1 in 5 home appliances tested by NGOs using more energy than advertised
18 everyday products found breaking EU efficiency laws
One in five home appliances tested by consumer and green groups consumes more energy than claimed on packaging.
The three year investigation into fridges, dishwashers, light bulbs and other energy-using products found undeclared energy use in a majority of product groups.
Independent laboratory tests found a vacuum cleaner using 54% more energy than claimed, a refrigerator 12% over and a TV measuring an energy class lower and with a required power down feature deactivated .
Homeowners may find some results surprising and others frustratingly familiar. A dishwasher was found needing two runs to clean dishes properly (lab images); an LED 20 percent less bright than advertised; and a tumble dryer blocked from powering down by a single light remaining on in its dashboard.
The MarketWatch project, co-financed by the European Commission and run by a coalition of European civil society groups, instructed accredited labs to follow official procedures to verify compliance with EU product efficiency rules . The project used a range of intelligence to focus on products and sectors thought to be failing, so the results do not reflect the market as a whole. Sample sizes reflected those used by market surveillance authorities for half the products studied. Smaller samples were used where manufacturers accepted initial findings or products were being discontinued.
Experts estimate that over €10 billion worth of energy savings are lost each year from manufacturers and retailers not following EU product rules. This is eating away at the €465 average energy bill cut promised to every European home from the EU Ecodesign Directive and Energy Labelling Directive .
Multiple manufacturers told MarketWatch they would push out in-home software updates to address the issues identified and bring their products into line. There are currently no rules preventing updates that raise energy use and MarketWatch called on the European Commission to table rules to prevent this.
MarketWatch spokesman, Jack Hunter, said: “Consumers are getting less bang for their buck than what they think. The authorities have clearly got more work to do to protect consumers and the environment from products that are using more energy than advertised.”
For more on the test regime and results, read the full report here.
 A table of all products tested by MarketWatch that were found to have issues in testing, and estimate of likely impact.
 The energy efficiency of products is regulated by the Ecodesign Directive and Energy Labelling Directive. More details, click here.
 €465 savings each year, estimated by the Commission based on product rules now in force. Savings at this level are expected from 2020 when efficient products are installed in homes. For more, click here.
Read a MarketWatch report on retailer non-compliance with EU rules, click here.