A++ efficiency grades will soon be a thing of the past
On Tuesday June 13th, the European Parliament gave the green light for the introduction of new energy labels for household appliances in order to keep pace with technological progress. The new labeling will help consumers choose products that minimize energy consumption and save money, while reducing overall carbon emissions. It is also expected to motivate manufacturing companies to invest in more energy efficient products.
The current grades (which range from D to A+++) will be replaced by simpler A-G energy ratings, and will be implemented at the beginning of 2020 the earliest. The energy efficiency category must be clearly displayed on the product, and should also be available online and mentioned in any relevant advertisement. The label should contain information about the energy efficiency class of the product model and its absolute consumption in kWh, measured per year or per â€œany relevant period of timeâ€, according to the guidelines. The new labeling requirements would be the same for both imported and EU-manufactured products. The Commission will keep a detailed online database of products which consumers will be able to access via QR codes on the products in order to make an immediate comparison of appliances they are interested in.
According to a Commission spokeswoman, new A-G labels for TVs, lamps, washing machines, fridges and dishwashers must be introduced from the start of 2020 onwards. For products like air-conditioners, tumble dryers, vacuum cleaners, ovens, range hoods, and residential ventilation units, â€œthis will happen most likely between 2021 and 2025,â€ she said. For heating products, the new labels will become available to consumers by around 2030 at the latest.
Most appliances on the market now meet the â€œclass Aâ€ requirements first set in 2010, so ever more pluses (A+, A++, A+++) are being added. "Rescaled labels for existing product groups" should be introduced within 21 months and 6 years (depending on product type) of the entry into force of the legislation, so as "to ensure a homogenous A-G scale", says the amended text. With the new labeling, class A (and in product groups showing rapid technological progress both classes A and B) should be empty at first. When energy classes F and G are no longer allowed for certain product groups, these should be shown on the label in grey, and the standard dark green to red spectrum of the label should cover A-E.
Any future reclassification should aim for a validity period of at least 10 years and will take place once 25% of the products sold in the EU fall into energy efficiency class A, or when 50% of these products fall into classes A and B.
The positive outcome
The new system could save 200 billion kWh of energy every year, which is the equivalent of the annual energy consumption of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. A combination of product design and labeling could lead to energy savings of some 165 million tons of oil equivalents by 2020, translated into â‚¬490 a year in savings on household energy bills and â‚¬55 billion in extra revenue for European businesses.
â€œI am more and more convinced consumers want to reduce their carbon emissions and all they need is help. Simplifying the labeling is absolutely crucial. How can anybody work out the scheme of A or A++? This is the way the EU must move,â€ said SeÃ¡n Kelly, an MEP from the centre-right European Peopleâ€™s Party (EPP), the largest political group in Parliament.