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Energy efficient appliances

What is better?

> To buy an energy efficient appliance that it is more expensive but saves electricity and water

> Or to buy a less efficient appliance that is cheaper but consumes more electricity and water

Efficiency label Vs Prize label

Let’s find out…

Energy efficiency labels Vs Prize tags

When considering to buy a new appliance, it is important to both check the energy efficiency label and the prize tag.

Energy efficiency labels

If you have recently bought a home appliance like a dishwasher or a washing machine you most probably know what an energy label is.

If not, you must know that the energy efficiency labels aim to be a clear and simple indication of the energy efficiency of product at the point of purchase.

The ratings on the energy efficiency labels go from A+++ to D (A+++ being the most efficient and D the least efficient). 

Those ratings are defined by the EU for each type of appliance (e.g. fridge, tumble drier,…) through a number of different tests and criteria. This means the ratings can only be compared between one type of appliance (e.g. fridge to fridge).

Energy efficiency labels

Prize tags

And, well, when it comes to the prize tag, the more efficient the appliance the bigger the prize will be. This is because the energy efficient appliances use less electricity and water than those less efficient appliances.

Appliance energy efficiency label and price

The choice

Is it really worth to buy a more expensive but also more efficient appliance or should I buy the less efficient but more economic appliance? 

The answer is: Depends on how high the prize tag is. 

Let’s have a detailed look to the payback period of a couple of fridges.

Payback period

Appliance payback period

What is the Payback period

The payback period is the time that it takes to repay the initial investment.

When calculating the payback period of an appliance, like a fridge, we need to take into account both the cost of the appliance and the cost of the electricity that it will be consumed by the appliance.

Calculating the payback period of two appliances

You have to choose between two fridges:

– Fridge A: It uses 252 kWh per year and it has a prize tag of 899 euro

– Fridge B: It uses 174 kWh per year and it has a prize tag of 1159 euro

Fridge B it is more efficient but also 260 euro more expensive that Fridge A so, which one do you choose?

The only way to make an informed decision is to figure out how much electricity you would be saving per year by choosing fridge B, and then calculating how many years it will take for those savings to compensate the initial extra 260 euro.

We know that we are paying 0,217 euro per kWh (do you know what a kWh is?) so for us that means that:

 Fridge A will have a yearly electricity bill cost of  252 x 0,217 = 54,7 euro

– Fridge B will have a yearly electricity bill cost of  174 x 0,217 = 37,8 euro

For us, there is a difference of 16,9 euro per year on electricity cost between the A+++ and the A++ fridge.

That means that 

– To buy the A+++ fridge we would be paying an initial extra 260 euro 

– To recover that initial investment through the electricity savings it would take us 260/16,9 = 15,4 years…

Well, in this case the payback period it is far too long because nowadays a fridge does not last 15 years.

That means that for us it makes more sense to buy the cheaper and less efficient fridge.


The cost of energy efficient appliances

From the cost perspective, you really need to know how much you are paying per kWh before making an informed decision. 

Do not just buy the more efficient but more expensive appliance by assuming that lower energy or water consumption will compensate for the higher prize tag.

The environmental impact of non energy efficient appliances

From the environmental perspective, of course that it would make more sense to buy the most efficient appliance but here comes into play the prize tag. 

The appliances manufacturers and the distributors need to make sure that the prize tag it is reasonable. 

Energy conservation

Energy conservation can be defined as the decision and the act of using less energy 

Energy conservation both benefit you and the environment  

The act of saving and conserving electricity does benefit you because you will be paying less on your energy bills. 

And it also does benefit the environment because conserving electricity prevents any unnecessary waste of natural resources.

Now, at individual level it may not look worth to try to save a few watts here or there. 

Still, every little counts and if hundreds or thousands of us do save a little every time, it will make an important contribution towards conserving our natural resources.


For example, if 9000 households would manage to save as little as 10 Watts per day (0,01 kWh) that would add to 32850 Kilowatt hour (kWh) saved per year. 

9000 households x 0,01 kWh per day x 365 days per year 

32,850 kWh saved per year

That is a considerable amount of electricity, but let’s add additional perspectives for clarity:

> Assuming an average cost of 0,18 euro (or dollars, or pounds, or any other currency) per kWh, we would collectively be saving nearly 6000 euro per year.

> To produce 32,850 kWh of electricity it is necessary to use around 17 metric tons of coal or 56 barrels of residual fuel oil.

Have a look to this page for more information about the amount of resources needed to produce electricity.

In any case it is clear that small energy savings do really count when looking into the bigger picture.

Proven ways to save electricity at home

If you are looking for saving electricity ideas at home, have a look to this video where we provide some useful tips to reduce the electricity usage and decrease the electricity bill.

Two pie charts showing what home appliances and devices are using the most electricity at home.

All our videos can be found in YouTube, in both English and Spanish languages.

Additionally, if you are looking for energy saving opportunities but you don’t know where to start, use our electricity usage calculators to become aware of your electricity consumption, the electricity costs and the potential savings. 

Fridge electricity usage calculator icon
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Coffee machine

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