ecoGator launched in the UK

The newest money-saving app on the UK market promises to unlock serious additional Black Friday savings by revealing the running costs of TVs and other big-ticket items.

EU-funded ecoGator is the only app out there to use a phone or tablet camera to scan the A-G energy label. Lock on to those colourful bars for impartial 'traffic light guidance' on hundreds of models.

The app reads the energy label required by EU law on all TVs, fridges, freezers, dishwashers, washing machines, tumble dryers and light bulbs. It compares the label to UK-specific energy efficiency ratings compiled by topten UK before offering users a thumbs up or down for any given model. topten monitors the market once every six months to determine the top 10 percent of best performing models in any given product group, focused mainly on energy but also covering aspects like water efficiency.

In fact, it is the top 10 percent of energy labels rather than particular models, so if new models come onto the market, the app has them covered. topten is managed by the Energy Savings Trust in the UK, so users can be sure the app is free from commercial interests or other bias.

Why do shoppers need an app when there is already an energy label? The label does a great job of measuring efficiency, but doesn't help much when it comes to the actual running costs of a machine, which is crucial.

With the average UK home energy bill running at over £1,000 and appliances typically consuming about a third of that, dodging machines with high running costs could make all the difference between a Black Friday bargain and blooper. Efficient fridge-freezers net homeowners £190 alone over the average product lifetime, according to the Energy Saving Trust. The difference in running costs between a small and big TV amount to £39 each year, it said.

TVs are one to watch in particular. They are one of the hottest product groups for Black Friday deals, but the EU energy label can be misleading. Many shoppers pass on the rather opaque kWh box that provides the likely running cost and just focus on the colourful bars of the efficiency rating as a kind of overview. That means a large, efficient model can get a much better rating than a smaller, less efficient models, with the later saving much more energy and money. Ecogator makes that running cost more real by factoring in the average UK energy price of £0.14 per kWh, as determined by the Energy Saving Trust.

Besides running costs and efficiency advice, ecoGator comes with other useful features, including the ability to compare and contrast two models and a feature to form shopping lists. Game aspects are geared to equip users with energy savings tips for the office and home.

ecoGator launched in the UK tomorrow, 23 November, free and advert free on Android and IOS. Clones launched by other non-profits in Austria, Belgium, Germany, Spain, Poland, France, Greece, Slovenia and the Czech Republic went on to win the EU Sustainable Energy Europe Awards (energy efficiency category) and futurezone's App of the Year 2014. The judges were not wrong – the app has maintained an average 4.2 of 5 user rating to date. ecoGator was created by PocketScience for the European Environmental Bureau. It is part of the EU-funded Efficiency 2.1 project co-ordinated by the Austrian Energy Agency.