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Panasonic is expanding its UK white goods listings by adding two side-by-side fridge-freezers and five washing machines.

With the new products, which will be rolling out across Europe this spring, the company is concentrating on the energy-saving features that have made it a major white goods player in its Japanese home market.

"Our deep-rooted commitment to the environment runs through the entire product range," said UK product manager for major domestic appliances Subodha Bhatt.

"The energy-saving technologies we have incorporated have struck a particular chord with the UK's environmentally-conscious consumers."

He added that Panasonic's design philosophy was simple: it put the consumer first and developed innovative products with features that made a genuine difference.And those, he added, ranged from "prolonging the life of fresh fruit and vegetables with our unique Vitamin-Safe compartment, to tilting our washer drum by 10 degrees to reduce water consumption".

This feature has, of course been being used for over a decade in Europe on various washing machines from multiple manufacturers.

Two of the new introductions are side-by-side fridge-freezers claimed to be among the most energy-efficient in the industry, thanks, said Panasonic, to three major features.

The first is inverter technology, which uses a system of sensors and microprocessors to select automatically from multiple power levels, allowing the machine to run on minimal power.

The second is the company's vacuum insulation panel, which is featured on one of the new models (the NR-B53V1). This uses an ultra-thin sheet of fibreglass processed in a vacuum and said to insulate 20 times more effectively than traditional materials.

Third is the Twin-Eco cooling system, featured on both the NR-B53V1 and NR-B54X1, uses an EcoValve to close off the cooling circuit for the refrigerator when it is not needed.

Together, these technologies have earned the NR-B53V1 an A++ rating in the EU energy-efficiency standard, which Panasonic claims as a world first among plumbed-in US style side-by-side fridge-freezers.

Of the five washing machines being introduced to the UK by Panasonic, four have achieved EU energy efficiency ratings 30 per cent lower than the A standard. With load capacities of 8kg, the company calls them some of the most efficient washing machines on the market.

And two of the models (the NA-168VX2 and NA-168VG2) are part of the Energy Saving Trust Endorsement Scheme. Both models have achieved Energy Efficiency Recommended status. All five models carry Panasonic's inverter (which changes the motor's rotation and output, inverters are actually very common in the industry), tilted drum and 3D sensor technologies, which combine to cut cycle length and lower water consumption.

From what we can see there's really not a lot of new technology here although Panasonic would have us believe otherwise.

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