Liam Gawne from Miele outlines what you should look for when selecting beautifully designed green appliances for your home.

â??Letâ??s face it â?? if you are going to waste money, the last thing you want to waste it on is your electricity bill! It has been estimated that appliances can use up to 20% of your total electricity bill â?? so changing to energy-efficient appliances can save you quite a substantial amount over the long term, says Gawne.

However, with all the appliance manufacturers jumping on the â??greenâ? bandwagon and touting their eco-friendly credentials, it is not always easy to know which ones are legit. Here are tips on what to look for:

Look for an energy efficient rating label

South Africa doesn’t have its own energy label, so your best bet would be to look out for the European Union (EU) energy label.

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This label is found on a selection of white goods and other products, and they are designed to help consumers understand how energy efficient an appliance is.

â??The EU energy efficiency label clearly displays the energy efficiency of the appliance and rates it in terms of a set of energy efficiency classes â?? from A to G, with A being the most energy efficient, and G the least efficient. The labels also provide other handy information that consumers can use to make comparisons between various makes and models,â? explains Gawne.

In an attempt to keep up with advances in energy efficiency, A+, A++ and A+++ grades have been introduced for various products.

Consider the carbon footprint

A truly green appliance is not just about its energy efficiency ratings â?? you also need to consider the sustainable practices of the manufacturer, as well as the overall carbon footprint of the appliance in question.

â??Mieleâ??s dedication to the environment has been in force since 1899 â?? long before it ever became a market-imperative. Over the decades, Mieleâ??s holistic eco-friendly approach has earned the company the reputation for setting the benchmark for always upholding an ethos of providing smart technology with an environmental conscious,â? says Gawne.

It is also important to consider how long your appliance will last, as the longer it lasts for, the more bang youâ??ll get for your buck and the lower its ultimate carbon footprint will be â?? meaning it is a â??greenerâ? choice.

â??All Mieleâ??s products are designed, manufactured and tested to last for a minimum of 20 years. When compared to the average seven-year life cycle of most appliances, this means that, although Miele appliances might cost you a bit more initially, when you consider the fact that they will provide you with superlative performance for 20+ years, the reality is that they will end up saving you money in the long run,â? says Gawne.

How to choose an energy-efficient refrigerator

If there is one appliance that you would like to upgrade to a more energy-efficient model, then the fridge should be the first port of call.

â??Since refrigerators run 24 hours a day, seven days a week, they tend to use up a lot of energy â?? in fact, it is estimated that they account for around 10% of our homesâ?? total energy use,â? explains Gawne.

â??If it is an energy efficient refrigerator that you are after â?? the fridge you choose should boast a minimum of an A energy rating. All Miele refrigerators for example, boast a minimum energy efficiency of A+, ensuring that they offer some of the â??greenestâ?? fridges on the market.â?

How to choose an energy-efficient hob

The hob is the only kitchen appliance that offers the option â?? electricity or gas. Both options have their pros and cons:

  • Standard electrical hobs are much less energy efficient than gas hobs â?? they take some time to heat up and cool down, and a lot of the heat generated is not transferred to the food at all. However, if this is all you can afford, then be sure to opt for the hobs with a ceramic surface, as they do a better job of transferring the heat to your food.

  • Gas hobs are considerably more energy efficient â?? they boast a much better heat-transfer ration, and the heat generation is instantaneous. Gas hobs are also considerably less expensive to run when compared to electrical hobs. However, if you opt for a gas hob, it is imperative that you choose an efficient extractor, which will be needed to remove the combustive by-products that the gas will introduce into your home.

  • Induction hobs are the hobs of the future â?? if green is what you are after, then induction is the answer. In an induction hob, heat is transferred directly to the pan through high-tech magnetic fields, leading to very little heat wastage. Heat is generated incredibly quickly, and it is quick and easy to adjust. Also, since the heat needs a metallic surface for conduction, when the pot is removed, then the surface immediately becomes col to the touch â?? making it safer as well.

The only drawback to induction hobs is the fact that they are comparatively new to the market, and therefore only high-end models are available. They also require the use of specific cookware made from stainless steel, cast iron or enamelled iron â?? so you will most probably require a whole new set of pots and pans as well. If you purchase an induction hob from Miele however, you will also receive a set of high-end Ittala pots valued at R3 500, which takes care of this particular problem.

How to choose an energy-efficient oven

The energy efficiency of an oven is largely dictated by their size, so it is wise to choose a smaller unit that will meet your needs.

If you have the occasional need for larger oven capacity â?? it is a far better solution to opt for two smaller ovens, rather than one large oven. In this way, you will save electricity by using the small oven most often, and you can use both small ovens when you require larger oven capacity.

When making your oven selection, be sure to choose a convection oven, in which a fan continuously circulates the heated air around the food. In this way, the temperature and cooking times are reduced, and in so doing, so is the amount of energy that is required.

Also, look for ovens with a self-cleaning feature, as these models are better insulated, which means that they are more efficient at maintaining oven temperatures.

How to choose an energy efficient extractor fan

Double-glazing, central heating and insulation all hinder the circulation of fresh air. In the kitchen, cooking generates steam, grease and odours that have nowhere to go unless they are either extracted or recirculated.

This is especially compounded when taking into consideration the open-plan living trend â?? where kitchens are becoming a seamless part of the central living area. As a result cookerhoods are a vital part of any modern kitchen design.

The latest in cookerhood technology includes hoods that create a dialogue with the hobs below them. This technology, featured in all Miele extractors, allows the hood to be â??switched onâ? only when it is required â?? whether the saucepans below are boiling, simmering or frying, the hood automatically detects and adapts its settings to the type of cooking taking place on the hob.

The system not only saves energy by only being switched on when required, but it also allows the user to give their undivided attention to the ingredients theyâ??re preparing and in the process helps create an altogether cleaner and cooler kitchen environment. To ensure efficiency, the hood adjusts automatically with changes in the cooking process â?? you turn up the hob and the hood reacts accordingly. Mieleâ??s cookerhoods are exceptionally energy efficient, using up to 70% less energy than their counterparts.

How to choose an energy efficient dishwasher

For dishwashers, the EU energy label calculates the energy efficiency of a dishwasher according to the number of place settings it can hold. Quick-rinse cycles are also useful, especially if you are on metered water use.

Mieleâ??s Edition 3D Eco model boasts an incredible A+++ energy rating, and an impressive water consumption of only seven litres per cycle.

How to choose an energy efficient washing machine

Energy efficient washing machines use the least amount of electricity possible, and they are able to considerably cut water consumption as well.

Although energy efficient models may cost a little more from the outset â?? their energy efficiency means that they pay themselves off a number of times during their life cycle.

â??All Mieleâ??s washing machines typically achieve consumption levels 20% lower than required for an A-rating â?? giving them all a minimum of an A+-rating,â? says Gawne.

â??Colder washes mean less electricity is used â?? for example a 20°C wash is 75% more energy efficient than that of a 60°C wash. Other useful features on Miele washing machines include an EcoFeedback function that shows you projected consumption figures in the display, so you can actually see which programmes use the least electricity and water, as well as a delay start functionality, which allows you to programme the washing machine to turn on when electricity is not in high demand.â?

How to choose an energy efficient tumble dryer

The most energy efficient types of tumble dryers on the market today are heat pump condenser dryers.

â??Traditional condenser dryers function through the process of heating the laundry and collecting the condensation. They are relatively energy efficient, but not as efficient as heat pump dryers as they use an element to produce heat. Compared to a comparable condenser dryer, heat pump dryers can save as much as 50% of energy consumed. This equates to 40% more energy saved than required by an A-rated model. Heat pump dryers also function by means of condensation but use technology more similar to a refrigerator but in reverse, they recover heat energy from processed air, as well as the residual heat from the drying process, which makes them incredibly efficient,â? says Gawne.

Both types of dryers boast a container where the water that is separated from the moist air is contained. This container can either be manually emptied after the drying cycle, or an integral pump can be installed to automatically pump it away.

For more information about Mieleâ??s gorgeous energy efficient appliances, visit www.miele.co.za