Research and analysis

How trends in appliances affect domestic CO2 emissions: a review of home and garden appliances

Research carried out for DECC by Loughborough University and Nottingham University Business School.



This review, commissioned by DECC in 2009, set out to review and collate data to provide an evidence base to domestic appliance usage, and to look for evidence of trends affecting future consumption in the home. A household perspective was taken, rather than considering the energy use of individual appliances used in DEFRA’s Market Transformation Programme models. The study aimed to draw together information about the energy demands of current domestic appliance use at a household level, and explore trends in future use, in order to predict future demands. This information could then be used to inform future household models that include an element of appliance modelling, building on existing knowledge, and so issues relating to household appliance modelling were also considered to ensure any data were reviewed in context.

This review covered all domestic appliances within the home that could easily be removed (i.e. with a plug), although in some cases it was not easy to isolate only these appliances from data sources. All items that use energy within the garden were also included in the review (e.g. garden power tools, pond filters, security and decorative lighting) to gain a better understanding of this aspect of home energy use. Additional information in areas of user behaviour and the whole-house perspective was also sought, including data from a concurrent research study led by Loughborough University (4M) which provided data on household appliance ownership and usage.

The report highlighted that significant studies of appliance ownership, usage and measured power consumption did not exist, although pockets of data were available, some very specific to a small survey or appliance sub-group; others studies were more general market research data focused on sales. Since the study was completed, additional data to fill these gaps has been provided by the Household Electricity Survey: A study of domestic electrical product usage published in 2012.