Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Watts The Matter?

Labels matter.

Since energy labels were put on white goods, the market share of 'A-rated' white goods rose from 0% in 1996/97 to 74% in 2005/06. It is clear that the punters want the best rating and the manufacturers see it as a selling point. It's a pity we don't have them on all electrical items as it is a nightmare trying to get sensible information out of retailers or manufacturers. Try asking in your local Curry's which HD Ready mega-TV is the most energy efficient and you'll get a blank (or blanker) look.

Fortunately, the SUST-IT website can help you choose between different products on the grounds of their energy consumption (hat-tip to The Green Guy for that one). You'll see that the variations can be quite pronounced - some of the rules of thumb I had went right out of the window.

On a slightly different, but related, note, I've been standing back a little from the debate on the usefulness of the B&Q roof-mounted wind turbine. Apart from whether or not it will pull the gable end off your house, the main point of contention has been how much energy you can actually get out of it. Various estimates have ranged from 10-25% of the claimed 1000 units per year, but the Centre for Alternative Technology's Slate Magazine claims the actual figure is as low as 5%, or enough to run a one bar electric fire for 50 hours. Apparently the problem is not the turbine itself, but the close proximity of a pitched roof, which is the last thing you need for a nice clean air flow. Solar Photovoltaic panels will give you more energy, won't wreck your house and won't give your neighbours so much to tut about.

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