In the European Union, many everyday products such as washing machines, refrigerators and cooking appliances carry energy labels and have been designed to meet minimum energy efficiency standards.
The result of these labels and standards will be a yearly energy saving of around 175 Mtoe (million tonnes of oil equivalent) by 2020, roughly equivalent to the annual primary energy consumption of Italy.
For consumers, this means an average saving of up to €500 per year on household energy bills. Moreover, energy efficiency measures will create €55 billion in extra revenue for European companies. In order to make this possible, the EU has put in place regulations and directives, in particular as regards energy labelling and ecodesign for products.
EU energy labels help consumers choose energy efficient products. Products are currently labelled on a scale of A+++ (most efficient) to G (least efficient). However, as a result of the development of more and more energy efficient products, products will be gradually relabelled with the reintroduction of the simpler A to G scale.
Concretely, from sometime in 2021 onwards, 5 product groups (fridges, dishwashers, washing machines, TVs and lamps) will be 'rescaled': a product showing an A+++ energy efficiency class will could for example become a B class after rescaling, without any change in its energy consumption. The A class will initially be empty to leave room for more energy efficient models. This will enable consumers to distinguish more clearly between the most energy efficient products.
In addition, manufacturers will have to upload information about their products into a registration database before placing these products on the European market. Consumers will be able to search this database for energy labels and product information sheets.
The energy labelling requirements for individual product groups are created under the EU's Energy Labelling framework Regulation (2017/1369), in a process coordinated by the European Commission.
Companies can create their own labels for energy efficiency using a range of labelling tools.
There is world-wide demand for more efficient products to reduce energy and resource consumption. The EU legislation on Ecodesign is an effective tool for improving the energy efficiency of products. It eliminates the least performing products from the market, significantly contributing to the EU’s 2020 energy efficiency objective. It also supports industrial competitiveness and innovation by promoting better environmental performance of products throughout the Internal Market.
The ecodesign requirements for individual product groups are created under the EU's Ecodesign Directive, in a process also coordinated by the European Commission. As an alternative, industry sectors may also sign voluntary agreements to reduce the energy consumption of their products. The Commission formally recognises such agreements and monitors their implementation.
Energy Star programme
The European Energy Star Programme was a voluntary energy labelling scheme for office equipment adopted jointly by the Government of the United States and the European Union (EU) to co-ordinate energy labelling of office equipment and thereby promote more energy-efficient equipment. The Agreement expired on 20 February 2018.