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       Energy and Environment 19/05/2010
New labelling system for energy-related products

New energy labels for household appliances


Labels on household appliances such as fridges, washing machines and ovens will have to include more information on energy consumption, following a vote by MEPs on 19.05.2010. Parliament approved a new layout of the EU energy efficiency label introducing additional "plus" classes to the familiar colour scheme.


The existing energy label already helps consumers assess the running costs when buying new household appliances such as fridges, freezers, washing machines, tumble driers, dishwashers, ovens and air-conditioners. Manufacturers are currently obliged to indicate the annual energy consumption irrespective of whether the product performs well (dark green “A” class) or poorly (red “G” class) on this measure.

Depending on the kind of product, the label also shows water consumption, noise level or heat output.


Seven classes, seven colours - new top marks


Under the new legislation, the layout of the energy efficiency label will allow for up to three new energy classes, to reflect technological progress, but will still limit the total number of classes to seven. The present scale is from "A" to "G", so in future it could evolve as follows:

- If a new product using less energy than existing ones is classified as "A+", then the least energy efficient class will be "F",

- If a new product using less energy than existing ones is classified as "A++", then the least energy efficient class will be "E",

- If a new product using less energy than existing ones is classified as "A+++", then the least energy efficient class will be "D".


The labelling colour scheme - from dark green for most energy efficient products to red for least energy efficient ones - will be adjusted accordingly, so the highest energy efficiency class will remain dark green and the least energy efficiency one will be red.

The energy classes and the specific products that must labelled will be determined by a Commission working group.


Advertising of white goods must indicate energy efficiency


Any advert mentioning the energy consumption or price of a specific model of household appliance will have to show the product's energy class. Advertising with additional information should help consumers make a choice based on the energy savings potential of products to reduce their energy bill in the long run.


Similar provisions will apply to any technical promotional literature such as manuals and manufacturers' brochures, whether printed or available on the internet.


Energy label for window frames and other energy-saving products


In future, the label must also be attached to energy-consuming products for commercial and industrial use, such as cold storage rooms, display cabinets, industrial cooking appliances, vending machines and industrial motors.

Additionally, the energy labelling obligation will apply to energy-related products, including construction products, which do not consume energy but "have a significant direct or indirect impact" on energy savings such as window glazing and frames or outer doors, says the final text.


Once published in the EU Official Journal, Member States will have one year to adapt their national laws to the new rules on energy labelling.


The directive approved at second reading on Wednesday is part of a wider energy efficiency legislative package. The EP's report was drafted by MEP Anni Podimata (S&D, GR).


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