In the future, climate change and growing energy and resource demand may challenge the continuous improvement of our life style and well-being. But buying resource-efficient and eco-friendly can help save natural resources as well as money… For example, a household appliance with low electricity or gas consumption allows savings on energy bill, at a time when energy prices steadily increase. With better window insulation, households could spend 13% less money on their homes.
But consumers are not always aware of the energy consumption of the products they buy. Some labels exist for "white" household appliances such as washing machines, but not for all products having an impact on energy consumption or resource depletion, such as windows or water-using devices.
The Commission intends to extend the mandatory energy and environmental labelling to a wider range of products. The Commission also proposed some improvements to the voluntary Ecolabel (whose flower indicates products attaining maximal environmental excellence).
It is true, however, that consumers, though aware of resource-efficient and eco-friendly products, may be put off by a higher purchasing price compared to other products. This is why incentives are needed to help consumers buying these products.
Mandatory energy and environmental labelling
The Energy Labelling Directive 92/75/EC will be reviewed in 2008. It currently deals only with the labelling of household appliances according to their energy consumption. The Commission intends to extend it to all energy-using and energy related products. Energy-using products need energy to be used and work as intended. Energy related products have an impact on energy consumption during use.
Minimum eco-design requirements as well as benchmarks defined during the Ecodesign directive implementation will serve as references for setting the labelling classes under the Energy Labelling Directive.
More information about the Energy Labelling Directive is available on DG Energy website.
The voluntary Ecolabel
The Ecolabel will complement the information provided to consumers, as a voluntary label. It will act as a "label of excellence" to signal to consumers those products that perform at such a level when many environmental criteria are considered over the whole life-cycle.
More information about the revision of the Ecolabel scheme is available on the web pages of DG Environment.