New energy labels for household appliances

Article Date: 10 June 2010

Labels on household appliances will have to include more information on energy consumption, following a vote by members of the European Parliament (MEPs) last week.

Parliament approved a new layout of the EU energy efficiency label, introducing additional "plus" classes to the familiar colour scheme.

The existing energy label is intended to help 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.

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.

So, if a new product using less energy than existing ones is classified as "A+", for example, then the least energy efficient class will be "F".

The labelling colour scheme will be adjusted accordingly, so the highest energy efficiency class (whether A, A+ or A++) will remain dark green and the least will be red.

Any advert mentioning the energy consumption or price of a specific model of household appliance will have to show the product's energy class.

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.

Once published in the EU's Official Journal, Member States will have one year to adapt their national laws to the new rules

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