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Energy Labelling Directive - Briefing

19 May 2010
by Ina Dimireva -- last modified 20 May 2010

The European Parliament today adopted the Energy Labelling Directive, a recast of the existing Labelling Directive which introduced the energy label for household appliances such as refrigerators, freezers, ovens, air-conditioners, dishwashers, washing machines, washer-driers, tumble driers and lamps. The recast of the Directive extends its scope to also cover products in the commercial and industrial sectors in the future.


1. What does change under the new Directive?

The Directive sets out clearly that the label is to be based on a A-G scale, a maximum of 3 more classes may be added on top of class A and these new classes will be named A+, A++ and A+++. The new label layout will be easy to understand for consumers, as shown by the consumer survey carried out during the summer 2009.

The old Energy Labelling Directive from 1992 obliged manufacturers and retailers to provide consumers with labels indicating the energy consumption of household appliances. The recast of the Labelling Directive extends the new labelling scheme to a wider range of products in the commercial and industrial sector, including energy-using and energy-related products. It is also the legal basis to extend the scope to other consumer products such as televisions, water heaters and boilers.

2. Will the colours scheme of the label remain the same?

Yes. The highest energy efficiency class will remain dark green and the least energy efficiency one will be red.

3. Why was the scale of energy efficiency classes extended?

There was a need to go "beyond A" to allow manufacturers to further compete by developing products that are more and more efficient and to show how much better they are for consumers who could then make well informed choices.

4. What brings the new Directive for the consumer?

The Directive obliges the manufacturers to declare the level of consumption of their products. This allows consumers to make informed choices by being alerted on the running costs of a product before they make their purchasing decision. By buying more energy efficient appliances, consumers might pay higher upfront prices but make a profit on the lifetime of the appliance by saving on the running costs. If for example a typical medium sized gas domestic boiler (power input 22kW) is replaced by a high-efficiency boiler this could lead to an annual saving on fuel costs of about 250-300 € during a payback period of 5 to 6 years. The new scale will further increase competition between manufacturers given consumers even a better choice.

5. How can Energy Labelling contribute to the EU's energy efficiency target?

It is estimated that the implementation of the Directive results in energy savings corresponding to 27 Mtoe (million tonnes of oil equivalent) annually by 2020, which translates into the annual abatement of 80 Mt of CO2 emissions or equivalent to the annual anticipated emissions of Austria in 2020. Labelling has helped consumers to choose energy-efficient products. For example, for household's washing machines and dishwashers in 1998 10 % of the appliances sold were in class "A", whilst by 2005 some 90% washing machines and dishwashers were class "A".

6. Which new products will be affected?

Products legislated in the near future are e.g. commercial refrigerators, vending machines and display cabinets in the commercial sector. Televisions, domestic refrigerators, dishwashers, washing machines, water heaters, boilers and air-conditioners for the household sector are planned for adoption by the Commission this year.

7. When will products under the new labelling regime enter the market?

The Commission will adopt delegated regulations for each product after the Energy Labelling Directive is published in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJ). The new label will be mandatory for products placed on the market from 12 months after the delegated regulation has been published in the OJ.

8. What is the benefit of the "energy- or price-related information" on a specific product for consumers?

The energy label helps consumers assess the running costs when buying new household appliances such as fridges, freezers, washing machines, driers, dishwashers, ovens, lamps and air-conditioners. Consumers can make even more informed purchasing decisions on the energy consumption of the product since advertisements draw their attention already to information that they will also find in shops and indirectly awareness on energy efficient products is also raised.

9. What is the benefit of the "energy- or price-related information" on a specific product for manufactures?

Any advertisement mentioning energy consumption or price of a specific model will have to show the product's energy efficiency by reference to its energy class. Any technical promotional literature such as manuals and manufacturers' brochures will have to indicate the product's energy consumption or energy efficiency class. By this, manufacturers can differentiate their products even better.

Source: European Commission