The energy label helps consumers to assess the running costs when buying new household appliances such as fridges, freezers, washing machines, driers, dishwashers, or ovens. Manufacturers are obliged to indicate the energy consumption irrespective of whether the product performs well (dark green “A” class), or poorly (red “G” class), on this measure.
Energy class to be mentioned in advertising of price or energy consumption
Any advertisement promoting "energy- or price-related information" on a specific model will have to show the product's energy consumption by reference to its energy class, agreed MEPs, led by Anni Podimata (S-D, Greece), and the Swedish Presidency. The initial Commission proposal did not include any provisions for advertising "white goods". However, Parliament said in its first-reading vote in May 2009 that advertising would help consumers to make a choice based on the energy savings potential of products.
The two sides also agreed that any technical promotional literature such as manuals and manufacturers' brochures - whether printed or offered on the internet - will have to indicate the product's energy consumption or energy efficiency class.
Up to seven energy classes
In future up to three additional classes may be added to the existing "A" to "G" scale. However, as the new label may show no more than seven energy classes, there are three possible scenarios:
- If the most energy-efficient products is classified as "A+", then the least energy efficient class will be "F",
- If the most energy-efficient products is classified as "A++", then the least energy efficient class will be "E",
- If the most energy-efficient products 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 highest energy efficiency class will remain dark green and the least energy efficiency one will be red.
An example of the new layout of the label is available at the link below.
No "A-20%" or "A-40%" classes
In spring 2009 the Commission proposed to add new "A" classes (such as A-20%, A-40%, A-60%) to the energy label for fridges. However, Parliament insisted on a closed A-G scale to keep the energy classes clear and understandable - a view which was not accepted by Council. A compromise was therefore agreed limiting additional classes to "A+++" at the most and the total number of energy classes to seven.
MEPs and Council representatives agreed to review this new scale of energy classes, once "a significant number of products" has been classified as "A++" or "A+++".
Energy label for windows 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 or vending machines. 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 compromise text.
The technical details of the directive, such as the energy classes of specific products, will be determined by a Commission working group.
The compromise text agreed on Tuesday still has to be formally approved by the Council before Parliament as a whole gives its final endorsement at the start of 2010. Once adopted and published in the EU Official Journal, Member States will have 12 months to adapt their national laws to the new EU rules.