In today’s cash-strapped times, the more you can save on energy bills, the better. However, rather than sit shivering because you don’t want to turn on the heating, you could consider upgrading your appliances for more energy-efficient models.

Now, we don’t mean you should immediately throw away perfectly workable washing machines or dishwashers, but, let’s face it, they’re sure to need replacing sooner or later. So when their time is up, make sure you know how to find energy-saving white goods that can save you money without any loss of cleaning power.

Why is it green?

White goods can account for up to 20% of a home’s energy use, so you need to keep a look out for high eco rated items.

What’s involved?

Nowadays, thanks to European Union rules, white goods like dishwashers, washing machines and tumble dryers must have an EU Energy Label showing their appliance energy rating. This lets you know how efficient (or not) they are. They’re rated from G (the least efficient) up to A+++ (the most efficient), but labelling may revert to the old A-G format over the next few years.

Can you DIY?

It depends on the item.  Simple plugging in of a new fridge, freezer or dryer is easily achieved, but washing machines and dishwashers require plumbing and installing a new gas appliance is definitely a no-no and requires a person properly trained and ‘Gas Safe’

How much does it cost?

It is difficult to give a general cost due to the number of types of machines, but you could expect to pay about £500 for a A+++ rated freestanding fridge freezer.

Does it save money?

An A+++ fridge freezer will save about £250 in energy bills over its lifetime (about 10 years) compared to an A+ model.

Can it be done in a church?

It can.  Many churches also have a hall with a kitchen.  As well as a fridge freezer there may be a dishwasher.  It used to be more efficient to wash up by hand, but today’s highly efficient dishwashers often use less heat and water than doing the same amount of washing up yourself. Some dishwashers can wash a full load in as little as 6.2 litres of water, that’s less than the volume of a standard washing-up bowl.

This is good news if you have a water meter, but it’s only true if you wait until the dishwasher is fully loaded. If you keep using it with part loads, you’re not making the most of its efficiency. On the other hand, don’t overload it, as that stops the water circulating properly and you may not get everything clean.

Other Thoughts?

Before plunging into a purchase do some research, and not only on price. The EU-funded MarketWatch survey (run by the Energy Saving Trust) reviewed 114 traditional shops and 111 online retailers across Europe, to check whether they were displaying energy consumption information correctly. It discovered that over 60% in the online sites had missed out some information about appliances’ energy consumption and performance.

In the UK websites checked by the survey, 90% of products had energy information missing or displayed wrongly. However, the good news was that all the products checked were labelled with at least some kind of information about their energy performance.

Traditional shops and retailers did much better. Over 77% of products across Europe were correctly labelled, while UK shops had a higher figure, with 80% of products showing the relevant figures in the right format

Richard Farmeryis the Facilities and Property Coordinator for The Methodist Church. He advises and coordinates the central facilities and property, and provides guidance to churches a in relation to all facilities and property related matters.