Energy labelling is a classification system for energy consumption introduced by the European Union in 1994. Its main purpose is to help prospective buyers in their choice of domestic appliance or other electronic product, by giving them the appropriate information to make an informed purchase.
An item with a high energy efficiency rating ensures considerable savings on bills, throughout its lifespan. It is no coincidence that 93% of consumers have become learnt to recognise the value of these labels and 79% use it when deciding whether to buy something or not.
The success of energy labelling
Thanks to energy labelling and greater awareness among clients, producers of electronic devices have focused increasingly on improving energy efficiency. The EU’s (recently introduced) ‘eco-compatible planning’ has further incentivised this trend.
That is a sign that the use of energy labelling is actively contributing toward the reduction of energy consumption in Europe. All this is part of a wider strategy aiming to protect the environment and the climate, including the planned target of abandoning the use of all fossil fuels by 2050.
Changes in the new scale of energy labels
In recent years, the energy efficiency of domestic appliances has increased so much that the majority of them have now achieved levels at the very top of the scale, such as A+, A++ and A+++. This is the reason behind the decision to revise the classification system, by returning to single letters (as in the past) from A to G.
In order to make the scale simpler to follow and to differentiate between the energy efficiency levels of various products more clearly, none of them will be in the A category, at least to start with. Very few will reach level C and even fewer will be classified as level B.
In practice, a refrigerator currently in the A+++ category could now be re-classified as level C (maintaining the same electricity consumption). This allows for space for the devices of the future, which will undoubtedly have lower energy consumption levels than current ones.
The European Commission has confirmed that the first series of new labels will be visible in shops from March 1st 2021 and will be used for dishwashers, washing machines, refrigerators and electronic displays. As for lamps, on the other hand, we will have to wait until 1st September 2021.
The current energy labelling system is therefore destined to be phased out gradually by the above dates. To facilitate the transition, the EU has set up a two-week changeover period to give manufacturers time to amend their labels. There will still be some exceptions, such as in the case of devices no longer in production, which will be allowed to keep the old labelling system.
Features of the new labels
The EU has provided clear guidance to manufacturers, fitters and planners regarding the information that must appear on the new labels. Thanks to these guidelines, energy labelling is becoming even easier to understand. Here are the main features:
- By using the new letter displayed, it will be easier to compare the energy efficiency of products in the new simplified scale (from A to G);
- Labels must be neutral from a linguistic point of view, so as to be comprehensible to speakers of all 24 official European Union languages;
- The presence of a QU Code in the top left corner will allow consumers to access a database of detailed information about the product in question. This database is called EPREL (European Register of Energy Labels) and will be accessible from the end of 2020. Its main purpose is to help national market authorities check that the products conform to energy efficiency regulations;
- Some labels will be allowed to include icons identifying additional features of the device (such as capacity, size, noise level produced or water consumption), displaying this information visually so it can be understood immediately.
Further details can be found on the Zerosottozero website via this link.
Translated by Joanne Beckwith