Computers, refrigerators, flatscreen monitors, washing machines—all these appliances use electricity, yet just how much is something we can easily take control of ourselves. When buying new appliances consumers should therefore pay attention to more than just design or price, and instead take a closer look and ask merchants how much electricity it consumes in its lifetime. One thing is clear: energy-efficient models pay off in the long run, and they needn’t be more expensive to buy. When considering home appliances such as fridges and washing machines, consumers can use the EU energy labelling system (Classes A - G) as guidance.
Bigger, brighter, louder—does it make sense? The entertainment electronics industry constantly introduces new models to the market. TVs are becoming bigger, and computers have ever more features, with a concurrent rise in energy consumption and resulting outcome visible on the electric bill. Conclusion: do not just go for the maximum possible, but choose what makes the most sense for one’s personal needs. To compare: a PC that runs complicated games can use up to 767 kilowatt hours per year, or some 151 euros in electricity costs. An efficient multimedia PC, which is perfectly sufficient to serve many purposes, consumes a mere 88 kilowatt hours and about 17 euros. The frontrunners in energy consumption are large plasma screens with a diagonal of over one metre that use up to 600 kilowatt hours. Six fridges could be run simultaneously on such an amount.
Really turning it ‘off’: Many devices continue to consume power even when switched off and are an unnecessary burden on the household budget. These so-called idle losses, including stand-by, incur at least 4 billion euros annually in electricity consumption costs in the homes and offices of Germany alone.
UBA is offering information at its IFA booth on how to really turn appliances ‘off’ and will be introducing equipment that bears the power-saver label and can either be switched ‘off’ or consumes less than 1 watt when on standby.