New energy efficiency labels explained
European Energy Label as from March 2021
Which products are covered?
The following household products will have the new label displayed:
• Refrigerators, freezers and fridge-freezers
• Washing machines
• Electric tumble dryers
• Combined washer-dryers
• Lamps (light bulbs)
• Electric ovens
• Air conditioners<
• Televisions (from the end of 2012)
In future, even more products will have an energy label including vacuum cleaners, boilers and water heaters.
The Boring Stuff
A new element in these labels is a QR code with which consumers will be able to get additional, official (non-commercial) information by scanning the code with a common smartphone. This data is being inserted by manufacturers into the EPREL EU database which will become available to any European citizen in the next few months. The private sector and different NGOs are also in the process of coming up with apps that will further assist in the purchase choice (e.g., by helping to calculate the return costs and compare different products).
Depending on the product, the energy labels will display not only electricity consumption, but also other energy and non-energy information, with intuitive pictograms, to compare products and perform a better informed purchase choice: information about water used per washing cycle, storing capacity, noise emitted, etc.
Why the move towards a single 'A to G' energy label?
Since 1995, the EU energy label has proven to be a success: 85% of European consumers recognise and use it when purchasing. It has also driven innovative industry developments and competition, with new products placed on the market progressively moving up in energy classes. Although initially most of the models were in the lowest classes (i.e. E, F, G), new models deserved higher until the situation where today most are now in the top classes (A+++, A++, A+) and no product is now in the lowest classes (in some cases, even A). However, such a positive result now makes it difficult for consumers to distinguish the best performing products: they might think that in buying an A+ class product they are buying one of the most efficient on the market, while in fact they are sometimes buying an average product or even one of the least efficient ones.
In order to make it easier for consumers to understand and compare products, the EU has decided to have in future only 'A to G' energy labels. The EU adopted in 2017 a revised energy labelling system consisting of:• A return to the well-known and effective energy labelling scale 'A to G' for energy efficient products, including a process for rescaling the existing labels.
• A digital database for new energy efficient products, so that all new products placed on the EU market are registered on an online database, allowing greater transparency and easier market surveillance by national authorities. This will improve understanding and coherence, thus facilitating consumers to correctly identify the most efficient products.