Although the Eco-labels are a good idea and have been very useful, I think they have big flaws and could do with an overhaul. They’ve been out for so long now that most appliances are equally good or there’s very little between them as they’ve all designed appliances to score well. I have some critical comments on them here – What do the ECO labels mean?
New Section on Eco-Labels needed
I’d love to see an extra section added to the eco-label rating, either “Expected Lifespan” or “Average life span” based on longevity statistics.
My criticism of the eco-labels revolves mostly round the fact that they don’t take into account the longevity of an appliance or its build quality and reliability, which I believe to be more important than being A rated. A poorly built or economically unrepairable appliance that may only last a few years can still get a AAA rating giving the impression it’s environmentally friendly, while the massive harm to the environment caused by throwaway washing machines is ignored.
I also continually advise that an appliance that lasts will work out cheaper in the long run and is probably even more environmentally friendly than one that used a bit less less energy but only lasts several years.
If customers could see a realistic expected life span of a product it would probably make many of them prepared to spend more instead of being obsessed by cheap prices and short termism. Imagine seeing the following washing machines side by side –
- Appliance X: £850 – Average lifespan 20 – 25 years
- Appliance Y: £299 – Average lifespan 3 – 7 years
- Appliance Z: £575 – Average lifespan 10 – 15 years
I’m not suggesting everyone would buy the more expensive ones, but many would be inclined to invest more to get the longer life, and ultimately better value, and at least people would be making informed choices.
Here are two examples of washing machines with differing prices. One has a bigger drum and faster spin plus it’s cheaper – but is likely to last nowhere near as long.
- Washing machine X: £750. 6 Kg drum, 1400 spin – expected lifespan 20 – 25 years
- Washing machine Y: £389. 7kg drum 1600 spin – expected lifespan 5 – 8 years
With this information people would at least get a proper perspective on why some washing machines cost much more and have less features instead of just writing them off as “expensive”. At the moment it’s too easy to be beguiled by features and superficially cheap prices without realising the quality is being eroded to such an extent that many are actually more expensive than the “expensive” ones at the end of the day.
- Part 1: What do the energy labels on washing machines mean? Energy Efficiency Ratings
- Part 2: Energy Labels: Energy consumption kWh/Cycle
- Part 3: Washing performance ratings on eco labels
- Part 4: Final Part – spin drying performance, water consumption & Noise levels
- How designing for eco labels can be misleading
- Do we really need to dump our old inefficient appliances to save money and the world?