.
One household we have trialled swapped their 30-year-old energy-guzzler for an ultra-efficient fridge, saving 80 per cent energy and £137 a year and would recoup the cost of a new model in just three years. But if you are not able to purchase one of the new-generation, high-efficiency appliances, do try these simple energy-saving tips!Temperature watch: Fridges and freezers are switched on 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, so energy efficiency is even more important than for other appliances. The longer a door is open, the more energy and money are required to get it back to temperature, so keep openings to a minimum. The colder the appliance is set, the more energy it will consume. A fridge or freezer thermometer will help you set to these temperatures correctly:
- Fridges should have a maximum temperature of 5°C
- The freezing portion of a freezer should be around -23°C; storage areas around -18°C
Washing tips: A fully loaded dishwasher or washing machine uses the same amount of water and energy as a part- load, unless you have a special ‘half load’ setting. However, jamming in lots of clothing will reduce performance, so you may want to watch the weight of your washing to ensure you are not overloading.
Be cool: Many leading laundry brands now wash well at 30°C. Assuming water is mains- supplied at about 15°C, you can save half the energy used to heat the water if you wash at 30°C rather than 45°C; and two thirds the energy if you switch from washing at 60°C. For dishwashers, leading brands recommend washing at no more than 50 or 55°C. This can save a lot of energy — about 84kWh of electricity in a year.
Don’t forget the detergent: Low-temperature detergents produce great wash results and reducing the wash temperature by 10 degrees has a big impact on the electricity you use. If drying indoors, a higher cycle speed is recommended to make your wash as dry as possible, especially if you are then going to use a tumble dryer. Some dishwashers will allow you to air-dry dishes, saving energy on the drying cycle.
Drying out: The spin cycle setting on your washing machine can make a big difference to how damp clothing is when taken out: and therefore how much energy it takes to get dry. If drying in the air, a slower spin will save energy and reduce creasing (and reduce the energy you use when ironing).
Work with nature: Drying outside when weather permits makes clothes easier to iron and uses no fossil fuels. Buying a dishwasher which allows dishes to dry in the air rather than requiring more electricity saves electricity, money and carbon dioxide emissions.
And finally… do read your labels: If you are thinking of investing in a new machine, it’s really worth studying labelling and weighing up the extra cost of buying the most environmentally efficient equipment versus the carbon dioxide emissions, energy and money you can save over the lifetime of the appliance. Every kWh (electrical unit) you save costs about 14p in 2011 and could cost at least double that in 2015.
To check out how much you could save go to http://www.t2c.org.uk/calculator/ and tap in the year you bought your white goods.