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We have long said on this site that the energy labels are, well, flawed but new research by Defra seems to bear out what we've been saying all along. We have also said, a lot, that many of the claims being made about how "green" some machines are tend to be pretty fanciful and probably not entirely true.

According to this research by DEFRA some of the top selling household appliances may not be performing in accordance with claimed standards printed on the labels.

Most domestic appliances are required to be labelled showing their energy use, energy efficiency and other characteristics. Defra tested 24 of the best selling washing machines, 24 ovens and 265 different light bulbs. These tests are not full legal compliance testing, where four samples of each washer dryer and oven; and 20 samples of each light bulb need to be tested but simply a snapshot, testing individual appliances against their energy labelling.

16 of the 24 washer driers tested did not perform in accordance with all the declarations on their labels. And, we can hardly proclaim to being shocked or, even so much as remotely surprised by this revelation.

Four of the washer dryers tested were unable to dry to the required level - so energy and water measurements could not be compared with the performance declared on the label. This means that even where consumers have bought an apparently energy efficient appliance, the need to dry clothes for longer may result in higher energy use than suggested on the label.

Again, we've been telling people about the poor performance of washer dryers for years, so this again is not a surprise.

23 of the 24 ovens tested performed in accordance with their energy efficiency label. Probably because the test used is so easy to meet.

Environment Minister Dan Norris said: "When people buy a new household appliance, they need to be confident that if it says it is energy efficient, it will live up to those standards.

"Many more people are now ensuring that the products they buy will use less energy and therefore will reduce both their carbon footprint and their fuel bill.

"DEFRA is pushing Europe to revise and extend the A-G energy efficiency labelling system for more products to greater promote high efficiency products and help consumers chose the best products on the market. This research highlights the need for these standards to be fully enforced. DEFRA have recently appointed a new market surveillance authority to ensure this happens." 

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