To make energy labels more understandable for consumers and help them make better informed purchasing choices, the Commission adopted today new energy efficiency labels covering dishwashers, washing machines and washer-driers, refrigerators, lamps, electronic displays including televisions, and refrigerating appliances with a direct sales function.
‘Energy efficiency first’ is a central principle of the Energy Union strategy. It is an effective way to cut emissions, bring savings to consumers and reduce the EU's fossil fuel import dependency. Since its introduction twenty years ago, the success of energy labelling has encouraged the development of ever more energy efficient products. This has resulted in the current label system becoming too complex. In 2017, the EU agreed clearer energy efficiency labelling rules, by moving from the current A+++ to G scale to an A to G energy scale, which is simpler and well understood by consumers. A product showing an A+++ energy efficiency class could for example become a B class after rescaling, without any change in its energy consumption. This will allow the top classes to have room for more energy efficient models.
After a consultation process following the 2017 agreement, the Commission has today adopted the final format and visual identity of new labels for 6 product groups:
- 5 product groups of household appliances with "rescaled" labels well known by European consumers: 1) dishwashers, 2) washing machines and washer-driers, 3) refrigerators, including wine storage fridges, 4) lamps, and 5) electronic displays including televisions.
- A new labelling product group for refrigerating appliances with a direct sales function used in shops and vending machines.
These new labels will be visible for European consumers in physical stores and on-line as of March 1st 2021.
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.
Commission estimations value the total final accumulated energy savings of these new labels by 2030 at 38,1 TWh/year, equivalent to the annual electricity consumption of Hungary, constituting an important contribution to the EU’s energy and climate targets and supporting the implementation of the circular economy.
Commenting on the adoption of the labels, Monique Goyens, Director general of BEUC, the European Consumer Association, said:
We are pleased that the EU is finally fixing the flaws of the current energy label, starting with five products that most consumers own at home. It was high time we went back to the unambiguous A-G label to drive consumers to buy less energy-guzzling washing machines or fridges and save money.
Paolo Falcioni, Director General of APPLiA, the European home industry appliance association, said:
For nearly 30 years, the energy label has been helping Europeans to take the right decision when choosing their appliance. In parallel, the industry has been inspired to create more innovative and environmental products, in addition to stimulate competition among manufactures. In a moment when establishing a Circular Culture has become a necessity, policy makers must ensure that the label continues to deliver and be trusted. We need impactful communication on the upcoming change, in particular to avoid that a project made to better inform consumers results in confusing them.
Chloé Fayole commented on behalf of the Coolproducts campaign, led by ECOS (European Environmental Citizens Organization) and the EEB (European Environmental Bureau):
We are very pleased that, thanks to these decisions, the energy labels will become more impactful, more visible, and more reliable. It is a good step forward to reinforce Europe’s pioneering labelling scheme, which steers consumers towards the best products, cuts energy bills and boosts innovation.
Following today's adoption by the Commission of the Delegated Acts that describe the new labels, the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers have, during a two-month period, a right to express an objection, after which, if none are received, the texts will be published in the Official Journal of the European Union. The new labels will be launched in stores and online throughout Europe as of March 1st 2021. In addition, in early July 2019, the Commission plans to adopt a set of 11 ecodesign regulations, covering these 6 product groups with new labels and an additional 5 product groups for which no label is foreseen.
11 March 2019