creating a greener home

Understanding Energy-Efficient Appliances for a Greener Home

Making consumers aware of energy-efficient appliances has taken decades of education. What is your position? 

When purchasing new appliances, do you prioritize energy efficiency? Are employees or family members aware of the value of your energy-efficient appliances? It may seem a little overwhelming to factor in the various considerations just because you are planning on buying a new appliance. 

But, fear not, you will soon see the long-term benefits of doing so.

Before we detail why manufacturers and retailers like Defy technology have done their part and how you need to do yours, let’s summarise why household appliances are under the spotlight regarding global warming.

Why SA Needs Greener, Energy-Efficient Homes

The need to eliminate carbon emissions from our atmosphere can no longer be ignored. This is not an issue on which the jury has hung, and we can see the verdict right in front of us. Retailers and manufacturers have fully embraced smart appliances that are energy-star certified. However, it is usually the customer who feels lost.

Basically, there are two main issues:

  1. South Africa is the largest greenhouse gas (GHG) emitter on the continent and household appliances are the main culprits for high residential energy usage. By improving our energy efficiency in this specific area, we aim to reduce our CO2 emissions by some 6 million tons by 2030. 
  2. As electricity tariffs have risen 300% over the past 5 years, and inflation continues unabated, financial pressure on the SA populace increases. Consumers remain unaware of the cost of running home appliances and the urgency to replace older appliances with energy-efficient models. Successful changes in consumer behaviour here will result in a R12 billion saving on electricity bills

Do we have your attention? Thought so.

south africa is the largest greenhouse gas emitter in africa

Retailers Defy The Odds with Innovative Technology

Defy innovation and technology deserve credit for creating some extraordinary products that improve the SA's contribution to the ultimate zero carbon emission rating - that is, not releasing more carbon than can be absorbed.

Would you like a few examples?

Defy SteamCure™ tech creates one of the most energy-efficient front loaders on the market, with an A+++ Energy Rating (see next heading for rating guidance) but it saves you in the ironing.

 

Defy Steamcure technology for energy efficient appliances

 

Defy’s CornerWash™ Dishwasher is large enough to fit a 15 place-setting crockery set and has an astounding A++ Energy rating. With only a 9.5-litre water consumption per cycle, South Africans can save up to 12.6 billion litres of water per year just switching from hand washing to Defy’s new CornerWash™ Dishwasher. 

The Inox  Dishwater 14 place dishwasher also proudly boasts an A++ Energy rating. Its affordability leaves no excuse to do your part toward going green on the home front.

Understanding Energy Star Labels For Appliances

Here’s where you have to do your part. First, be duly warned, there are such baddies as Fake Labels and Old Labels in SA. 

Fortunately, there’s a BOLO (Be on the LookOut) for this so you won’t get misled. 

  • ID for Old Labels - if the energy star logo is at the bottom, don’t believe it, it’s no longer considered effective. The new labels have the star logo right up top on the left.
  • ID for Fake Labels - you have two checkpoints for this; 

1) SANS number - Look at the bottom left of the label for a SANS (South African National Standards) number. 

2) Size (yes it counts) The label needs to be 110mm x 200mm. No idea why the fake guys don’t get that right, there’s no telling - but there it is.

It's time to learn how to identify the new energy-star labels. In order to represent the most energy-efficient class, there are seven bars in a gradient ranging from a dark to a light shade of green, yellow, orange, and finally red, which represents the lowest efficiency. Appliances that fall on the red line may not be sold in SA.

energy efficiency label

MEPS and Your Appliances

Today, manufacturers are exceeding the MEPS (Minimum Energy Performance Standard) and so a further rating has been applied to cue you in. The letter ‘A’ with its relevant plusses of A+, A++ to A+++ now occupy the top, highest efficiency bars in its degrees of excellence from A+++ in the top dark green bar, to A++ next in a paler green bar, to A+ in yellow-green and A, without a plus, appears in the yellow bar. 

You’ll be helped by a large bold letter in a black bar on the right to tell you where any particular appliance falls in the rating. 

Obviously, not all appliances are created equal, so an oven, for example, might have an A MEPS rating while a larger oven might have a B MEPS rating. A MEPS of A or higher is required for washing machines, dishwashers, and air conditioners. B MEPS are assigned to geysers, air conditioners, and refrigerators.

Retail outlets, such as Defy are obligated to ensure that all their appliances in stock have an LoA (Letter of Authority) from SA’s  NRCS (National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications). The Star energy-efficiency label needs to be made visible to the customer, and their staff needs to assist them with understanding it. The sales force in any recommendable retail outlet should be prepared to give home energy advice.

Sneaky Home Energy-Sucking Appliances on Standby 

Look out for electricity-draining appliances that still cause your electricity meter to tick over even when not in use. This is known as ‘Phantom Load’ A list of prime suspects might interest and surprise you:

  • TVs
  • Satellite TV boxes
  • Heating/cooling systems
  • Video game consoles
  • Coffee machines
  • Microwave ovens
  • Computers
  • DVR boxes

Just leaving your cell phone charger plugged in while not charging, is sucking at your electricity. According to Loop, ‘between 9-16% of the electricity consumed in homes is used to power appliances when they are in this standby mode.’ That wastage adds up to a couple of thousand rands annually.

You can now purchase smart plugs that are incredibly useful for making your home more energy-efficient. Smart plugs nuke your sneaky energy suckers and greatly reduce your Phantom energy load. These plugs are safe to use on all your energy drainers.

Hot energy saving tip:

Setting appliances such as your heating and cooling apparatus to ‘On’ keeps the fan running no matter what and your electricity is simultaneously being drained. Setting it on ‘auto’ allows the system to switch the fan off while the room remains within the ambient range you selected.

Point to note: 

Audio-visual equipment is not required to have an appliance label, but must prove a standby power usage below 1W (watt). (Decoders and set-top boxes need to show less than 3W standby usage.)

Do Energy-Efficient Appliances Really Save Money?

Money talks. No question. Although consumers tend to forget, money is spent in more ways than just the initial purchase of appliances. Then there are the 'hidden' costs incurred as you make use of your appliance.

Without energy efficiency as a priority, you may think you’ve scored a bargain on your purchase but you will be overlooking the hidden costs to your electricity bill due to inefficient use of energy. In the case of dishwashers and washing machines, those costs include excess water usage.

Here’s the win-win rationale for your initial outlay:

Energy-efficient appliances are often more expensive than their less-efficient equivalents. BUT, and it’s a vital ‘but’, putting down your hard-earned money on energy-smart items will minimize your electricity charges over the lifetime of the item, thereby generating a return on your investment. 

To repeat; whenever you use an energy-efficient appliance, you save money on your electric bill. The win-win motto is: ‘Spending more now saves more down the line’.

Visit DEFY online and explore your options on innovation and energy-efficient home appliances.