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06 May 21

UK Manufacturers Association and Affinity Water urge consumers to use the eco-settings on their white goods to #SaveWater

In a new podcast for Affinity Water, Paul Hide the CEO of AMDEA has said he supports calls for the improved labelling of white goods with water efficiency ratings and has urged consumers to use the eco settings on their appliances.

From March 2021 household appliances that use water such as washing machines and dishwashers will benefit from an improved labelling scheme that does tell consumers how much water and electricity an appliance uses.

The body that represents the Water Industry Water UK is calling on the government to use the new Environment Bill going through parliament to make this mandatory. It is asking for the introduction of: “National water efficiency standards for water-using appliances, and a mandatory national efficiency labelling scheme, on goods like dishwashers and washing machines”. Australia already has such a system.

Mr Hide said consumers needed to be aware of how much water an appliance uses when they buy a new machine and also importantly how to get the best use of the appliances they already have including understanding how much benefit there is in using the eco settings on machines.

He told Affinity Water: “The fact that manufacturers are now required to indicate energy and water efficiency on labelling is an important step forward. One of the biggest issues for us to address is behaviour of the user. It isn’t just about how much water a consumer can use on different settings on an appliance it is about how we use machines. Are we buying the right size machine for our use? We shouldn’t be buying machines with a bigger capacity than we need. Are we filling the dishwasher or washing machine to its full capacity?

Are we using those eco-settings properly? In many cases we are not. Some of the biggest impact to reduce our white-goods water use is in bringing about behavioural change and getting people to think about how they use appliances.

“Our research would suggest there are approximately 45 million dishwashers and washing machines out there so to get people to use the appliances they have got most efficiently will have a much bigger impact on the total water consumed than just encouraging people to buy the most water efficient new appliances.”

AMDEA has already launched a campaign to educate consumers on how to buy eco-friendly appliances. Even modest measures can make a big impact on carbon reduction. New research for AMDEA revealed that concerns over disposable cash are higher than environmental considerations for appliance buyers.

Affinity Water has been leading a progressive #WaterSaving campaign throughout its three regions and has called on the government to make water labelling on white goods mandatory together with introducing personal water use targets. Both of which WaterUK now supports and which the government is said to be considering.

Mr Hide continued by saying manufacturers were largely supportive of environmental change in the sector and would look at whether mandatory water labelling of white goods was a good idea: “Many of the environmental regulations are largely supported by manufacturers so we are always happy to have that discussion and look at what can be applied in the UK and across Europe that is going to work best for us all. We need to continually reduce the amount of energy and water that appliances use and as an industry we would support that. You only have to look at the advances in technology over the last decade to see what progress has been made in the environmental impact of appliances both from energy and water use.”

Water UK is also asking for the government to amend the Environment Bill to allow for the building regulations to be changed to improve the water efficiency of new homes including: “Minimum ratings should be set to achieve water use in new homes of 100 litres/person/day, and the further tightening over time to deliver greater water efficiency”.

Mr Hide said that to achieve the government’s NetZero Carbon target by 2050 we all “had to change the way we use household equipment, how it is built and our behaviour”.

He said he broadly supported more change: “If we don’t make change, we won’t hit that target. Home appliances have a role to play in that in terms of the amount of energy and water they use. As an industry we accept that and are prepared to play our part.”

Jake Rigg, Director of Corporate Affairs and Communities at Affinity Water said:

“As a company we are fully supportive of meeting the government’s NetZero carbon emissions target by 2050 and will be doing all we can to educate our 5.6 million customers on how they can #SaveWater. Our new #SaveOurStreams campaign is flagging up to our consumers how this can be done in various ways.

“We support the mandatory labelling of white goods for water efficiency and were one of the first to call for it in our #WhyNotWater Campaign and Manifesto. We would also like to see the introduction of personal water use targets and tighter regulations on making new homes water efficient.

“If we are going to tackle climate change, we will all need to change our behaviours including how much water we use in the white good appliances in our homes. The less water we use than the less we will need to abstract from our rivers and streams. We know our customers are supportive of actions that we as a water company take to protect the environment and we will be doing all we can in the future to educate them on how they can

“We support AMDEA’s call to ask consumers to use the eco-settings that are already on appliances in most people’s homes.”

AMDEA is the UK trade association for manufacturers and distributors of domestic appliances.

You can find out more about energy labelling here on the AMDEA site And about #SavingWater at Affinity Water.

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