New “Energy Efficiency” Labeling For Appliances In EU Nations

energy efficiency labels

The European Commission has welcomed the final format of this latest “clearer” energy efficiency labels, including home appliances to help customers make better-informed buying decisions and save money in the long run.  The five product collections of home appliances with “regraded” labels include washing machines, dishwashers, and refrigerators, driers, lamps and digital screens including television screens and digital signage displays.

The 1995 labels could award a product with an A for high efficiency, or an F for low productivity. In theory, average products were deemed to earn a C. However, because appliance manufacturers would object vociferously to any merchandise sporting a “C” label, the strategy began raising the grades. Labels of A+, A++, and A+++ were included, and before long, no appliances were making a “C,” and a “B” was being viewed as a failing grade.

In 2017, the EU agreed more explicit energy efficiency labelling rules, by moving from the current A+++ to G scale into an A to G energy scale, which is supposed to be simpler and more reliable, understood by customers. Based on the product, the energy labels will display not just electrical consumption but also energy and non-energy data to analyze items like information regarding storing capacity, water used per washing cycle, and sound emitted. Other developments include a requirement to exhibit energy efficiency class on the goods, in addition to on promotional materials including TV commercials and online advertisements, as well as on the products themselves

The private sector and NGOs are in the process of making up apps which will help in the buying decision, for example, by helping calculate the return costs and compare different products.

A new element in these types of labels is a QR code by which consumers will have the ability to receive additional official (non-commercial) data by scanning the code using a smartphone.

The new labels are anticipated to be used on products in stores and online by March 2021.

Computer Database Listing New Goods

Manufacturers are adding this data into an EU database which will become available to the public in the coming few months.

It was expected between 10% to 25% of products on the market don’t fully comply with energy efficiency labels regulations, and approximately 10 percent of potential savings are lost as a result of non-compliance.

This is said to be at least partially “because of difficult enforcement by national market surveillance authorities due to lengthy controls.”

A production registration database (EPREL) was created to make compliance management activity more efficient and powerful, where producers and importers have to register their products, including all detailed technical documentation. This will assist market surveillance authorities to verify the information that products comply with energy efficiency specifications and that the information on the label is correct.

The database will produce crucial product information and the tag available to traders and customers and will make it much easier to digitize the labels.

The new labels will be available to European consumers online and in stores as of March 202. A particular EU-wide information campaign endeavoured at EU citizens will be launched to inform people about the labels.

Consumer environmentalists and advocates have welcomed the changes today, though they said the EU could have gone further.

Power Savings

The Commission determines the total annual final energy savings of the new labels to be 38TWh annually by 2030, equal to the yearly power usage of Hungary.

It intends to adopt a set of 11 ecodesign regulations, including the five product groups with the new labels and five new product groups.

Ecodesign Regulation sets minimum requirements on aspects like energy usage in standby, reparability, availability of spare components or facilitating dismantling and recycling when the item will be at its end of life — encouraging the execution of the circular economy.

The European Commission said that such information would be contained in an EU regulation governing ecodesign. This legislation will require producers to ensure the availability of spare parts, simple to replaceability and access to maintenance and repair information from July 2019. However, repairability information won’t be included on labels.

The appliance manufacturers, which have defended the labelling system, said it welcomes the modifications adopted but would like to be sure consumers will understand them. For almost 30 years, the energy label was assisting Europeans to take the right decision when choosing their appliance. Industrial experts want impactful communication on the upcoming change, specifically to project a job made to better inform customer’s results in confusing them.

Altogether, this new set of steps is expected to bring additional yearly energy savings by 2030 of 94TWh each year than the annual electricity consumption of Luxembourg and Belgium.

Many countries outside the EU have aligned their energy efficiency labels to the EU’s, such as China, Russia, South Africa, Egypt, Brazil, and Argentina. The US, which is not on this list, has chosen to go in another direction with its 23 existing energy efficiency labels. Consumer advocates and environmentalists have criticized the US labels as unsuccessful.

“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” said Monique Goyens, Director General of BEUC, the European Consumer Association.  “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.”

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