Appliances account for 12% of household energy up from only 5% in 1970. That is a 200% increase in TWh

What has driven the increase?

  • More appliances, washing machines, tumble dryers, hairdryers, gadgets, games, phones, computers, chargers.
  • Increased use of these appliances
    • More cold storage (offset the improvements in efficiency of cold storage)
    • Microwaves

What has been positive?

  • Energy efficiency, labelling and regulation
  • 12% does not include cooking energy using ovens and hobs, which account for 3% of household energy use - down from 6% in 1970 due to takeaways, ready meals, less home cooking and microwaves (an efficient cooking appliance).

What can we do?


  • Minimise gadgets and plan purchases with an eye on future developments (computers, games, phones, cameras)
  • Borrow gadgets you need occasionally
  • Don’t get air conditioning, patio heaters, outdoor hot tubs, open electric fires, leaf blowers, chain saws, tumble-dryers.
  • Hang clothes rather than tumble dry
  • Size matters: fridges and freezers, TVs and screens.
  • Microwaves cook energy efficiently for some things e.g. heating up; not for heating or cooking in water

Using computers, TVS etc

  • Switch off standby.
  • If you plan to be away from the computer for a while, turn it off. 
  • Switch it off at the wall, not just at the computer.
  • And switch off all your peripherals, too – external drives, etc.
  • Plug the lot into a power strip so you can control them all with one switch.  Some high-level power strips automatically cut the power to your peripherals once you turn your computer off.
  • A screen saver does not save energy.  If there are any pictures, the computer is using exactly the same energy as when it is operating normally. 
  • Consider giving up your desktop for a laptop.  A traditional desktop uses up to 250 watts. A laptop uses between 15 and 45 watts.
  • Consider purchasing a Mac next time.  Macs traditionally use less energy to operate than PCs.  Of course, they are also more expensive but if you keep the same computer for years, the Mac will probably save money in the long run.
  • Computers: use low energy settings: Set your computer to go to sleep after 15 minutes of non-use. Most computers use between 0 and 6 watts in sleep mode, compared to 250 watts (for some models) when constantly ready. To change your settings: For Windows: start >control panel>power options. For Mac: System preferences> energy saver
  • Computers: Consider dimming the screen, consider changing from desktop to laptop (250 Wh v 15-45Wh). Macs are often lower energy option.
  • TV’s – much the same – never leave on standby.

Downloadable PDF on Appliances



Green Interiors appliances.pdf141.58 KB