One in five fridges, dishwashers, light bulbs and other household products use more energy than advertised.
A new three-year study of Europe’s home appliance industry found undeclared energy use in a majority of product groups.
Among the energy wasting products were a vacuum cleaner using 54% more energy than claimed, a dishwasher that doesn’t wash properly on the eco cycle and an LED 20% less bright than advertised.
The MarketWatch research, co-financed by the European Commission and led by the UK’s Energy Saving Trust, took into account the claims of several manufacturers to see if their products were as efficient and environmentally friendly as they say they are.
They asked labs to follow official procedures to verify compliance with EU product efficiency rules and found 18 out of 100 products were breaking them.
Experts estimate more than €10 billion (£7.9bn) worth of energy savings are lost every year from manufacturers and retailers not following EU product rules.
Dr Fanoula Ziouzia, Head of Products at the Energy Saving Trust, said: “While this was a targeted sample, we suspect that as many as one in 10 household appliances sold today consume more energy that the manufacturer states. This could be misleading for consumers and result in higher energy bills – and true product cost – than they would anticipate.
“For example, the difference between stated and actual energy consumption for one fridge freezer tested could mean it would cost £31.61 more to run over the cost of its lifetime. If other products in a household also incorrectly state consumption, this could add up to a sizeable unexpected bill for householders.”
The results of the study have been sent to the UK’s National Measurement and Regulation Office. It has the power to take enforcement action or issue sanctions if it deems such action necessary for products in the UK market.
Last month, another research revealed only 5% of professionals who buy energy consuming equipment for their businesses are “very confident” about the energy saving claims made by manufacturers.