New EU labels misinforming customers over energy efficiency of washing machines

The energy labels on washing machines are being somewhat misleading, seeing as they are displaying the average electricity used in a year based on cycles of 220, regardless of the machines actual capacity. This means that we are effectively being told that a 6kg A rated machine uses less energy per year that the much more efficient A+++ rated 12kg machine, which has double the capacity.

Washing machines with larger capacities, however, obviously use more electricity per individual cycle, but as they hold much larger loads they work out to be more efficient as you do less loads of washing per year.

One example is the A rated John Lewis JLWM1404 6kg washing machine, which according to the energy label uses 204 kWh (GBP 29.15) per year.

Compared this the 12kg A+++ Samsung WF1124XAC with an annual consumption of 258 kWh (GBP 36.87) per year, this implies that the A+++ machine is less efficient as it uses more power, even though it does twice as much washing. By ignoring the energy labels an average family could save 110 wash cycles per year.

Ross from Sust-it said, “The most economic and environmentally friendly option for the average family is buy a large drummed washing machine, as you’ll do far more washing per unit of electricity. Lots of manufacturers are now focusing on larger capacity machines, due to their energy saving credentials. It seems crazy that Energy Labels aren’t reflecting this change and are displaying confusing information; the other side effect of this change is that you can’t compare machines which were tested before the new labelling system was introduced”

Sust-it’s energy usage calculations are based on average amounts of washing; therefore larger machines tend to be more energy efficient per kg of washing done. With half load options and some with the technology to adjust the water and energy consumption according to the weight of washing, a large capacity machine is appealing if getting all the family’s towels and jeans done in one go is a priority. If consumers buy a large drummed machine, and use them correctly, major savings can be made!