In March 2021, new energy labels will enter into force, with final format and visualization approved by the European Commission in 2019. The constant technological development, and especially the confusing meaning of the “plus“ signs, caused a comeback to classes A to G without additional signs. But there are even more changes. What will the new energy labels look like and what will change? What does the EU expect from the new Ecodesign regulations and what will the amendment of energy labels bring to the average consumer? We have prepared an overview of the most important things you can expect.
Energy labels indicate which energy efficiency category the appliance falls into. It is a comprehensive EU-wide system that helps consumers better understand their electrical appliances and easily identify the most efficient one. At the same time, it motivates manufacturers to come with innovations that will be beneficial for both consumers and the environment.
The energy labeling system was introduced in 1995 and has proved very successful. However, the currently used A +, A ++ and A +++ classes, introduced in the 2010 update, have become confusing over time. Most of the new products were in the highest categories (A +, A ++ and A +++), while there were no products in the lowest. This may lead consumers to believe that they are buying one of the most efficient products on the market when buying an A + appliance, but the fact is that the A + category is currently on the third place in terms of energy efficiency. In addition, ever-improving technologies would soon require the addition of another plus sign. A change in the labeling system was therefore inevitable.
In order to make energy labels more comprehensible and clear, and out of consideration for constant technological developments, the EU has announced an update of energy labels.
The European Commission has approved new energy labels for 6 groups of appliances (five groups of household appliances with upcoming changes in the original label and a sixth, new group of labeled products).
And when will you see new energy labels in stores and on the Internet? The new energy labels will enter into force on 1 March 2021. New labels will appear on light sources from September 1, 2021.
For some, it may come as a surprise that besides washing machines and washer-dryers, the list of appliances also lacks the clothes dryers themselves. Not only does the dryer also fall into the category of washing, but consumers often buy it at the same time as the washing machine, and the different markings on the energy label can be confusing for them. However, for other groups of electrical appliances, such as tumble dryers, ovens, boilers and air conditioners, the current energy label will not change. These changes might happen in the coming years.
Consumers are certainly most curious about what the new energy labels will look like and what changes we will they bring compared to the original labels.
Depending on the product, energy labels will indicate not only electricity consumption but also other energy and non-energy information, such as information on water consumption per wash or wash cycle, storage capacity, noise level, etc. Intuitive graphic features should help to make even better product comparisons and more informed product selection. For refrigerating technology, we will now have information about the volume of the refrigerator or freezer, for wine coolers, the volume will be stated not in liters as before, but in the number of wine bottles with a volume of 0.75 liters.
The new measuring method applies to dishwashers, washing machines and washer dryers. For these appliances, instead of the annual consumption calculated from the annual average consumption, which was often not corresponding with the actual use, the consumption is calculated per 100 washing/drying cycles, which makes this figure clearer and more understandable for consumers. Annual consumption in kWh will stay the same for refrigerators, freezers and wine coolers, as these appliances are in operation 365 days a year. However, the data on the old and the new labels may differ, as even here the measuring method has changed, and is now more accurate.
Another innovation is the Eco mode, which used as an indicator measuring water consumption, program length, noise and other parameters for washing machines, dishwashers and also washer dryers. It was the Eco mode that was chosen for these appliances as a common indicator, which can consumer use to compare the important values of different appliances.
Certainly a welcome innovation is the possibility for the public to enter the product registration database called EPREL, which will allow consumers to make even more accurate and detailed comparisons between products. What is it about? EPREL is an online EU database where manufacturers are required to register their products placed on the market from 1 August 2017, including the detailed technical documentation necessary to check compliance. The EPREL database thus enables greater transparency and easier monitoring of compliance.
And how does the consumer access this information? You can use the QR code, which you will find on the new energy label. After scanning this QR code with a smartphone or tablet, you will get additional non-commercial information about the product. A variety of applications will also be available to help consumers make purchase decisions. These applications will offer for example various return calculations or comparisons of individual models.
The change in the labeling system is quite an important one for consumers, but you don't have to worry about it coming all of the sudden, unnoticed. The whole process of relabeling will have several phases and will be accompanied by a media campaign aimed at citizens, which will be launched in early 2021, ie. before the official introduction of the new labels. This EU-wide campaign should explain to consumers everything they need to know about labeling changes.
As the procedure described above implies, until February 28, 2021, you can find two energy labels in some of the new electrical appliances. However, this is not a mistake, but a thoughtful step to facilitate the whole process of relabeling in stores and e-shops.
Resource efficiency, reducing energy consumption and wasting energy are becoming increasingly important in the EU. Therefore, the energy labeling scheme is also accompanied by the new Ecodesign Regulation.
At the beginning of July 2019, the European Commission should adopt a set of 11 Ecodesign regulations covering the same number of product groups - 6 product groups with changed and new labels (dishwashers, washing machines, washer-dryers, refrigerators, lamps, electronic displays, commercial refrigerators) and 5 product groups for which the use of labels is not planned (electric motors, external power supplies, power transformers, servers, data storage and welding equipment).
The new ecodesign regulations are intended to support the circular economy and make even greater energy savings. Emphasis is therefore placed primarily on the repairability of products, their easy disassembly, the availability of spare parts, the possibility of modernization and, of course, recycling.
Below you can see the designs of the new energy labels valid from March 1, 2021 with a detailed description and explanation of individual symbols.
The new energy labels will be much more clear and transparent. They will provide consumers with more comprehensible and comparable information, which will help them make better decisions when buying a new appliance. Another benefit is that the new method of labeling will be able to keep pace with technological progress, as it provides a sufficient space for improving and enhancing the energy efficiency of appliances.
Last but not least, the new energy labeling regulation should make a significant contribution to the EU's long-term energy and climate goals. The internal estimation of the European Commission assume that the new labels should provide a total annual energy saving of 38 TWh by 2030, which corresponds to the annual electricity consumption in Hungary. In conjunction with the 11 regulations of the Ecodesign, these measures are expected to bring additional total annual energy savings of 94 TWh by 2030, which is more than the annual electricity consumption in Belgium and Luxembourg.
It is necessary to understand that every innovation will be reflected in the final price of the appliance. However, experts say that this whole change is in the interest of the market as a whole. We should therefore consider buying an appliance as an investment in our own household and, if possible, pay more for an appliance with low energy consumption and a long-term guarantee of repairability than buying an appliance for a third of the price, as this low price will automatically be reflected in lifespan and operating costs.
If you are considering buying a new washing machine, dryer, refrigerator, television or other appliance now, you will definitely choose from our widest offer, complemented by top customer service and useful customer reviews.