Saving energy is becoming more important for many of us. One way to do this is by buying more energy efficient products. But are the eco claims made by a growing number of products really helping us achieve this?
Cleaning up the energy market is one of our top priorities here at Which?. We’re already tackling energy providers on tariffs and we’ve introduced an energy saver logo to highlight star performers among traditionally energy-hungry appliances.
We’ve also looked into ‘greenwashing’ on cleaning products in the past. More recently we’ve noticed an increase in energy-saving claims on small appliances like irons, coffee machines and blenders. The question is, are these claims all they’re cracked up to be?
So why does it matter?
It seems like making claims to be eco-friendly is an easy win when marketing new products – it’s another box ticked to try and persuade you to buy one product over another.
However, we’ve found that some of these claims simply amount to either:
- Re-labelling an existing feature.
- Championing a feature that’s standard on most competing models.
- Or highlighting something that would only make a tiny difference in energy consumption compared to competitors.
We featured a couple of examples in our January issue of the magazine. For example, our reviewers couldn’t find any evidence of the ‘Eco Mode’ advertised for a new Magimix blender they were trying out.
We had to ask Magimix where this so-called ‘eco mode’ was, and it turns out there is no special setting. Magimix used the claim due to the blender using 0 watts when it is… off. EU regulations stipulate that any other blender would have to use less than 1 watt when off, so you’d probably be disappointed if you expected noticeable savings.
We’ve also seen several espresso machines claiming to save you energy, and some even hijacking the rating system developed for large appliances to make claims about their efficiency. Since larger appliances use much more energy, it’s completely meaningless for small appliances to boast about meeting ratings that weren’t developed for them.
How does it affect you?
We welcome efforts by all manufacturers to do their bit and design products that are more energy efficient, but we think claims like this are unhelpful. If a product won’t save much more energy than equivalents, why should we be fooled into buying them?
Have you bought a product because of its energy-saving credentials? Do these claims influence your decision to buy them or do you take them with a pinch of salt?