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Consumer goods to get simpler EU energy labels

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Consumer goods to get simpler EU energy labels

Energy efficiency labelling - Image EC

(BRUSSELS) - New energy efficiency labels for lighting, fridges, TV screens, dishwashers and washing machines, adopted Monday by the EU Commission, will enable consumers to better understand how much energy their appliances consume.

As of 2021, the new law will remove the 'A+','A++' and 'A+++' classes that have appeared on the energy label over the years.

This is in fact where most appliances are currently grouped, which thus leaves lower classes empty. As a result, fewer than 1 in 4 consumers understands that an 'A+' fridge is the least energy-efficient on the market.

The new system goes back to a simple A-G scale in which the green 'A' class label would always appear on the most energy-efficient products. The 'Buy A' message is seen as easier for consumers to understand and triggers continuous energy efficiency innovations.

The new labels were given a warm welcome by BEUC, the European Consumer Organisation. "It was high time the energy label got a facelift, because it misled consumers to assume that their fridge or washing machine was consuming less energy than it was," said Monique Goyens, BEUC's Director General: "The new label will be a crucial tool to help consumers opt for the most energy-efficient products and save money."

Stephen Russell, Secretary General of ANEC, the European consumer voice in standardisation, warned more work was needed: "The Commission needs to keep the ball rolling and quickly extend the improvement of the label to other consumer products. We regret product groups will be rescaled at different times. For instance, in 2021, consumers will see the A-G label on TVs while '+' classes will still appear on heaters until 2030. This will cause confusion among consumers that could be very easily avoided."

The European Parliament and the Council now have two months (with a possible two-month extension) to object to the Energy labelling measures. If they do not, the measures will be published in the Official Journal.

The Ecodesign measures, meant to improve the energy consumption of appliances, are now under scrutiny by Parliament and Council. The implementing acts should be officially adopted by the Commission this summer.

For more detailed information, see Technical MEMO


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