You know, that multi-coloured sticker with the letters stuck on the front of the new appliance you want to buy. Sounds familiar? When after hours of steady market research you finally find the perfect refrigerator that fits into the style of your redesigned kitchen and doesn’t deplete your savings from the past six months. And then you remember that you should try to make sense of this colourful sticker as well before purchasing your dream fridge. Well, you really should as it provides a wealth of information on the energy consumption of your new appliance (and consequently your future electricity bills) and it’s not so complicated as it seems for the first sight.
Reduce your bills and your impact on the environment
So the first question is what is an energy label and why it is important. The answer is quite simple, energy labels indicate the energy efficiency of the given appliance. Energy-efficient appliances consume less energy and to achieve the same performance as less energy-efficient ones, therefore, in the long run, they will cost you less. In a nutshell, if the appliance has a good rating on the energy label it will reduce your household bills and as well as the product’s impact on the environment as it uses less energy.
In the EU energy labels were introduced quite early on. A 2019 Eurobarometer survey found that energy label was recognised by 93 per cent of consumers and 79 per cent considered it when buying energy-efficient products. Manufacturers are also keen to see their energy-labelled products in the highest available category when compared to competitors.
Watch out for the new generation of energy labels
However, the current classification will change from the 1st of March 2021, as the new EU energy label regulation will be live. The Commission found that the difference between A++ and A+++ is less obvious to the consumer, therefore the EU energy labels categories will be gradually adjusted to reintroduce the simpler A to G scale. For example, a product showing an A+++ energy efficiency class could become a class B or lower after rescaling without any change in its energy consumption. Class A will initially be empty to leave room for more energy-efficient models to be developed.
The new generation of energy labels will be displayed on fridges, dishwashers, washing machines and televisions from the beginning of March, whereas lamps will be rescaled from September. Other product groups carrying EU energy labels will follow in the coming years.
Alongside the new scaling of products, the new labels will also display a QR-code in the top-right corner to make the lookup of further information easier. Also, energy consumption in the middle of the label will be more visible and calculated with refined methods.
The motivation behind the new categories is to allow consumers to distinguish more clearly between the most energy-efficient products and to encourage manufacturers to continue research and innovation into more energy-efficient technologies.
Ecodesign for a circular economy
This year the EU legislation of ecodesign will also change introducing new measures include requirements, such as making spare parts more easily replaceable, and ensuring that key parts and repair and maintenance information are available for end-users and professional repairers as appropriate, for a minimum duration of 7-10 years depending on the product.
The goal is to enhance the reparability and recyclability of appliances which is also a cornerstone of the EU’s circular economy agenda and long-term climate goals.