simply efficient shopping

Ross Lammas the founder of Sust-it offers some canny advice on understanding energy labels, and why he started his energy saving website

Q: Why did you start Sust-it?

A: Frustration at the lack of information regarding energy efficiency! I’d been fortunate to self-build an eco house in 2006 – which involved lots of research in into energy-efficient building design and low carbon-intensive materials/techniques.

Before we moved in, we turned our attention to our old electricals, which were in storage. Should we replace our old tube TV and 12-year-old washing machine with modern super-efficient ones? More research began, and, to my surprise, I found a complete lack of understandable information on energy usage and absolutely no information on televisions! Yet I knew, from experience, that Plasma screens were energy hungry! It also surprised me to find such differences between appliances on how much power they used. I thought it would be helpful to show people how much electrical appliances cost to run – both to help them save money and reduce CO2; the Sust-it website was born!

Q: How hard was it to get information from manufacturers in the early days?

A: It’s still a struggle getting good accurate data. Our figures come from manufacturer’s websites, which are a bit like phone chargers, they’re all different! I believe manufacturers should be made to show energy labels on their website, in the same way as they are required to in-store and on advertising.

Q: Every appliance seems to be ‘A’ rated now. Are you pleased with the improvements they have made?

A: Yes & no. It still amazes me that many manufacturers seemed to surpass the highest standards when new labelling regimes were introduced. Shouldn’t higher targets be set? More could be done to encourage consumers to buy energy-efficient appliances – UK consumers are not yet purchasing enough A+ to A+++ appliances; sales in 2011 only accounted for 30%, compared to Germany, where sales within this range were 88%!

Q: How can consumers understand Energy labels? They are now even more confusing. Ratings such as A++++ (-40%) might look good, but what do they mean to consumers?

A: I never understood why the A+++ system was introduced; it just confuses people (and me sometimes!) The EU should have recalibrated the labels when new standards were introduced. The A to G traffic light system worked okay; if you got an F at school you knew you were in trouble, and red means stop!

I’d suggest showing the running costs would be the most significant step forward, as consumers better understand pounds and pence than kilowatts and watts.

Energy Proof Your Home
Enter postcode:  

More tips to follow.

Comments are closed.

Compare running costs & prices

You can compare the running costs and prices of thousands of electrical products with Sust-it, simply choose from the options below:

Energy Efficient Electricals

Product type:
Washing Machines
Inkjet Printers

Low Energy LED Bulb Prices

Bulb type:
Bayonet Fitting
GU10 LED Spotlight
Small Screw Fitting

Vacuum Cleaner Prices

Cleaner type:
Cylinder Vacuum Cleaners
Upright Vacuum Cleaners
Central Vacuum Cleaners

Electric Shower Prices

Shower power:
10.8 kW Showers
9.5 kW Showers
7.5 kW Showers

Microwave Oven Prices

Microwave power:
700W Microwave Ovens
850W Microwave Ovens
1200W Microwave Ovens

Heater Prices

Heater type:
Fan Heaters
Halogen Heaters
Convector Heaters

Small Appliance Prices

Product type:

Vehicle Running Costs

Fuel type:

Energy Efficient Living — News, Hints & Tips