The revised Energy Labelling Directive will extend the scope of EU legislation on energy-related products to include all goods impacting energy consumption directly or indirectly.
Recasting the Energy Labelling Directive is part of the energy-efficiency package, which includes revision of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive and introduction of fuel-efficiency labelling for tyres. The extended Energy Labelling Directive will see the energy-labelling scale applied to non-energy consuming products, such as windows, which have a significant potential to save energy once in use or installed.
The basis for the energy scale will remain the same, with products graded from A to G – matched by a colour scale from dark green for the most energy efficient to red for the least. All advertising including energy-related performance or price will have to indicate these grades. In terms of public procurement, the Directive states Member States should endeavour to purchase the highest grade of energy-labelled products.
The revised Directive was agreed by the European Parliament and Member States in November 2009. A new ‘A+++’ efficiency grade was added and the final text includes a non-binding call for a rescaling of grades once a third of products in a particular category achieve the two highest – ‘A++’ and ‘A+++’ – grades.
The Sustainable Consumption and Production and Sustainable Industrial Policy Action Plan has shown that extension of the Labelling Directive to energy-related products could reinforce synergies between existing legislative measures, particularly the Directive on establishing eco-design requirements for energy-using products.
While energy labelling provides a clear indication of energy performance, eco-design involves developing products with a lower environmental impact. The eco-design Directive aims to reduce this impact from the design phase onwards. It mandates the Commission to define minimum energy-efficiency performance requirements on a product-specific basis.
The efficiency grade for energy labelling has been limited to three grades above the ‘A’ standard as agreed between the European Parliament and the Member States. Industry and some countries had proposed an ‘A++++’ grade for products such as fridges. This was rejected by Parliament so as not to undermine the integrity of the Energy Label.
Prior to formal adoption, the Institutions will refine some provisions to ensure it meets the procedures set-out by the Lisbon Treaty. Member States will then have one year after official publication to transpose the new rules into national law. Parliament and the Member States agreed that the new rules will be reviewed in 2014.